How to set appropriate boundaries with people to finally get some peace
Relationships with other people can be hard. Whether it’s in your marriage, with a friend, a family member, co-worker or somebody from church, there are times throughout these relationships when things don’t go the way you want. Conversations get difficult. People are hurt. Sometimes they get angry.
There comes a point, many times, in these situations when you realize your conversations and disagreements aren’t going anywhere and continuing to go round and round is only making things worse. This results in the relationship getting even more damaged, and the more you think about it, the worse it feels.
Eventually, you wind up in a place where you’re just fed up with the relationship, but you’re not sure how to move forward. Is the relationship salvageable? Can things change? These issues in relationships are unfortunately normal, but you don’t have to continue in this negative cycle.
It’s true that a lot of people struggle creating healthy boundaries in their relationships. However, if we can learn how to create boundaries in a way that’s both effective and easy to follow, we can learn to actually enjoy those relationships again. When we learn to put those boundaries in place, it’s absolutely possible to finally find some peace.
Keep reading to learn how to start finding your peace again.
The negativity in the relationship is dragging you down to a place of anger and resentment
The downside of a relationship getting this way is that it just kind of consumes you. You start feeling bitter about the situation. You can become jaded, angry and beginning to wonder why the other person could do this to you.
Or, maybe you go the opposite route, and start feeling really unworthy. Maybe you reach a point that you start feeling bad about yourself and incredibly guilty. It starts to feel like you deserve the place you’re in, and that it’ll never get better.
You might start thinking things like, “How could they do this to me? After everything I’ve done for them.” At some point, maybe you’d just like to walk straight up to the other person and say, “Who do you think you are!?”
You can get back to that place of peace, contentment and joy in your relationship
Although you’re struggling with these negative feelings about the other person and the relationship feels like it’s falling apart, you have the potential to get back to a place where you enjoy being around them again. When we choose to implement these boundaries, we’re giving ourselves the freedom to find happiness again.
Not only do you get the chance to enjoy the relationship again, but perhaps, you’ll be able to make it better than before. Whether it’s a friendship, or a relationship with a family member, or even a co-worker, you can get back to the place where you look forward to talking to them and spending time together.
Perhaps more importantly, you don’t have to continue living with the feelings of anger, guilt, or not being good enough. Instead, imagine a time when you could begin feeling in control of your emotions again. You get the opportunity to take charge of your own life, feeling proud of yourself and get to remember what your worth really is. You finally get to feel respected.
The key to getting to this place is to create those boundaries now so the relationship can move forward
When you’re the middle of emotional drama in these relationships, it can feel pretty hopeless. Not only are you wondering if you can really move forward or if you should just consider it a loss, but you may be mourning what was once there, too.Making these changes isn’t really that difficult if you know how to get started. In fact, it’s a pretty simple four-step process. When you start following them, you’ll begin to see things falling into place.
Take a look at these four steps and begin watching your relationship change for the better.One of the reasons you’re struggling in the relationship is likely because you and the other person haven’t even realized the lack of boundaries and how the situation is unhealthy. It’s hard to take a step back and look at it from an objective perspective. In the middle of a messy relationship, everything is subjective.
Knowing that, it makes complete sense why you’re feeling so exhausted from this situation. Luckily, it doesn’t have to stay this way. When you start implementing boundaries, what you’re really saying to the other person is that you care about them enough to make an effort to create positive change.
Step 1: Recognize the relationship is unhealthy
When you’re stuck in the middle of a messy friendship, working relationship, situation with a family member or in a crappy situation with your better half, it’s difficult to realize how far south the relationship has gone. Taking a step back to create an inventory of the relationship allows you the chance to see it from all sides.
- Am I beginning to dread talking to this person?
- Do I find myself getting frustrated every time we talk about something?
- Am I constantly having to bite my tongue to avoid a conflict?
- Do I sit and stew over the situation without actually finding a way to make a change?
If you answered yes, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about what expectations have been crossed. Is the other person telling you what to do or making comments that aren’t their place to make? Do they feel comfortable saying certain things to you that don’t seem like it’s their business? Are they trying to push you too hard to do something you don’t think is right?
Step 2: Lay out the expectations
How should this relationship really look? What are you hoping to get out of it? Realistically, what would make you most happy if the relationship moves forward? Have a conversation with the other person and decide: what are your non-negotiables?
- Is the way they talk to you unacceptable? How do you want them to speak to you moving forward?
- Do they speak disrespectfully to you? How would you prefer they speak to you in the future?
- Do they butt in to situations that aren’t their business? How would you like for them to address areas of concern in the future?
- Do they only focus on themselves and create a one-sided relationship? What can they do to show genuine interest in the things happening in your life?
At Revive Christian Counseling, we help clients to determine what non-negotiables they have by making a list based on their specific situations. It helps to write them down before getting together to have the discussion with the other person. What other questions could you add to this list? Creating these expectations and actually agreeing to them, can help you re-establish the relationship and likely create the one that you should have in the first place.
Step 3: After establishing these new ground rules, check in with the other person to see how things are going
How are you and the other person handling these new boundaries? The thing to remember is that these boundaries can change over time as necessary. Does the relationship feel stuffy now? Does it feel like you’re constantly tip-toeing around to avoid making each other mad, or hurting each other’s feelings?
It’s okay to go back and make changes to the original boundaries, so long as both of you are in agreement with the new rules. If you can’t agree, go back to the drawing board and discuss your non-negotiables again.
Step 4: Understand the consequences when the boundaries aren’t honored
One of the most frequent responses we receive from clients when talking about boundaries is that they’re afraid the other person won’t honor them. The truth is, not everybody will. Sometimes in dysfunctional relationships, the other person will try everything they can to avoid agreeing to the boundaries so they can keep pushing your buttons. Many times, we see this dynamic play out in dysfunctional family relationships, when the people will say things like, “We’re family. We have to stick together,” or,“Why are you treating me like this after everything I’ve done for you. That’s not how you treat family.
That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place in the event these boundaries aren’t respected. What’ll happen in the relationship if the other person can’t get on board? Some solutions might include:
- Lovingly, but firmly reminding the person the boundaries set in place.
- Spending some time considering your role in the situation, and if you’re doing anything that gives the other person the impression they don’t have to follow those boundaries.
- Taking some time apart from the other person, if and when possible.
- Coming to the realization that this person may never respect your boundaries, and planning accordingly.
- Completely disassociating with the other person so that you don’t continue getting dragged down into a negative spiral.
These conversations aren’t easy when you’ve set clear expectations, but sometimes they’re necessary if the other person continues to push you to that negative place.
Setting boundaries can feel difficult when it’s happening, but the peace and joy you feel afterward is well worth the journey.
Achieving healthy boundaries in relationships can be completely freeing. You are worthy of no longer living with anger, resentment, guilt, and low self-worth. You can absolutely reach that point. However, sometimes it’s difficult to do it on your own. And Revive Christian Counseling can help.
We work with people who are tired of feeling stuck in these situations and are ready to move on to finding freedom. We’ll help you to let go of the bitterness, to feel proud of yourself and to finally feel respected.
Are you ready to set boundaries and finally find your peace? Let’s work together to get you on track and find true emotional health. Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule an appointment here on our website. It’s time to get your life back.