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Boundaries in Relationships

So, we have talked about letting go in our July blog, and in our August blog, finding balance, this month I am going to talk about Boundaries in relationships.

Having boundaries reduces anxiety and boosts overall better mental health. A boundary is simply:

- Communicating ways to establish your relationship(s) roles and expectations

How do you know if one of your boundaries are being challenged

- Figure out what irritates you

- Figure out what frustrates you

- Figure out what gets you upset


- Think about a situation where you feel the most drained

In any situation if you are experiencing any of the above then you are likely having your boundaries challenged.

How to set a boundary with others

- Use clear, concise statements with no apology

- If you make a declaration, make sure that you follow through what you have said

- Keep repeating the message

- Be clear about your rules and the consequences

How to set a boundary with yourself

Set a time limit on something you want to do, this maybe setting limits on your spending for 3 months, or any of the following:

- Eating

- Socialising

- Friendships

I am sure that you will have more that you can add to the above list.

What to do if you get a pushback on a boundary, you are setting...

Family are absolutely the most challenging, they forget that you have a right to privacy and to say ‘no’ or ‘yes’.

A tip here is to bullet point what you want to say, remember no apology is necessary and you don’t have to say ‘sorry’. You can start the conversation with saying that ‘this is a need that I have’.

Understand that you may be manipulated or made to feel guilt tripped in the hope that you will back down. They may get mad, storm out even, but remember like any muscle the more you use it the easier it gets. You are not responsible for the other people’s feelings or behaviour – If you have a partner or friend ask them to back you up and support you to stay strong and firm.

Other places that we may feel pressure in regard to our boundaries are:

- Work

- Social

We worry about what people think about us, remember that most people have their own issues and problems and are probably struggling with exactly the same emotions, worries and fears that you are and won’t be thinking about you at all

Boundaries For Self

Stick to your values, don’t stop what you are doing to accommodate other people, it is ‘ok’ to ask yourself the following:

What is ‘ok’ with me

What is not ‘ok’ with me

Here are a few ideas...

I have left a few lines free for you to fill in your own ideas.

Listeners v’s Talkers

Very often people who don’t have clear boundaries end up being the listener in a relationship, if you have a quiet part remind yourself that what you have to say is just as valuable as what anyone else has to say. Before the start of a conversation or your day you can remind yourself about your boundaries and say the following to yourself:

- Today my boundary is ……..

You can even pop it onto a post it note around the house, near your phone or pc to remind you.

Different boundaries for different spaces is ‘ok’ and worth thinking about for:

- Work

- Socialising

- Personal/self

- Relationship(s)

Shame/Judgement and Boundaries

Guilt is only a feeling; we can all live with a level of discomfort. Remember it is your right to set boundaries, if it is a challenge you may have to work on your belief system. (Guilt)

Ask yourself if what the other person is saying is true, sometimes we feel so guilty that we start rumination (overthinking/catastrophising) about the effect we are having on the other person, or the feeling of discomfort becomes overwhelming. This this is when you are likely to backtrack.

Know that you are not rejecting others, it doesn’t mean that you are not a compassionate person. Remember that keeping boundaries kills feelings of resentment, it stops people being confused about our motives and nurtures compassion for ourselves and others.

Good luck with setting your boundaries, and please feel free to share your experiences with us on social media.

If any of the above resonates with you and boundaries is something you struggle with, then do get in touch with us. We have all been in the same place where the idea of setting a boundary was scary and a real struggle, but when we managed to set our boundaries, the relief was immense and the more we set our boundaries the easier it gets.

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