Setting Boundaries and Limits Part II

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Setting Boundaries and Limits Part II

Boundaries help you sustain your resolve, protect yourself, and maintain emotional stability. Yesterday, I began discussing some basic guidelines to boundary setting. Today we’ll look at six more helpful suggestions. 

6. Choose to love. It is possible, and even healthy, to love someone while not accepting or enabling their poor behaviors. By doing so, you allow them to face the consequences of their destructive choices, and in turn, become more responsible. A codependent person might believe, “If I don’t help or fix the problem, I don’t love the person.” Instead, a loving person can say, “I love you. It was your decision to get drunk and then drive, and you were arrested because of it. You need to deal with the consequences. I’ll be here with you, but I’m not managing your consequences for you.” 

7. Increase empathy. Empathy is trying to understand another person’s situation and pain. It means attempting to put yourself in their shoes and see the situation from their perspective. Be careful to not reduce, eliminate, or repair their pain; resist the urge to find solutions and fix their problems. Rescuing another person increases their dependence on you. Continually rescuing them can make you increasingly bitter, resentful, and less empathetic. You can be compassionate, understanding, and nurturing, while still holding your boundaries firm. 

8. Know your vulnerabilities. Perhaps certain people or situations leave you particularly open to compromising your boundaries. Do some people hold power over you? Does that power affect your boundaries? Make a list of these unstable or sensitive situations. What are your fears? Develop a plan to manage these problems as they come up and set firm boundaries and limits for yourself. Stick to your strategy, even if it produces emotional pain or doubt for you. 

9. Increase your own independence. The less your contentment, security, and happiness depend on someone else, the less you will need to try controlling their actions and decisions. To be codependent means you are not making independent decisions. Be an initiator in your life, rather than a responder to someone else’s. Strive to become more independent. 

10. Face the truth. Codependent behavior comes from a desire to rationalize, deny, and minimize another person’s behavior and the consequences of it. Being courageous enough to confront reality head-on will reduce the tendency to enable others. Stick to the truth, even if it brings difficult consequences. 

11. If necessary, limit contact. If you are having trouble setting and maintaining good boundaries with someone, consider having less connection with them. This is another way to control yourself, rather than trying to control someone else. You are not making them go away from you, but instead are willing to set boundaries, limits, and withdraw or avoid them to protect yourself. 

You Can Do It! 

You may feel weak, inferior, and incapable of making the changes you need to, but the truth is, you are getting stronger. You are getting strong enough to love yourself, take care of your needs, and assert your own opinions and choices. As you get healthier, you will stand up for what is right and be able to defend yourself. 

Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!