What Are They and How Do You Get Some?
Define your boundaries and create a sacred spacewhere you can be true to yourself.~ Tanja Christine Jaegar
We hear the word boundaries all over the place, especially when we have an active addict in our midst. We all think we know what boundaries are and how to set and maintain them. Unfortunately, we seem to lose that skill as we deal with the active addict. Lines blur and we give in even though we know we “shouldn’t.” Our boundaries become flexible and bendable. We stop sticking to our word and we forget that we had limits.
So what are boundaries? Boundaries are the physical, emotional, personal and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They allow us to separate who we are and what we think and feel from the thoughts and feelings of others. Boundaries help us express ourselves as unique individuals, while acknowledging the same in others.
When we lack healthy boundaries, we open ourselves up to abuse, being taken advantage of and manipulated by others. How often have you done something for someone you said you were not going to do? When do you feel taken advantage of? How does it feel when you know you are doing something you don’t want to do, but you don’t speak up or else you got talked into it? Not speaking up and establishing our own personal boundaries will erode our self-esteem and feed our anger and resentments toward the active addict in our lives. We end up over functioning and becoming angry with others when we don’t feel they are “pulling their weight.”
Learning to set healthy personal boundaries is necessary for maintaining a positive self-concept. It is our way of communicating to others that we have self-respect, self-worth and will not allow others to define us. Setting boundaries means preserving our integrity.
is a Vancouver-based Addictions Specialist and Family Therapist with training and experience in numerous areas related to healing and recovery from the devastation of addiction & alcoholism.