~Assertiveness is the antidote to fear, shyness, passivity, and even anger~
I have a way of attracting the most unhealthy people. They always need some kind of serious help and I don’t really mind this to a point. I’m supportive and love to see people make it and do well. I love being a part of a support system (even though I have none to speak of. Which is OK because I’m pretty self-motivated).
But in time these people have a tendency to wear me down and burn me out. I’m not a 24-hour friend I need my space to get back to me. This is one place I have to learn to draw the line. People seem to want to be around me, especially if they’re low because they need that crutch. That one person who seems to be (somewhat) sane in a crazy world. When your drowning in some out of control situation I think you to want to grab onto that steady hand and pull yourself up. The only problem is that if I spend too much time on them and no time on me I become weak myself.
Good site on boundaries:
To be real honest after looking at this list, I’m not sure my boundaries are so bad. I just don’t enforce them. I give into people and let them take advantage of me.
Signs of healthy boundaries
- High self-esteem and self-respect
- Share personal matters gradually and mutually
- Develop physical and emotional space without letting someone be intrusive
- Shared power and responsibility
- Assertiveness. Be OK when someone says no. Be able to say yes or no with confidence
- Realize that your boundaries and needs are different from others. Keep your feelings, thoughts, needs and desires separate from others.
- Take responsibility for yourself
- Make healthy choices.
Signs of unhealthy boundaries
- Sharing too much too soon or not sharing at all
- Not expressing needs and wants
- Taking responsibility for someone else’s happiness
- No able to say “no” because you’re afraid of rejection or abandonment
- Lack of identity. Feeling good about yourself based on how a person treats you
- A sense of powerlessness. Letting other make your decisions. Not taking responsibility for your life.
Types of Boundaries
- Emotional-Being responsible for your own feelings. Separating yourself from the responsibility of other people’s emotions. Emotional boundaries help you take insults in stride. Know what you are responsible for and not responsible for. This will free you from other people’s opinions. Protects your self-esteem.
- Sexual-I have this one pretty well down. I don’t do relationships anymore. I’ve had so many bad ones and I only attract unhealthy people plus I have absolutely no sex drive at this point. If someone comes into my life I’m going to make sure it’s exactly what God wants! I don’t go to church and all that stuff, but God has been a big influence in my life.
- Mental-This has to do with thoughts, opinions, and values. Do you let other people’s opinions change your core values? I do not. I listen to other’s ideas and opinions, but I don’t let it affect me. Less important matters I do let people change my mind sometimes and not always for the best outcome. This is an area I need to work on. Saying no!
- Physical-External. Apply to material possessions and personal space. Do you like to shake hands? Hugs? Do you let people use your computer? Do you lend or give things? I’m pretty good in this area also. I don’t overstep my boundaries here. Most people respect me in this area. If they don’t I omit them from my life. I do lend and give much more than I should.
- Spiritual-I have this down pretty well. I don’t go to church. I’ve seen too many religious fanatics with more rules and regulations than God! But God is a big motivation, influence, and support in my life. My personal relationship is pretty well in tact and my core beliefs are well grounded.
From this list, it looks like I have to set better boundaries in the physical area most of all. I lend too much and give too much sometimes. A little bit in the emotional area. I let people talk me into and out of things that I’m not comfortable with.
Why do I lack physical and emotional boundaries?
- I put other’s feeling’s before my own.
- I don’t feel I have the right to establish limits.
- I’m afraid limits will affect the relationship in a bad way.
- My boundaries were never respected as a child so I didn’t learn to establish healthy ones.
- Fear of rejection or abandonment.
- Fear of confrontation.
What strategy should I take to establish physical and emotional boundaries?
When out of balance you’ll have these two instances:
- Unassertive-weak, passive, compliant, self-sacrificing
- Aggressive-self-centered, inconsiderate, hostile, arrogantly demanding
I am unassertive! Terribly!
What is my strategy to be more assertive?
- Express negative emotions. Ex: complaints, resentment, criticism, disagreement, intimidation, the desire to have my own space. Refuse requests.
- Ask why. Question authority or tradition. Don’t rebel. Clarify how much control you share in the situation.
- Deal with minor irritations before your anger builds into intense resentment and explosive aggression.
- Number three is the one I have to focus on the most. I let things go too far until I lose all desire to even bother with the person and cut them off or ignore them.
- Number one is something I need to address also. I have a hard time saying no. I don’t want to cause conflict even to the point of being uncomfortable with something.
Practice assertiveness using positive self-talks:
- Imagine the encounter beforehand and decide what you will say.
- Start with simple situations and work your way up to more difficult matters.
- Expect emotion like anger or submission. Consider how you will calmly deal with that like explaining your behavior. Stand up for yourself in any case. If they react with criticism accept it if it’s true, “You could be right…” or “I understand how you feel but…”. Listen to their point of view, “What is it that bothers you…”
Actions to take when speaking your boundaries
When establishing a boundary with someone:
- Focus on their behavior, not their motives that make you uncomfortable.
- Focus on positive feelings, not resentment.
- Be firm and unemotional.
- Look at them.
- Explain your feelings or motives. “I feel this way because…”
- Be specific about what changes you would like but be open to change yourself if necessary. Be fair.
- Don’t set consequences that are impossible. A good example of a consequence is, “If you call me during working hours I won’t answer my phone.”
- If the person insists on trying to change your point repeat a short clear message, “No I will not lend you $30”.
- If the situation is not progressing or someone is becoming emotionally charged, address that. Redirect the subject, “We’re getting off the subject…” or “Let’s not get emotional…” or “Let’s be reasonable…”. You could suggest taking a break to rethink the matter.
- Remember if someone does become upset it is not your problem. You are not responsible for their reaction to your boundary.
- Do not justify or apologize for a boundary.
- Use practice and determination. You may feel embarrassed, guilty or selfish when you establish boundaries in the beginning do it anyway. Don’t be anxious. Remember you have a right to take care of yourself.
- Anger, resentment, complaining, and whining are clues that you need to set a boundary.
- Eliminate toxic people from your life.
How to tell if someone is emotionally comfortable or not.
- Stepping back
- No eye contact
- Turning red
- Change subject
- Short answers
- Leaning toward you
- Long detailed answers
- Eye contact
- Easy going
- Flowing in conversation
Now that I’ve put it into writing I think making boundaries will be easier than I thought.
Do you have trouble with boundaries? If so which one and what plan of action would you use to improve the situation? I’d love to help you with a success plan if you need one 🙂