Healthy boundaries keep us from taking other people’s problems and allows us the space to deal with our own. They keep us safe and comfortable in healthy and respectful relationships. Unhealthy boundaries leave us open to manipulation and both physical and emotional damage.
In active addiction, many of us got involved in unhealthy relationships built on dishonesty and denial which are not strong building blocks for mutually respectful relationships.
Our boundaries stem from our values and ideals. What is important to us guides us in our lives. When setting them we need to know why and how they will help us further our recovery so that we can safely identify problems that might lead to relapse. Healthy boundaries give the ability to separate our needs from others and strengthen us so that we can then take responsibility for, not only how we feel, but how we can. It is impossible to blame others when we are clear in why we do something and how it makes us feel. They give us the strength and courage to continue to live with ourselves soberly and intentionally. With healthy boundaries, we can be assertive and clear. Our choices are likely to be healthier and our self-esteem increase because setting and keeping our limits creates strength and strength creates calm.
When we feel responsible for other people’s feelings and needs or have a hard time saying no or feel the need to share deeply personal information early in a relationship might suggest that we have underdeveloped boundaries.
Setting boundaries requires certain skills and these skills take practice. At first, it can be strange and is definitely difficult. Be assertive and calm and avoid defensiveness. Know what you want to say and how you want to say it. Listen to your feelings. If you find yourself complaining or blaming, getting angry or feeling resentment, you might want to check to see if a boundary is being tested and if it is, what you need to do about it. Holding firm will make you stronger and healthier in both the short and long run. Remember that it takes time and practice so it is important that you give yourself the time to learn the skills you need to hold them.
Just because you have not had a good history with boundaries or don’t even know where to start doesn’t mean you can’t do it. This might be the time you succeed. This might be the moment that saves your life.
At Fort Worth Recovery, we help you learn which boundaries are healthy and which are not and how to hold them by using individual treatment plans and addressing how you think and see the world. Call us today at 844.332.1807.