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Setting Boundaries can feel terrifying

Our primal, subconscious mind will register setting boundaries as conflict. Memories from our adverse and challenging childhoods (or even if you came from a relatively stable upbringing) will remember setting a boundary = conflict. And conflict = emotional upset, arguments, pain, emotional abuse, feeling invalidated, feeling misunderstood, feeling like you are a ‘bad’ person, going against the people pleasing part for some of us…you get the picture. So with all of the above in mind it’s no wonder some of us find it so incredibly difficult to set a boundary. In fact for some of us whose boundaries were trodden all over left right and centre growing up we may even find it difficult to even know that a boundary has been stepped over. So … Firstly we need to recognise a boundary has been violated or stepped over. We can do this be noticing if we are feeling angry for some reason and tracking back where this anger has originated. Or we might be feeling over stretched, tired and agitated…if we can track back when this started we can potentially discover it was because a boundary was stepped over. Secondly we need to choose our approach depending on who the person is and what capacity they have to hear our needs and respond in a way that is safe enough, feels supportive, respectful and validates our needs. We could be setting ourselves up for failure if we approach someone who not in a position to respond to us how we would hope for. This is a whole other post…but I wanted to add this point in. Thirdly if we are in a great position to be relating with someone who has communication skills, is emotionally intelligent, and generally we experience them as on our team, then we can remind ourselves of this! It will lessen the sense of emotional threat from our subconscious memory or past bad experiences, and make it much more likely we will approach them, letting them know we want to set a boundary even if it feels scary. The relief, clarity, energy, sense of inner calm, and feeling of power for protecting yourself and your needs is totally worth it. Would love to hear one tip you have for others that has helped you in effective boundary setting.


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Emma Spiegler

 

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