Early on in my own recovery, I would often question what was meant by “set your own boundaries.” I would see the word “boundaries” written all over social media, in self-help books, and even reputable journals and websites. Was this just a buzz word that would quickly fade out? I would question what this actually meant, what it looked like, and how I would get there. During one of my first therapy sessions, my therapist encouraged me to identify what boundaries I had in place for some of my most difficult relationships. I had nothing to say. Nothing to grasp at. I had no boundaries. I was externally focused, allowed others’ feelings to control the way that I felt, and did everything I could to make others happy, even if that meant sacrificing my own inner peace.
The thought of creating boundaries with the ones I loved felt “wrong.” I was worried that if I created these boundaries, I would somehow be hurting those that I loved. However, I learned that setting boundaries was actually another way to show the ones that I love, that I love them and I love myself. These boundaries would be another way that I could help create a more healthy, and less codependent, relationship with those that I love.
Today, some of my boundaries look and sound like:
“Thank you for thinking of me! I won’t be able to ____ this time.”
“I hear that you are very upset right now. It is difficult for me to remain present when there is a lot of yelling. I will reach back out in a few days to check-in.”
“Thank you for checking-in. Right now I do not need you to try and fix this. I need ___”
When I began to implement these types of boundaries into my life and into the relationships I shared with others, I began to experience the benefits of creating boundaries. I learned that for me, “boundaries” was not just a buzz word, but a huge part of my own recovery from codependency.