Boundaries are critical in any healthy relationship because they allow you to: maintain your identity and self-respect, practice self-care, effectively communicate your needs, create time and space for healthy interactions, and understand your needs and set limits based on what's right for you.
First step in boundary setting: overcoming ambivalence! Understanding what holds you back from imposing limits is necessary in order to actually get the guts to do it. “We might question whether boundaries are fair given another’s health condition, addiction, or psychiatric disorder. We might struggle with feelings of selfishness for limiting our sacrifice for others. Some people will get angry and resist your boundaries, or reject you when you limit what you do for them or give to them.” (Burn 2021)
To manage your inner conflict and feel better about setting limits, Dr. Burn suggests the following:
1. Reduce ambivalence by strengthening the thoughts that support your boundary.
- “How does my helping interfere with accomplishing important personal, financial, professional, social or family goals?"
- “How is my help actually unhelpful? How does it interfere with others’ long-term health, well-being, competency, or autonomy? How does it strain or harm relationships?”
- “Why did I (or do I) feel the need to set these boundaries in the first place?”