No matter how close people are to each other, they need personal boundaries in communication, which shouldn’t be violated. Without a sense of internal sovereignty, we risk losing our individuality and self-confidence. To improve relationships with loved ones and at the same time protect your inner world, you need to build healthy boundaries with them.
Imagine you are on the phone with your mother, who tells you passionately about the “bad character” of her friend, with whom she periodically quarrels and reconciles over the years. The topic is painfully familiar to you, but not the least bit interesting. And you have the end of the day, and your head is full of urgent problems.
And the phone is already a dozen unanswered important calls. But you cannot abruptly cut off the conversation, and are forced to listen to all of this in the hundred and fifth time, and quietly boil, assent. Otherwise, resentment is inevitable, you will be accused of being insensitive, and the rest of the day will simply be spoiled by self-pity.
Another example. You are not crazy about the outpouring of feelings – all those hugs and kisses at family gatherings. And your elderly relatives just love to hug. In order not to offend your loved ones, you strain yourself and bravely endure the exciting scenes of meetings and goodbyes.
Here’s a typical situation. Your “childhood friend” regularly “loads” you with their problems and asks for advice on another difficult situation. Since you for some reason consider yourself responsible for his unfortunate fate, you never refuse to help him. But if you need help, he immediately stops returning your calls. Even though this story repeats itself time and time again, you never have the courage to tell him directly what you think about it.
The issue of the individual’s inability to construct personal boundaries and protect them is common to all of these situations. Our boundaries are a protective shell that separates our inner world from the worlds of others with an invisible barrier. By setting boundaries, we declare what is acceptable and what is not in relationships with our loved ones and any other category of people – friends, colleagues, strangers.
Do I need to spend time with anyone to discuss people I don’t know or issues I’m not interested in? To what extent am I willing to allow someone into my personal space? Who can touch me and who can’t? Can I refuse requests from people who regularly use me and my resources (time, connections, money)?
We hope that those close to us and those around us will respect our boundaries, and we ourselves, in turn, are willing to respect the boundaries of our immediate and extended surroundings. But we need to be clear about the location of this invisible line.
Setting boundaries is a kind of personal declaration of what is forbidden and what is allowed in relationships with people. Respecting our boundaries is the right to make choices and take responsibility for them, for our thoughts, attitudes and desires.
We dislike those who violate our inner comfort, but in the absence of clearly defined boundaries we tend to hide our discomfort and even feel guilty about our negative state. Passive aggression or anger at others’ intentional or unintentional intrusions into our world allow us to distance ourselves from undesirable moments of communication, but do not clearly establish boundaries and conditions of communication.
It isn’t easy to take responsibility for one’s thoughts, decisions, and behavior. But it’s necessary to do so. And it’s best to establish boundaries unobtrusively, tactfully, with respect for others, but always clearly.
Often loved ones, violating our boundaries and even manipulating us, do it unconsciously, from the “pure of heart” and not wanting to offend us at all. Most often they do not understand our hints and are not ready to change their habitual patterns of behavior to please our quirks. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t patiently, kindly, but persistently explain to them over and over again what displeases us in their behavior.
Even if we get resentment and accusations of heartlessness in return, we shouldn’t be haunted by guilt because we have done our best to explain our position while smoothing over the edges.
6 Key Steps
Decide What You Want
To explain to the person what you expect from them, you need to be clear about it yourself. Maybe you don’t want your mother to call you at work at all. Or that she doesn’t do it as often? Or maybe you just need to agree on a time to call to avoid being distracted while working or playing at https://slot-reactoonz-free.com/?
Perhaps your mom was even more comfortable discussing her daily anxieties with you when you are located to listen to her during her lunch break or on speakerphone when you’re in the car on the way home. Figure it out for yourself.
Explain to Others What You Want From Them
So you’ve figured out what you want and where your internal boundaries lie. It’s time to explain it to others – do it correctly, respectfully and very clearly. If my mother dials you again at odd hours: “Mommy, I’ve already told you that a normal conversation during working hours does not work. No offense, but I can hardly pick up the phone next time. Let’s talk tonight, I’ll call you when I’m free. Then say goodbye and end the conversation.
Don’t expect other people’s behavior to magically change immediately when you say you’re not satisfied. Mom will still call at a time that is convenient for her, and a childhood friend is unlikely to stop asking for help. But you will no longer be tormented by guilt: you warned your mother that you are busy today and can’t talk. And you have every right to tell your friend “no” because you voiced to him in advance that you don’t always have the opportunity to listen and help.
We aren’t afraid to remind ourselves of the limits. But for those around us, it’s necessary to constantly mark the boundaries without feeling guilty. Not afraid to annoy them with constant reminders. Saying nothing is much worse. Sometimes, by going astray and giving in, it’s important to get back on the right track in time.
Respect the Boundaries of Others
When we talk about boundaries, we talk about respect for ourselves and for others. If you see a display of disrespect for your boundaries, you need to talk seriously about how you feel. But keep in mind, anger, yelling and criticism won’t work. It will lead to an argument.
First, you need to explain how you feel and think when your boundaries are violated. Then ask why others did what you didn’t like. There are always different perspectives on an issue.
But you have to try not to break the rules yourself. Maybe you promised your mom that you would dial her number yourself, but you didn’t, you just forgot. You should try to keep your word. You have to follow the rules, and it’s important to follow them yourself, not just to demand them from others.
Take Responsibility for Yourself
If you clearly state that you don’t like someone’s behavior, you may offend others. But it’s important to decide for yourself what is better – to say “no” to the behavior that annoys you, or maintain a good relationship, condoning the violation of your boundaries.
But when you make a decision, don’t forget that you are responsible only for yourself. Try not to offend anyone, speak softly, kindly and respectfully. You should not tolerate inappropriate behavior just because you are afraid of offending or hurting someone. You aren’t responsible for other people’s feelings.
Setting boundaries doesn’t mean pushing a loved one away or trying to control them. By being clear and unambiguous about what we want or don’t want, what we are willing to be responsible for, and what we are not, we protect our personal space. Boundaries help maintain beliefs, opinions, ideals, and ultimately, self-respect.