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Is “Boundaries” Just a Buzz Word?

What boundaries look and sound like

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. 

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