Boundaries can feel so confusing! For me, I think that’s likely because healthy boundaries weren’t something that were modeled in my home growing up and I’ve had to learn as an adult that I am able to set and hold boundaries for my mental well-being. So this is a slow growing process and hasn’t always worked well. I think it’s especially difficult setting a new boundary in a relationship where boundaries have been lacking. One of the earliest boundaries I tried to set with my husband was excusing myself, either from the room or the home, when he was drinking excessively and becoming argumentative. He would call my phone repeatedly, follow me around the house, etc. until I gave in and came home or joined him in the room where he was. I’ve gotten better about enforcing this boundary with him and will put my phone on silent or put on my headphones and make it a point to not rejoin him in the room and he’s gotten better about understanding that I won’t give in to this type of behavior. It’s tricky though and can sometimes feel like I’m setting boundaries to be hurtful or punitive, when really, my boundaries are all about caring for myself.
Something I still struggle with is how and when to communicate the boundaries to my husband and if they need to be communicated clearly, or if my actions are enough. I think sometimes me clearly telling him about boundaries I need to set when he’s sober makes him feel guilty and perpetuates the shame he already feels, so I try to do this carefully and only when necessary. I’m looking forward to hearing others thoughts on this.