In my earlier blog, part 1 of the 2 part series on codependency, I had mentioned that I would be discussing boundaries and setting boundaries is indeed the next step to release yourself from codependency.
A healthy boundary has to be set proactively and you have to take full responsibility for it; it’s not an ultimatum or a bargaining chip. It is an expression of what you are comfortable within a relationship; it is also about what makes you uncomfortable or what perturbs you.
What most people find difficult to do is decide the area of the relationship that needs boundaries, so here are some tips:
–Physical: This is literally dealing with the physical space around you. If someone touches you in a manner that you are uncomfortable with, rummages the drawers in your bedroom or checks your mobile phone without your consent, it is important to let them know how you feel about the violation of your personal space.
– Intellectual and emotional: When you feel disrespected emotionally or intellectually; especially if your ideas and opinions are belittled all the time and you are not allowed to speak your mind. When the person invalidates your feelings and makes them seem unimportant, share your concerns and set the tone.
– Material: When someone uses or damages something that belongs to you without asking or when they pressurise you to lend something that you don’t want to(eg money or a car ), make your intentions clear without any guilt. Essentially, boundaries are about what you are comfortable with.
– Time: It is imperative that you decide how much time you want to give to a relationship, virtual or otherwise. Setting time boundaries helps you to have a rich and fulfilling life where there is time for everyone and everything that is important to you
Once you know which area needs attention, you then need to know how to set boundaries. The first step to understanding boundaries is to realise what you want from the relationship. Start by identifying your own needs and wants and figure out how a particular behaviour makes you feel. Ask yourself “ Am I willing to accept it or do I feel like I am being manipulated?”
When you want to set boundaries: REMEMBER
You have to be clear and confident about your feelings.
You don’t have to justify or rationalise what you need.
You may feel like you are being selfish but you don’t have to feel apologetic about your needs, as this would give mixed signals.
Be assertive but respectful.
While setting boundaries you need not worry about the other persons reaction to it.
Trying to communicate your need when you are angry is not really effective so avoid it.
At the end of the day, it is all about looking after your own emotional, mental and physical health in order to have healthy relationships.