We all want to have healthy relationships, right? However, if you grew up in a household that was unsafe and unstable, and where there was a constant invasion of personal boundaries, you may not know how to build healthy relationships. Many people with this type of past, find themselves in relationships, romantic and otherwise, with people who do not respect boundaries and feel entitled to have their needs met regardless of the other person’s. Relationships can only be healthy when both people have the space to be themselves and maintain their personal integrity.
If you can relate, chances are you have a hard time creating healthy boundaries to create the life experience you wish to have. Here are some ways you can begin to do so:
Identify Your Limits
You can’t set boundaries unless you discover where it is you personally stand. You’ll need to take a bit of time to recognize what you can and cannot tolerate. What makes you happy and what makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed? Use your emotions to help you determine your limits.
Don’t Be Shy, Communicate Your Needs
People who have similar communication styles are easy to engage with. These people will quickly understand what you mean as you explain your new boundaries. Other people, especially those who have different cultural backgrounds or personalities, may not easily understand your boundaries. With these people, it’s important to be very clear and direct with what you want and don’t want.
Pay Attention to Your Feelings
People who have a hard time setting boundaries don’t often allow themselves to acknowledge their own feelings because they’re usually too busy worrying about everyone else’s.
You’ll need to start recognizing how people make you feel in order to know whether your new boundaries are being crossed or not. When you’re with someone, make mental notes, or even jot down in a journal how that interaction made you feel.
If, after spending time with someone, you feel anger or resentment, this is a sign that the person may be overstepping your boundaries. Reiterate to this person what your boundaries are. If they continue to disrespect you and them, you will want to minimize your exposure to further interactions with them and/or have a self-care plan to help you recover.
Make Self-Care a Priority
Put yourself and your needs first. This may feel strange and even somehow wrong if you’ve spent your entire life taking care of others. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings and get what you need to feel happy and well.
Speak with Someone
If you’ve spent an entire life with a sense of low self-worth, you may find setting boundaries quite difficult. In this case, it’s important to speak with a therapist that can help you discover where these feelings are coming from and how to change your thought patterns and behavior.
If you’d like to explore therapy, please contact me to schedule a free consultation session.