We talk about this concept all the time. Set boundaries for a healthy relationship, right?! Curious to know, what does that word mean to you? What specific boundaries do you set for yourself, and how?
Boundaries is a challenge and big topic to discuss… I believe in the boundaries when I set them and the reality is a bit different at time of enforcing, this becomes questionable. For example: on house arrest and set boundaries must attend meetings. Yes he stopped going to meeting. He, my 28 old son, is working now and doing house chores consistently. He is not at all tempted as he has to blow each week and can have surprise drug test while on house arrest. That is what he says and meetings are kinda useless as he is not tempted. We did discuss the value of meetings to build tools and strengthen tools for later. although he is doing very well, he did not keep the guidelines set. It’s Hard to kick him out when jail is the option and he is doing other things well and consistently. So, just like goal Planning at a job, change can happen. And yes I put that change can happen within my outline of boundaries when we started with agreement to be able to live with us during house arrest. After house arrest we may revise and review my boundaries. I did learn that frequent review and updates are needed with my son. Who knew frequently repeating is needed and of course it can’t be nagging. Not easy with adult children. Yet I am blessed to have personal support and know ultimately his life is his journey.
Thanks for sharing @Marie_Marie
In the CRAFT course we took this past week they made a suggestion…if something isn’t working try something new. I think that’s what you’re getting at with ‘reviewing’. Is there something else he could do instead of meetings that would help with similar objectives? Can he think of anything to substitute? Getting him to come up with solutions can be powerful to tap his motivations to follow through. And I know my husband really didn’t like those meetings - they certainly aren’t for everyone and unfortunately I know they are the most widespread option. But maybe we can find and try something else?
Think of it like a trial and error process, an experimental process, to find what will work for him <3
Thanks for the suggestion - good questions and I will ask about what he thinks about another way or substitution. I agree that alternatives and change are appropriate at times! I look to find what works for me as there are many choices and ways to get to the same goal! My son, unfortunately, has consistently not come up with alternatives and just stopped or refuses. He didn’t learn this from watching me throughout my life that is for sure! Change and let’s do it some way was something inside of me. I still ask questions like you suggest. His answers never change I get the “I dunno” and there he stands on the hill. I say, how about you think on it and we can talk tomorrow; the scenario repeats. I may be the mom still who just isn’t smart yet in his eyes. What I sense the most is that he self defeats way before trying and therefore won’t try at all.; and that is something he can only learn to overcome as it is very internal. Some day I hope to get a wonderful gift of a conversation to see how we can find alternatives or options!
I love your response @Marie_Marie - how reality-based it is and yet still optimistic change takes time.
This is such an important topic!
As a matter of fact, I’m still learning to establish healthy boundaries.
I didn’t grow up in an environment where healthy boundaries were set. My parents’ relationship was hierarchical rather than mutually respectful. My father’s serious traumas prevented him from building healthy relationships with family members. His own pain led him to violate physical boundaries of my mother and me. There were also a lot of violence shaming and verbal abuse.
As you can see, I wasn’t given a whole lot of opportunity to learn what healthy boundaries should look like.
As more of my earlier traumas resolve, I now think that boundaries mean taking full ownership and and having complete control over your body, mind and heart. Of course there can be cultural differences. For example some cultures are more communal (China) than others (most Western cultures) and tend to have looser boundaries for personal space. But I think the bottom line should be something that allows the individual to express their true feelings and have the freedom to take actions based on those feelings to create a reality that their heart desires. If a boundary prevents an individual from expressing their true feelings, it’s not healthy. In my case, the neglect from my father made me feel unworthy of being heard. That led to me often times keeping silent about my feelings. That was an example of an unhealthy boundary. On the contrary, if my father had been able to been there more for me when I was growing up, we would have set a healthier boundary for me to express my feelings. So I think that boundary should be something that’s conducive to the healthy development and functioning of an individual.
Boundaries are so important with regards to one’s mental, physical, and spiritual health. I did not know until I was in treatment how my lack of healthy, assertive boundaries had affected my life all along. Until treatment and completion of a 12 step program, I was always passive. Little did I know setting passive boundaries led to the forming of many resentments and feelings of ill will towards others. Once these negative manifestations took over in the form of addiction, I began to form passive-agressive boundaries. With these boundaries, I would lash out any chance I got, and would utilize any opportunity to treat others as petty as I possibly could. Now that I am actively in recovery, I set nothing but assertive boundaries. Some more rigid than others, but I make sure that my boundaries are my fail safe to ensure that I no longer form or harbor anymore negative manifestations. I believe this is important both to the person in recovery, and the loved ones and other important individuals in the lives of people in recovery. We all deserve self-care, self-promotion, and most importantly, self-love.
Boundaries - mine, theirs, and the others and what really happens…! I am pondering boundaries versus the person who is in recovery and their ability. It has been studied, the person in recovery has not developed some capabilities/abilities. So, when they have made progress yet not living up to “normal” adult responsibilities - is it about their growth or lack of their growth? and can you really set a boundary when the person is not at that level of learning? Or, is it just an excuse he/she or I am making? It does get so cloudly and mucky!
What helps me define boundaries is remembering that I create them for me, not for anyone else. Boundaries exist to ensure I take care of myself, my needs, my feelings - not to try to get someone else to do or not do something. I think a lot of people mistake boundaries with ultimatums. I know I did. I really didn’t understand the difference at first. Now I try to remember that I am the only one who can ensure my boundaries are respected. And in order to create those boundaries in the first place, I have to look inward and figure out what it is I truly need to take care of myself, and what is acceptable to me. It’s a lot of work, and it’s hard work, and I still struggle with this. The hardest part is letting go of the outcome.
@Lovematters - tagging you here in case you haven’t come across this thread. I know you’re working on boundaries with your loved one and maybe you’ll find this helpful. How is that going?
Thank you so much! It’s not going well at the moment. I just sent the text that a boundary for me and the kids is if he’s using he will need to pack a bag and stay elsewhere. He is clearly using. I just woke up to him gone in the middle of the night. Although he did detox off opiates and start suboxone 2 days ago which is a big Victory in itself he is now replaced it by using cocaine. Soon he will start drinking too as this is his continual pattern. I’ve set boundaries in the past and A big one is he can’t be in he home using or strung out and in he past he has not respected the boundaries set. If he does leave he then uses that time to go on binges and will stay at hotels vs a healthier place like his parents or something. I do know it’s not to much for me to ask him of this and to set this boundary but what do you guys do if that boundary is not respected?
@Lovematters I have a very similar boundary. If my husband is back in active addiction and not making steps toward recovery, continuing to lie, etc… then I just can’t live like that. I would need to remove myself from that situation. I know it would be tough to actually make him leave the house, so instead, I’ve left the house. Now this has only happened once before and I had to go out of state to stay with family. I’ve worried about what I would do if it happens again, since I don’t have family close by. This made me realize the importance of building my own community here. I’ve since built my own relationships with people who I trust, and who I would be able to turn to if I had to leave unexpectedly. I know it’s sometimes unrealistic and unfair for us to have to leave, but otherwise I’m asking the same question as you - how can I make him leave? Not sure that I can. I can’t control him. I can only control my own actions.