In my most recent blog, I discussed what boundaries are and shared some examples of different types. In this blog, I would like to provide a few brief examples of what effective boundaries can look like vs. ones that don’t work. I will also share a list of warning signs to be aware of that might mean it’s time to re-evaluate your expectations in a relationship.
What do effective boundaries look like?
- Expressed firmly yet courteously (NOT in a threatening way)
- Communicated with a clear consequence (this encourages compliance)
- Do not contradict or compromise your personal beliefs or desires
- Allow for flexibility (People and situations change; boundaries can too!)
What doesn’t work
- Using absolutes (black or white thinking)
- Create alienation
- Double standards (You can’t do this, but I can)
How do I know if I need to re-evaluate my boundaries?
- Constantly putting others needs and feelings before your own.
- Feeling as though you have no rights (constantly sacrificing your own values)
- You believe that setting them will ruin your relationship
- You have no clear sense of who you are.
- Being unable to say “no” to others or accept “no” from others.
Remember, re-evaluating your boundaries does not always mean that a change needs to be made, but it allows you the chance to notice and make changes to your relationships before you get to an unhealthy, unsafe place.
Also, these guidelines are meant to create safety and respect for each person involved in a relationship. Boundaries reinforce your own personal values and beliefs; they do not restrict who you are. As a result, they create personal individuality and respect for yourself and others around you.
Effective boundary setting is hard; especially if you were raised in an environment where your boundaries were not respected. However, with time, practice and constant self exploration and evaluation, effective boundary setting can easily become second nature.
For help understanding where to start, give us a call at 832-421-8741. We’d love to help.