Boundaries have come up frequently with clients and loved ones lately. As the demands on your time and mental and emotional attention pick up, so does the need for boundaries.
Beyond the obvious boundaries for physical and sexual safety, there are others that are not as well understood, such as mental, emotional, and time-related boundaries. It’s in these areas I have heard people having the most conflict.
Let me explore these with you and review how to set limits.
Infringement on Your Mental Boundaries
If you have family, loved ones, or colleagues who like to take exception to your ideas, beliefs, or thoughts, you know how draining this can be. It feels like an ongoing conflict that never gets resolved. I’ve watched some people do this to others for sport and have watched it cross the line to become abusive. It’s bully behavior and can be demeaning and debilitating in constant doses.
If you feel personally invalidated or belittled for your thoughts and ideas, like you are on the defensive, it’s time to call it out and draw a line. Stop playing nice and consider how you will stand up to the person and say Stop, I see what you are doing, and I don’t like it. No more bullying. The sooner you draw the line, the sooner you will have relief. Walk away and refuse to engage. No more explanation is needed. Let them figure it out – they are likely very aware that their actions are meaningful.
Infringement On Your Emotional Boundaries
Emotional infringement can be tricky and full of manipulation. When a person uses personal information about you or your feelings as a tool to belittle or minimize you or tries to make you feel responsible for their bad feelings, you are swimming in deep and scary waters. It can become entangled and damaging to a relationship and often causes significant suffering.
Clarify the pattern that bothers you in a simple and straightforward way. Also, clarify how you want the interactions to go. Write it down if you have to. Realize that you need to be direct and ask for what you want. Then you have to stick to the new expectation – don’t engage in giving too much of yourself emotionally or taking on the other’s emotional baggage if it ends up being used in a manipulative way. Also, consider you may need to start distancing yourself and not responding if you need to protect yourself.
Infringements On Your Time
As the world picks up speed from Covid-related distancing, so does the demand on your time. I’ve been hearing some of the conflicts this is causing as loved ones and work demands start spreading you thin. The distress and burnout this creates are real.
Notice where the time demands are unreasonable and ask yourself where you want to set limits. Have you made people unnecessarily dependent on you? Have you taken on too much? Little by little start cutting back, redistributing the duties, saying no, and standing up for what you need. It will take discipline and determination on your part. Take responsibility for how you feel, and be honest and clear. It’s not as hard to set this kind of boundary as you think.
If you feel your boundaries are being infringed upon, clarify what they are and the impact it is having on you. Mental ones involve conflicts over what you think and believe, emotional ones often include manipulation over things you’ve shared or unreasonable expectations to care for others’ feelings, and time infringements are a product of being overcommitted. Each of these requires you to be clear on why it’s important to set limits and say no. Know you can and you will be happier for doing so.
Does this speak to you? If you’d like help to clarify your boundaries, reach out. My Transformational Coaching and Therapy can help you claim a healthier life. Go to www.spectrumtransformation.com and use my free consultation form to reach me. I can help.