There’s a lot of attention paid to boundaries lately, and not without good reason: setting kind yet firm boundaries with the ones you love helps them learn how to love you back. Healthy boundaries can also build trust and give you both a sense of predictability in your relationship.
This is especially important for people with personality disorders—increased trust, predictability, and consistency can go a long way in creating more fulfilling relationships with the people in your life who have personality disorders.
Here are four tips for boundary-setting with the folks in your life:
Know Your Boundaries
Make sure you have clear, specific language around the boundary you need to put into place. This might be something like, “I am not OK with you yelling at me; please speak to me in a lower tone,” or, “I’m uncomfortable when you talk about my weight, please don’t ask about it.”
Know What to Do When Boundaries Are Crossed
This is something that you are willing to do if your loved one steps past your boundary—something like, “If you yell at me on the phone, I will need to say goodbye and call back later,” or, “I won’t answer questions about my eating habits or weight anymore.”
Prepare for the Conversation
Know that it’s totally normal to feel nervous going into a conversation like these! Find a time, place, and situation where both of you can be as calm and open as possible. Come up with a few short phrases to keep the conversation on track. Create a plan for how to react if your loved one becomes angry, hurt, or argumentative, including having an exit plan if things get too heated.
Get Support for Yourself
You’ll probably need to have several conversations to remind your loved one of your boundaries. Throughout this process, it’s vital to have someone in your corner. Whether that’s another family member, a friend, a colleague, or a therapist, reach out to someone who can support you as you work through this process.
If you’re looking for a therapist in Seattle, Washington who can help you set boundaries with someone close in your life, I would love to hear from you. Call me or email to schedule a consultation today.