Mental Health conversation centered around 12 step recovery and related topics. We talk about spiritual living, living with addiction and growing in the 12 steps. Find us on our home at https://recoverysortof.com/. If you want to join the conversation, email us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com, find us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RecoverySortOf, Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/recovery_sort_of/, or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Recovery-Sort-Of-112376247161866/?view_public_for=112376247161866.
Do you have boundaries? In today’s episode we explore the world of personal boundaries. We talk about why personal boundaries are important to your life. We look at signs that might show up in your life if you are needing to set some boundaries. We explain some of what we understand about why we suffer from struggling to set boundaries, as it’s related to our childhoods. We explore the myths about boundary setting. We talk about the benefits you might experience from having set boundaries. Finally, we walk through some practices that could help you explore where your boundaries might need to be, and how to put them in place. Dive into boundary setting with us and then tell us what you’ve learned about setting your personal boundaries.
How to find us and join the conversation:
Packet we used for this episode:
Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/recoverysortof/message
Do you have boundaries? In today’s episode we explore the world of personal boundaries. We talk about why personal boundaries are important to your life. We look at signs that might show up in your life if you are needing to set some boundaries. We explain some of what we understand about why we suffer from struggling to set boundaries, as it’s related to our childhoods. We explore the myths about boundary setting. We talk about the benefits you might experience from having set boundaries. Finally, we walk through some practices that could help you explore where your boundaries might need to be, and how to put them in place. Dive into boundary setting with us and then tell us what you’ve learned about setting your personal boundaries.
How to find us and join the conversation:
Packet we used for this episode:
recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or Fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature
welcome back it’s recovery sort of I am Jason a guy with impeccable boundaries and I’m Billy I’m a person in long-term recovery I don’t actually know my boundaries are impeccable but they’re way better now than they ever used to be that’s for sure we’re going to talk about boundaries today personal boundaries we came across this weird little paper clip together thing where we record and we were like what the hell that sounds like a cool episode what are personal boundaries personal boundaries are the mental emotional and physical walls we create to protect ourselves from being used manipulated or violated by others these limits help us clearly distinguish who we are and what we need from other people and their needs creating and maintaining personal boundaries is a key way to cultivate physical emotional and psychological well-being so that’s the introduction definition for boundaries what do you think about boundaries would you know about them before what do you think about them uh I don’t know that I ever thought much about them before for my own personal history like I was always a people pleaser kind of person so I never had really good boundaries and I know that can be incredibly dangerous as we get into recovery because there is a lot of emphasis on helping others and helping the newcomer and helping people that are using and struggling and unfortunately most of us as addicts when we’re using them some of us even when we’re not are still very good at manipulating and lying and being very opportunistic or predatory Maybe DNR how can I get from you what I want you know and in this guise of helping others we can really get ourselves abused and I know actually I remember hearing early on in recovery from a guy that I respected well he said well if you’re not getting hurt by you newcomers you’re not getting close enough who you know which sounds like not good personal boundaries it does I mean you know I do think our society has a problem with this idea of like not feeling anything negative like we we sort of in our society believe you should feel good all the time somehow and that’s sort of carries over into this idea like I I wonder if there’s people who believe like the goal of personal boundaries is to not feel any hurt or pain because I don’t believe that’s the case but I don’t know about what he was saying either yeah I don’t know about that um I just think you know we do need to protect ourselves like physically emotionally and in some cases financially from helping people I think that’s where that idea of enabling comes from I hate that concept that gets I think misused sometimes but there are definitely times where you know just giving someone what they want might not be the best thing to do you know right handing someone who’s actively using large amounts of money and then expecting to get that money back if you can’t afford to give it away is a bad decision right right you know you talked about this idea of uh people pleasing and of feeling too intertwined or whatever with with others around you and I feel like what we’re starting to think therapy wise is that that comes from the the kind of parenting we got the caregiving we got right when our parents make us responsible as children for their emotions right I’m mad and you need to behave differently in order for me to not be mad like that makes us personal personally responsible as children for their feelings which is a job that is way too big for a child to take on right they can’t even handle their own feelings you’re supposed to be teaching them how to work with that not take on yours as well but that does create a an adult that seems to want feel responsible for the feelings of those around them right like one of the things I noticed used to happen for me I’d be out in a group of five people if one of them was having a bad day for some other totally different reason but if they weren’t enjoying the time out I couldn’t enjoy the group’s timeout because it’s like you everyone has to be enjoying themselves for me to be okay yeah yeah and some of that’s true for me as well another thing I mean this gets back into my history but I know for my upbringing it was important that I don’t get things wrong so that manifests into being like a perfectionist you know what I mean and that’s part of that’s people pleasing but then there’s another thing of like well as long as you don’t get everything wrong anything wrong you’re okay as soon as you get one thing wrong you’re [ ] right right it’s a consequence well and thinking about parents who who we might refer to as enablers right if we are going to use that word even though we don’t like it like that’s also indicative of a unhealthy attachment right like they’re willing to sacrifice probably their values and morals of like drug use isn’t good or I’m watching this destroy my child for the sake of how the child feels oh you don’t feel well you’re getting sick from withdrawal I’m just gonna have to give you money for drugs like you have to feel okay that’s more priority than your health it’s kind of like the parent who gives their kid ice cream at dinner every night or for dinner every night you know what I mean it’s it’s being unable to choose a child’s unhappiness in the moment for the betterment of the child later and I feel like that’s just a continuation of that unhealthy version when you come to enabling or giving somebody something that maybe isn’t good for them ultimately yeah yeah and I was saying I don’t know how this kind of ties in but it’s relevant to something we were talking about recently with you know my friend he’s been using actively using and uh the only reason he’s not homeless and out of a job is because his dad keeps giving him like side work and stuff that his dad has a bunch of rental properties and he keeps giving him a bunch of side work and stuff to do and is letting him live in one of his rental properties and if it wasn’t for that his using would cause him to be like homeless and you know he would have to sort of face the consequences of what those Life Choices bring but now he doesn’t and he doesn’t have to pay rent and he’s got enough money to use and it’s like I don’t know if that’s like that doesn’t sound healthy that doesn’t seem like the right way to approach that no it it doesn’t um going back to where we were in the in the topic like I think for me boundaries probably something that got introduced when I started going to therapy and that was like nine ish years into recovery almost 10. but that was when the idea of like you know they talk a lot about boundaries in the therapy world and you know it’s I guess it is a form of protection but for me it I don’t feel like that when I’m telling it to people it’s more like hey you need boundaries because you need to make sure that you’re taking care of you first right like it’s fine to care about other people but you have to be in that mix somewhere and when people lack the boundaries it seems like it’s more everybody else’s needs are more important than mine yeah like it’s tied in with low self-esteem and low self-worth yeah right um so I mean the next part of this article is why are personal boundaries so important personal boundaries are an essential part of creating and upholding a healthy self-image ew I don’t like that already I would say they’re an essential part of creating and upholding a healthy self-care routine maybe but I don’t know about healthy self-image that sounds ego uh when a person has strong personal boundaries it communicates to the world that they exude healthy self-respect and self-worth yes but also if you have two strong personal boundaries you come off like a dick um hence creating boundaries makes us feel good about ourselves and preserves our personal Integrity oh maybe that’s where n a is creating boundaries around what people share to keep their own integrity but without personal boundaries we run the risk of confusing our needs and wants with others which leads to codependency codependency is a term that describes a toxic one-sided relationship that’s a little summed up too easily yeah um it is impossible to enjoy a healthy relationship with strong or clear boundaries without personal boundaries there is also the risk of experiencing heightened stress and feelings of hopelessness over committing to everyone and everything tends to take a serious toll in your mental health which can eventually lead to burnout or worse a nervous breakdown finally a lack of personal boundaries can result in feelings of being worthless weak or not good enough in other words our self-esteem is severely impacted and we might struggle with issues such as chronic self-doubt or self-loathing not being able to voice Our Truth and communicate our needs in a clear way can be deeply distressing what do you think about all that huh yeah I mean I know for myself I don’t feel like I am living my best life when I’m not being authentic to myself you know I’ve for a lot of years I did you know what I thought Society told me was the right things to do you know bought a house had a job raise some kids 2.5 cars or whatever you know like whatever you know all those things right and not really looking clearly at like okay so what what do I want what is in alignment with my needs and values and of course the boundaries part transferred into like my relationship with my wife my relationship at my job you know not really being able to stand up for who and what I was and just doing what I thought I was supposed to do no no I absolutely agree I spent a good portion of my life feeling like I was doing you know the check mark list of what people had told me adults do right like because I I never felt like an adult anyway so I better do all these adulty things so I look like one uh you know the buying the house the kids the career and all those those good parts and well for me I hate to say this but for me part of that came from the 12-step message that I got when I first got clean like I came in and people said hey your thinking’s all [ ] up you don’t know what you want or what you need in fact you’re a mess look at what you’ve done with your life just listen to us and do all these things and then you’ll be okay and so that’s the way I lived a lot of my life now at some point I guess where I personally struggled was at some point that does take a little bit of a flip-flop like my decision making does get healthier and I can learn some things about myself and how to make healthy choices and what’s right and in alignment with my values and then I can stand up for myself and do but I missed that part for a long time so I just like well I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do because if I make decisions I’m a [ ] mess so I’ll just do what everybody else tells me to do yes I I just feel like that can really like you describing it that way I think that’s what a lot of us probably do and I can see the danger in that like I so I work with somebody right now that is uh you know a younger person in their life and they’re done with college but the things they want to do in life don’t look like society’s idea of productivity and success right it’s not necessarily about money they’re really into art and they would rather live a life doing art than making a ton of money and like they run into conflict with their parent around this topic because the parents like no in this world it’s you know you give up your hopes and dreams and you go to this 40-hour week job and you [ ] go to something you hate right basically basically it’s like a paycheck people don’t really like their jobs that’s this is just the world you just do it and I’m like I feel like that’s the exact same thing you’re saying that kind of happened to a lot of us early in recovery like we didn’t have the ability to trust our thinking to say you know now that I’m here and in recovery this is what I really want to pursue even though it doesn’t look like the world’s version of success and we all just instead kind of bought into capitalism and consumerism and let’s keep up with the next guy and that’s dangerous and I I can’t say that wasn’t what I needed at that time because a lot of my using at least I Justified it by saying well I’m just doing what the [ ] I want to do when I want to do it you know what I mean like I felt like at that time I was living my authentic self but I was literally killing myself and destroying him my life and I wasn’t happy so there was some truth to the fact that I didn’t really know what I wanted it’s just you know that isn’t a place that I need to stay stuck maybe if I had learned something about healthy boundaries or or boundaries right I could have made some better decisions at that point in my relationships well the cult is definitely not going to tell you to have boundaries no uh just kidding um so I just thinking through that yeah but I guess I wish there was at you know maybe that was what I needed for year one or year two or three but maybe like somewhere around four or five somebody could have came in and been like hey this is when you start switching back to like searching for what you really want what matters to you and maybe maybe that is the goal of like Step 11 you know what I mean and ten really to like kind of get into this idea of what is God’s will for me or the universe’s purpose for me how do I find a purpose in my life for me not just necessarily doing what I’ve been doing which is what I think everybody is doing and wants how do I find my own personal way and and how to give back in that way like kind of like that 10 11 12 process maybe that’s what that’s supposed to be I didn’t get that out of it but yeah I didn’t either maybe I should for me it happened between like 12 and 15 years clean I had that sort of aha moment of like hey maybe I should start looking at like what I want out of life and what I want to be doing instead of just doing what I think the right thing to do is all the time right well and I think the thing that gets tricky with boundaries and maybe part of the strategies that are later in this little you know handout address this but the hardest part for me about boundaries is knowing where the [ ] they need to be yeah right like what is it that I want and value because a lot of times it’s conflicting wants and values that I have right I mean this past weekend I I did not want to go to a viewing at a funeral like that’s the last [ ] thing I really want to spend my time doing and yet I have a value of showing up for my mom and and things like that and for family so like that mattered and but it’s like where do you set that right okay so for my mom it seemed easier yes of course I’m gonna go show it for my mom but then like when I look at friends it’s like what friend do I show up for and which one is it like kind of on that cusp of like yeah I don’t know about that right like so the boundary is more it’s I feel like it’s easier to just get in better in tune with me because the closer I get in tune with me the more uh this is one of the AAA promises that I do love uh I’ll intuitively know how to handle situations that used to battle yeah and that’s where I feel like it comes from is just the more I the better I know me I don’t need to worry about like oh what’s my boundary it’s I just feel that I’m like nope I’m not doing it yeah and that is part of that 12-step process is figuring out you know well what do I want in my marriage what do I want in my relationship with my children you know what are my values there you know are my values you know strictly on like discipline and raising really productive children I mean that’s not a bad thing right but I’m gonna parent differently than if I’m gonna be like hey I just want my kids to like be happy and free and do whatever they want you know and to find happiness and joy in every moment of their life like that’s a different parenting style and not that one’s right or wrong what is important for me to figure out which one of those I want to be or where I fall in that spectrum and then I can you know treat them and and have those relationships that get us there yeah yeah and I mean I I think that boundary thing is always going to be this personal dilemma of like two or more things that we feel like are important to us you know so like in in the times when I was unable to set boundaries the thing that felt most important was having the acceptance of those around me being liked right having that validation that I I can be a part of a certain group and that was the most important thing because it felt like to be excluded from the group was like life-threatening and I get that it probably wasn’t but it felt that way in my life and my body right so going from there it’s like that was the most important thing and maybe as I got better with myself that wasn’t as important like it didn’t feel as dangerous to get excluded anymore because I’m a little better with myself I’m a little happier with myself and so now I can say no I’m not going to show up and help you move for the fourth time in three weeks because I just I like me today and if you exclude me it’s it’s not life-threatening still sucks but well and so much of that decision making for me in the especially in the people pleasing realm was like unconscious it was just yeah oh someone called and needs my help I have to go doesn’t matter if you know whatever there’s a champion your football game on I want to watch and they just need a ride to the grocery store like well they’re calling I guess I gotta you know and then being resentful and angry about it that I did it and not even you know there just wasn’t much thought it was just doing what you thought you needed to do to get people to like me and approve of me and not understanding boundaries at all well and that comes from the survival brain I mean if you’ve been raised in an environment that makes it feel like other people’s feelings are your responsibility and in your childhood that was kind of life or death right because if I don’t please these people I’m not saying your parents wouldn’t have fed you or you’re in the house but like that’s the childhood fear if they don’t love me they will stop providing the needs that I have to stay alive right um and so that it once the survival brain kicks on in that moment when you’re 25 and somebody’s calling for the grocery store you don’t get to access higher level thinking you don’t get to think more about it like you just said so there’s 18 signs you have poor personal boundaries and it says pay attention to these so you fail to speak up when you’re treated badly do you do that uh I would say yes but not as much anymore like a lot of these have gotten way better within the last just couple years I would say but but definitely that was a long part of my history so we just had a staff meeting at my work the other day and a co-worker of mine got a a new position that they created or whatever like office manager and and you know I thought through it a little bit it kind of made sense that they would have gotten it instead of me I don’t even know if I really would want it anyway but there was a feeling in me it was like were you even considered for this right that was what the question was like were you even considered and after the meeting I just sat there in the meeting and asked my boss I was like Hey like I’m just curious I wouldn’t so I do feel like I’m able to speak up a lot of times for and it’s not the necessary that I thought I was treated badly in there but I want to make sure that I’m standing up for myself to have fair treatment yeah and you know the conversation went fine and and it’s it’s all great I don’t really care that the person has the position it’s perfect for where they’re at in their life it was just I guess it was a good example to me I was like damn I don’t mind speaking up for myself if I feel like you know I want to know more or make sure I’m not being wronged yeah good and so I have a funny situation and this is how the recovery process has changed me as a person even now like this is last night so it’s gone to my kids baseball game and they have this baseball game starts at 7 30. like oh my God we’re gonna be out till [ ] 10 30 at night with this baseball game so anyway so I decide I got to get a coffee I’m like I’ll get a coffee it’ll keep me awake because I go to bed at nine so staying up that late’s hard so I get a coffee well I order the coffee I go through the drive through to get it and they do the oh uh can you just pull up there we’ll bring it right out to you I’m like oh like I was a [ ] coffee you know I gotta pull up so I’m like I’m nice I say okay fine and I pull up and I wait it was I think eight or nine minutes that I had pulled up I had already been through the driving line and pulled up and sat and so in my head Begins the contemplation all right do we just [ ] leave like it’s a buck 50 like I don’t want any confrontation I don’t want to you know and then I’m like that’s my [ ] dollar fifty it’s only a dollar fifty but it’s the principle of the thing that they now have my money and I can either go in there and ask for my money back or my [ ] coffee the fact that I have to walk in there is ridiculous anyway you know so then I get out I walk inside I go to the counter hey I ordered this stuff at the drive-thru I’ve been sitting out there like over five minutes you know and of course the contemplation walking in is do I throw a fit do I start like complaining you know about how [ ] terrible service this is and all that other stuff so what ended up is I walked in I got my coffee and I left and didn’t cause a big scene and the lady apologized but it was like there’s a whole contemplation process that goes on in my head about what the healthy thing to handle that dumb situation is but I wonder if there’s space for that when your body is still always in survival mode like when you’re just coming to recovery I don’t think oh no no early in recovery I probably would have just left you know and then been like oh they got me for you know and then I feel like [ ] because they got me for a dollar fifty I’d never ever ever went back to that establish I would never have coffee from there again that has been my decision as well really yeah they got me for a dollar fifty I’m never ever oh no I got my coffee I’m just like hide the service was so shitty I’m gonna probably not go back I won’t go back for a while eventually I might go back right so more of these signs you give away too much of your time is that you know not as much today but yeah definitely in the past you agree with the person when you actually feel like disagreeing that I will do mostly because I don’t most of the time I don’t feel like disagreeing with people is worth the energy that it takes see I like I feel like I have this like passive disagreement where like people will tell me some [ __ ] and I’m just like yeah yeah I don’t know that I agree with that but let’s move on yeah see I don’t do that I’m just like I mean and I think of that like with co-workers and stuff that have opinions that are very different from mine most of the time I don’t I just like oh okay and then I end that conversation go away gotcha you say yes to a person when you want to say no I mean I’m sure this happens at some point but not not anywhere near as often yeah not near as often you feel guilty for dedicating time to yourself still have some of that yeah I did still have that too I don’t do that very well it’s a lot easier for me to take three or four hours on a weekend now and say I’m just gonna go hang out with a buddy or whatever if that’s what I want to do I feel like it’s easier to do that not that I do it a lot but like it’s harder it seems like to be like you know what I want to go on a weekend trip I’m you know me and a few guys are going to whatever a convention or something a couple states away like that feels tougher to do at this point yeah like for me to consciously do it for myself is still something I struggle with a lot if you were to ask me to do something I would probably say yeah that sounds fun and do it but to take the initiative to do it for myself is not there no absolutely I said like two months ago I want to hike more and get more massages just because I want to take care of myself better and I have done neither I’ve made zero effort you feel taken for granted by others yes do you oh yeah a little bit I don’t it’s not necessarily that I feel taken for granted I feel like they don’t recognize all that I do well you that too now what I do with that today though is I remind myself that that’s not really necessarily the truth you know but I still feel that a lot right taking for granted I think a lot of us feel like we are the glue holding whatever together and I’m just yeah I’m not saying it’s not true but I’m not saying there’s also not some other truths to other people holding things together with you all right um you permit people to touch you when you feel uncomfortable or want them to stop no you never really had that I think that’s more of a female problem yeah I really do most people would touch me more I’m not going to record when I touch Billy after this episode uh you have toxic relationships I hate that wording even though it’s so accurate it says for example you’re always giving and the other is always taking uh you make too many Grand sacrifices for others at your own expense watch my mom do that son I’m not a grand sacrifice kind of guy no I don’t think I am either you are passive aggressive and might have manipulative Tendencies as a way of trying to regain your lost power I’ll probably do that I’d probably do some of that uh the word manipulative is a skewed word in my mind because we are all actively manipulating our world and environment to be right we want it to be so it’s like it’s not necessarily manipulating isn’t a bad thing in and of itself that’s how we interact with the world like if I’m going to ask you a question and I want the answer to be yes I’m going to try to frame the question in a way that makes yes sound appealing yeah and that’s not necessarily a bad tactic that’s we manipulate things I mean if you take sand on a beach and make a sand castle you manipulated the sand on the beach like but we you know we look at manipulative as bad so it’s a little tricky uh you constantly feel like a victim yeah we definitely had victim mentalities coming into 12-step groups you feel like you have to earn respect by being nice I don’t think that so much I think I have to be nice to others because they have to like me right uh you overshare details about your life with others I do that but I think that’s a 12-step thing yeah I definitely I don’t feel like it’s over share and I just feel like I’m vulnerable yeah and but I feel like I try to do it the right place I guess yeah uh you feel guilty when others aren’t happy as if you’re responsible we talked about that one I’ve got that you are what other people want need you to be and not who you need you to be oh I’ve had a lot of that one yeah I don’t know that I got as much now but I’ve struggled with a lot of it for sure you’re out of touch with your needs I think that is God damn near all of us yeah I definitely am you attract people who try to control or dominate you maybe a little
Maybe you have chronic fear about what others think of you yes that idea do you yeah I don’t anymore I don’t really have a lot of that so what I don’t know that’s a pretty exhaustive list man yeah I’m boundaries are broken well and and you know I will say and I think we’re realizing this like there’s definitely levels there’s a spectrum to all this right there’s the the level we were at when we got here and then there’s where we’re at today which is a whole different world even though we’re still suffering with some of those same struggles you know that spiral staircase idea like we’re a little further removed got a little better clearer picture of the the situation well it’s and some of it you know there’s that juggling act almost like you talked about earlier with the situation with the funeral and your mom there is that you know or I’d say Balancing Act of like figuring out like okay I want to be a person that is like there for my family that’s supportive and loving and and helpful and you know part of the team that’s building them up but that does come at some sacrifice to some of my personal wants and needs at times and finding the healthy balance of that is what’s important it’s not like if I do all serve them all the time or serve myself all the time neither of those is ideal right so you know when you mention that two other three other people but only two that I really knew two other people came up to the viewing for my mom and this is like at least an hour away from where my mom lives that this took place so it was a hike it was not some small gesture to come out there and like I was looking at the situation from my lens and I’m like well I’m the Sun and this is my family like we’re supposed to be here we have to be right it’s kind of a requirement um but like this this one guy that came as a family member of ours who I think is my mom’s cousin but he’s like a lot younger than her it’s weird um but I thought that was a really nice gesture of him to come okay so that’s really cool but he had also like been traveling for work that day and had done a lot of driving and I’m like did he do this because it means a lot to him to be here or because he sacrificed like his own well-being of sleep and taking care of himself because he felt like he had to I don’t know that answer like I don’t even know if he knows that answer but he came and it was nice but then a lady came the next day for my mom’s work and she drove an hour out and an hour back and she didn’t stay for the funeral she just wanted to show up and make an appearance and be there for my mother don’t get me wrong it’s beautiful like it it brought tears in my eyes that this lady drove out there for my mom right but I’m like I wouldn’t have [ ] done it there’s no [ ] way when you said that that’s exactly what I remember of my mom’s funeral I remember being there and people showing up and and not in a bad way but me being like like why the [ ] are you here like yeah not that I minded it I mean it was very nice but I thought the same thing I’m like I don’t know that I would have come if their relationship was weird and yeah I don’t know if that’s is that healthy I know it reminded me of something with my dad so my dad was telling us and I was almost was like that’s uncomfortable and creepy but he had a friend that he went to high school with now my dad’s [ ] 70. this was a guy that he went to high school with that got cancer and he started going to visit him in the hospital once a week now this isn’t a guy that was like some [ ] family friend that we kept in touch with I never met the guy in the all the whole time of my Dad’s life he’s never been to any celebration of my parents or my dad not a birthday not an anniversary so it’s not like someone that they were close friends with and he’s gone to visit him in the [ ] Hospital once a week after 50 years of not seeing them wow I’m like that’s [ ] weird like and maybe that’s healthy for him or maybe that’s his values but it just seemed very odd uh I could picture there’s some situations where maybe he’s a little lonely or older in life nostalgic and that just makes sense yeah it just feels different he would want someone to treat him that way yeah I could picture there being some healthy ways but it does sound weird yeah but it’s just I mean the point being like I think these things are are things that we need to figure out for ourselves like is this is this in alignment with the person that I want to be or am I just doing it out of some sort of weird guilt or obligation obligation right yeah yeah and that’s a hard one to figure out which is again why I say getting more and more in tune with who we are right um one of the processes I try to use with people in therapy for this activity is actually to start start with something you know right sit still kind of like a a meditation and picture two Foods on a table one that you absolutely love the taste of and one you can’t stand and start to try to tune into your bodily response when you picture getting ready to eat those things right because you can start to get some things we do have that strong pull towards or or push back against right and I think food’s one of them for a lot of us we’ve kind of established that so it’s a good starting point to get what does the feeling of I want this feel like what is the feeling like this doesn’t feel good for me feel like and then working on that in other areas um and another practice is just trying everything out as if you’ve never experienced it so like eating ice cream with a fork right just try to [ ] out see what you think right did all of it melt and fall through well maybe you want to use a spoon next time but once we start reevaluating things we took for granted that we already knew we start to be more curious about more and more experiences yeah and I recently heard it’s a little different but similar I guess in that uh start to try to live by intention like before you make decisions on things like look at what your intention is right and then see if those decisions are in alignment with your intention that’s a good one too if you can think through to the intention yeah like that’s hard yeah well it’s probably a lot harder to do on minor things but on like bigger decisions it might be a little sort of more intuitive to go all right well what am I trying to get done here what is my intention here and is this going to get me there yeah and one of the things you remind me of is is for me uh it’s airing on the side of being compassionate right so like my mother came home from work a week ago and and found her boyfriend passed away in the house and like we went down immediately because that would seemed like the right thing to do but like they so she found him at three in the afternoon and they didn’t actually come retrieve the body till four something in the morning um so we were all just kind of sitting in the house while the body’s upstairs but like somewhere around 11 I think I had mentioned like Hey we’re gonna get out of here we’re just gonna leave and my wife kind of said to me you know when my grandmother passed the thing that made me most distraught was when they took the body out maybe we should stay and it was really easy for me in that place to be like you know what I don’t know what’s right I’m gonna err on the side of it we’ll just [ ] stay right so it’s kind of like I know I want to lean towards compassion and being available for people and so it was was easy to lean that way even though I thought I wanted to go a different way right I’m going to go home I want to go to the [ ] bed right but it wasn’t a hard thing so I guess sometimes it’s just more like I don’t mind airing on the side of being a good person right that’s kind of where I want to go makes it a little easier I guess so I don’t have to know the right or wrong I can just be like well [ __ ] it if I don’t know I’ll air this direction yeah right you know yeah
this episode has been brought to you in part by Voices of Hope Inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the Dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at
www.voicesofhopeemaryland.org and consider donating to our calls
thank you why do we suffer from poor personal boundaries before you blame yourself for having poor personal boundaries stop for a moment I want you to understand that it wasn’t your fault but it is your responsibility to now develop strong boundaries so take a moment to feel some compassion for yourself as children we had no control what our parents teachers and the adults around us taught us most people who possess absent or weak personal boundaries or set a bad example when young observing codependent Dynamics within our families contribute a lot to this issue as well as being taught that love equals what we did not who we were as a child the first role models you had of acceptable behavior were your parents and family members so pause to reflect here what messages did your mother father siblings or other adults send to you growing up were you only given love when you pretended to be who your parents wanted you to be were you only rewarded when you went out of the way to sacrifice your needs and Desires in favor of someone else’s were you punished for saying no or speaking up did you feel obliged to emotionally take care of an adult perhaps a parent these were all signs that you were taught that lacking personal boundaries equaled a good thing reading through some of them and I know we kind of already addressed this earlier about feeling responsible for your parents feelings but reading through some of these like I can picture for sure a lot of times in my kid’s life where they were acting age appropriate as kids thinking of themselves and I would shame them with like why can’t you think of the bigger picture and all that we’re going through right yeah why can’t you at 11 figure out all this [ ] for the parents go through right right I’m over here like I go to work all day and I gotta deal with this when I come home and your life is easy and so like it’s really easy for us to fall into these patterns right and this isn’t about shaming parents for being bad parents or anything look we’re doing the best we can we’re trying to figure this out and get better as all of us as generational families everybody but yeah it’s really easy to fall into that pattern of like do what I want you to do and you’ll be loved and and good yeah and it’s definitely even I mean even reading through that I’m like oh I think I probably still do a couple of those things like now like I it’s the only time I give my kids praise when they do what I want them to do you know is that a pattern because it’s normal I mean that’s a normal thing but it’s like how often do you go home and tell your kids you know you love them and you care them just because you know am I doing those things well and that’s what I’m noticing the more uh therapy for people with children that I’ve had to give and learn more about and The more I’ve done in my own life just listening to self-help books and everything like uh it’s really important to me to give this my kids the idea that I love them just because yeah you [ ] breathe your heartbeat’s cool I love you that’s great be whoever the [ ] you are and it’s it’s a hard idea to give one of the main things that comes to my mind every time I think of it is when they walk in the room I want my face to light up and be so [ ] like oh my God little so and so come over here tell us about your day or or whatever right like just that idea of like just your presence is enough to you know make this room excited I feel like that is a great way that I’m working on trying to give that to them just I’m excited to see you yeah I’m just saying hey how you doing you know how’s your day going things okay you know yeah that kind of stuff one of the things uh we did and so my daughters both had plans um the day after school that that you know my mother’s boyfriend passed away and so when I went home straight from work I grabbed the younger three kids and we you know just headed down and my wife went straight from work to my mom so my my oldest two weren’t there and there was a piece of me that was like this is [ ] you’re supposed to be here right Grandma’s in pain you’re supposed to be here for her but I kind of like I it was like a piece of my own self that had that thought and I tried to comfort it and I tried to just let my girls decide like do what you’re gonna do right we’re going down again Sunday to be with Grandma to spend time with her we’re gonna have the viewing in the funeral but I didn’t put any I never said like you have to be in any of these things and I really was trying to steer away from that and let them just be them and they showed up for everything in an awesome way and I like I told them how much it meant to me that they they did that and how much I thought they were amazing for making that choice and I don’t know it’s felt really good to like kind of let them sort of like have the Rope I guess you say in order to hang yourself but that’s not what I was looking for but it was just like hey this is your life like you got to figure out what matters to you and uh love you with our kids it’s the same like we just went up to Massachusetts to visit their sister and there’s been times they haven’t gone but they always have the choice you know they’re 20 and 17 and they drive themselves and they’re really responsible so we don’t force them to go and they’re like no we want to get you know we want to go and they’ll come up and spend out four or five days with us just us as a family you know playing board games and putting together puzzles and hanging out watching movies you know just to spend time together as a family the other thing I thought and and it was important and I didn’t necessarily know why but I think it it does some of those things is just showing up for their events and things that they were a part of you know I always showed up for everything that was me I was like yeah you just you’re supposed to show up for your kids and I think somewhere in me that’s because I didn’t feel like my parents did for me I didn’t feel like they were all that interested in the stuff that I was doing and so for my kids I’ve always tried to really encourage them to do things they were interested in and then show up for those things too right you know take them to their practices show up for their game show up for their recitals show up for their shoe you know whatever the [ ] it is you know the stuff that I had way better things I’d like to be doing with my time right you know I still take time to show up for that stuff because I think it lets them know like hey what you want to do matters you know who you are matters you said something that I want to just address a little piece of and I don’t this doesn’t necessarily reflect what I think for your life because in your process of doing that you were in like a self-reflective 12-step program looking at you and adjusting things and and being a different parent but I think uh my experience from early on in inherenting was that I noticed that I tended to flip on some of the things my parents did too I was like oh they did this and it felt shitty I’m gonna do the opposite to fix that one but there wasn’t much thought Beyond like if like for me it was just if I do this other practice I’ll make better kids and it wasn’t like I think what happens to a lot of parents is they they do that they have that natural adjustment but it almost comes from the same unhealthy Place yeah you know what I mean it still gives the same wrong message it’s just in a different angle and I guess you know that’s where like self-reflection really helps with that like why am I doing this what’s the intention like you mentioned for doing this right is it just to do the opposite of my parents because that’s probably not going to fix everything right um so then this goes through five myths about personal boundaries if you struggle with setting clear boundaries you might carry a number of mistaken beliefs that you were conditioned to believe here are some myths that we want you to be aware of one having personal boundaries is selfish this is an unhealthy perception having personal boundaries is a form of self-respect and is part of possessing good self-esteem all mentally and emotionally healthy people possess boundaries myth number two having personal boundaries will cause my relationships to suffer if you are in a codependent relationship creating boundaries will most certainly create uncomfortable waves of change if your partner is codependently entangled with you he or she will be shocked and will certainly resist your efforts to be happy and healthy the same thing goes for codependent friendships if this is the case I encourage you to consider whether being in a toxic relationship or friendship is worth it any healthy and supportive relationship will actually Thrive and encourage the establishment of personal boundaries I feel like for this I’ve been working on and I heard this summer I don’t remember where at this point it might have been brene brown but this idea of like thank you for taking care of yourself so like even when people deliver information that’s not pleasing to me they have to cancel on an event we decided to go two together or they have to deliver bad news about not being able to show up somewhere it’s like hey thank you for taking care of yourself right and I can’t say that every time I say it in my head or out loud I necessarily believe it like sometimes there’s definitely frustration about the situation but I’m hoping it conditions me to remember that like that’s the most important thing always is for people to do what’s good for them so is that something you say to yourself if you have to cancel or you say that to the other person if they have to cancel on you so it’s one I’ve used for other people canceling on me and I say it I definitely always say it to myself just to remind myself there are times I use it out loud because I feel like it can be comforting for other people to know that that’s my standpoint too but no I don’t say it as much for myself I feel like I’m generally accept when I feel like I know what I gotta do for me and if that’s to miss something that’s to miss something and hey I’m sorry and I hope you understand but if you don’t then I guess it’s probably good that we don’t talk anymore yeah well and the only thing I didn’t like about that a little bit is if you’ve been in a relationship for 10 or 15 years and you’ve been a certain way and been a certain role and then all of a sudden you start making all these changes that’s probably going to be a little uncomfortable even for your partner and not necessarily because they say your relationship will suffer well it may suffer in the intermediate you know in the in the interim why they’re going through this change or why you’re going through this change like it might be a little rocky when you start setting some of these boundaries now it doesn’t necessarily mean the person is going to leave you but it’s definitely going to be like whoa what do you mean you’re not [ ] making my lunch every morning like you’ve made my lunch every morning for 10 years now the [ ] what you know are you having an affair like what the [ ] right right you know so if you start setting these boundaries in the middle of a relationship that’s long established it could be a little different no it and it absolutely well I think they were talking more about like the the codependently uh bonded relationships for that but no no you’re absolutely right and I tell people this all the time who are struggling with people in their household and friction in those relationships it’s like it won’t happen immediately because as soon as you start to set some boundaries about your personal well-being there will be pushback that’s what’s going to happen right but through you putting something different into the family system it’s just like having an assembly line and all of a sudden you start putting a new part or a new you know oil in it’s going to create a different outcome at the end of the whole product too so as you change it’ll take a while but the people in your house will adjust to that or they can’t right right they can’t adjust will leave obviously but most people will find a new way of interacting with you and it will change the whole dynamic of the system not just you yeah or with our kids I mean I know if as they’ve gotten older the boundaries change you know what I mean because the responsibilities of me is a parent change what I have to do for my six seven and eight year old is very different than what I have to do for my a 13 14 year old you know dude you can clean your own [ ] bedroom you can do your own laundry like I don’t have to be doing all that stuff for you now you know right and making dinner you know things like that and then they get to adults hey you can go to the store and buy your own things you know like and that can create some friction but it’s hopefully healthy friction and it’s in a way that we talk about those things yeah and with our kids it was always weird like and I would try to explain this to them like the boundaries at their different ages were like they were all different ages so the expectations that I had on my older kids would be different than the expectations on my younger kids and being like yeah that’s because he’s 10. you know and you’re 17. like you can do a lot more get that all the time in my house and there there’s some varied ages there’s a couple of like five year gaps and yeah why doesn’t why can he just do whatever you want and not clean up well because you’re [ ] 13 that’s why and then the Young younger one why do I gotta sit in the middle seat on the back row of the minivan well because you’re the smallest and I see it’s designed for the smaller it’s like I don’t know what to tell you bro I’m sorry but get bigger yeah I mean this is your role in the house unfortunately um myth three having personal boundaries will cause people to dislike me this is only partly true the reality is that yes setting clear boundaries might step on a few people’s toes but creating boundaries will also cause more people to respect here and like you there’s nothing more admirable than a person who refuses to take [ ] from others not only that but when you set boundaries you will actually attract more people who are willing to respect you and be authentic Friends and Lovers this is a tricky one because I I don’t know there was one line there’s nothing more admirable than a person who refuses to take [ ] from others I feel like I run into this person that refuses to take [ ] from others frequently and I wouldn’t call them healthily boundaried I call them an [ ] it’s usually wearing a mega hat I mean maybe yeah I’m thinking of a no I mean personally I’m kind of thinking of a particular female right now so I’m like she’s an [ ] like I wouldn’t call that strong personal healthy boundaries I would call that just being an [ ] and doing what you want to do maybe that’s where the healthy comes in maybe they’re unhealthy that’s interesting um myth four having personal boundaries will make me miserable this is a common concern but my response is simple creating personal boundaries might feel uncomfortable at first but pretty soon it’ll make you feel empowered and control your life again so the opposite here is true having personal boundaries will actually make you much happier myth five having personal boundaries sounds rigid personal boundaries are not black and white or set in stone they are flexible according to your needs in the moment so what are the benefits of creating strong personal boundaries here’s what you can expect you’ll be able to say no is that really a benefit in itself I mean it is but like what about the feeling of not having to do the [ ] you didn’t feel like doing right uh you’ll feel empowered again you’ll feel more in control of your life you’ll attract healthy and supportive partners and Friends you’ll have more mental emotional and physical energy you’ll be able to speak up and be heard you’ll feel more appreciated and valued you’ll be more in touch with your needs I see sometimes this pisses me off because they’re talking about benefits of strong personal boundaries and I’m picturing some of the people who need boundaries and if you told them oh you you want boundaries you’ll be more in touch with your needs they’ll be like why the [ ] do I need to be in touch with my needs like that just doesn’t sound very compelling to the average person out there like I need money [ ] that’s what you mean all right I don’t know you’ll spend more time on yourself without the guilt you’ll experience more emotional balance and happiness you’ll experience increased self-esteem and self-worth you’ll feel more courage and freedom to be yourself and these won’t happen overnight both practice and persistence I don’t know none of those sound extremely compelling I’m not gonna lie yeah some of them did for me because I like say for a lot of that part of my recovery it was like going through the motions of doing what I was supposed to do and living a life that was okay but it was just okay like I didn’t feel like I was I hate to use catchy words that they use now but I didn’t feel like I was like thriving you know what I mean I didn’t feel like I was like vigorously enjoying my life it was like no I’m existing doing exactly what I’m supposed to do you know what I mean I’m punching the dots and checking the boxes there’s no chaos it’s good you know and that was good right but it wasn’t great like it’s not like I was in touch with who I was as a person and actively making decisions to to get more in tune with the things that I wanted to do it was just going through the motions of living and I think once I was able to set some boundaries and figure out you know I almost felt like it was the other way around I almost felt like I needed to know you know what my needs were before I could set boundaries right right you know like I don’t know now that I am getting more in touch with my needs I know what my boundaries need to be like do you have an amount of time each week or day that is yours that is a New Concept that I’ve been looking at recently So currently I would say no probably not I Teeter back and forth between saying that some of the stuff that I do working around my house is time for me because I do kind of like it but that’s a hard one because I do find myself like this weekend like I didn’t really feel up to doing much yesterday and then I just forced myself to do [ ] around the house so it didn’t feel like that yesterday for sure right but other times it’s like oh I have fun doing this I enjoy doing this and it feels like I’m making time for me probably right now watching football is one I do like to watch football I’m gonna miss some of that today because I agreed to go to some [ ] thing I don’t want to do I know I made my therapy appointment today I’m mad too but it’s a balance like I I told Jen I’m like well can we be home by like two like then I might only miss like the first half I at least get to watch the second half and then the rest of the afternoon I’ll probably just watch football right but yeah I don’t feel like I have any actual like specific structured like oh this is my hours on this day of the week but I I do know that I can pretty much solidly count on boring crazy situations like recently um in my life like I could pretty much count on getting a certain amount of time to myself to choose to do whatever I want right yeah I don’t have and I say that but then I say like I don’t know if and this is why I need to personally do a little more research into that because I’ve that concept has come across my radar recently that hey you need to be taking time for like your personal self right I’m like well I go to the gym I meditate you know those are things I do for myself elf but it’s like I don’t know if that qualifies into that because this I’m thinking more of like leisure time and relaxation and and that time for myself and that’s what I really lack well I think they they qualify in the sense of overall General time but once you start breaking down this time for yourself into different categories they do kind of miss the mark one like that Leisure what would I just choose to do like they’re things that you do and you choose to do for your health and your well-being and they’re great I think they fit in the the big category of taking time for yourself but I do think they’re kind of absent from the list in that category of like what do I just really [ ] want do I want three hours to walk through nature each week do I want three hours to fish do I want three hours to [ ] stare at the TV like whatever it is we should be allowed to have some time to just pick anything right and and I feel like that’s the category most of us miss right we’ll like get in on the self-care portion of it but there’s that other subcategory of like you know things are nothing right and I’m like I don’t think we are are just doing enjoyment you know right right uh so how do you create personal boundaries that people don’t ignore creating boundaries is less about other people and more about you and the beliefs and mindsets you have following practices and pieces of advice will help you target both your core beliefs and habitual behaviors number one understand you have the right to have boundaries lurking underneath the surface of people-pleasing behaviors the belief that we have no right to set boundaries it’s time to challenge this ingrained assumption why are others allowed to have boundaries and not you why must you feel like a lesser human being and Elevate others above yourself it is a fundamental right of all human beings to have personal boundaries consider your Birthright to establish boundaries that Define and protect you not only is it your right to create boundaries but it is also your responsibility I guess that would be the first part of creating them no one you can yeah and I guess for myself it’s not that I didn’t think I should have them it I looked at it more as like almost like a weakness like oh I don’t need anybody for anything I can you know I’m fine and I’ll just serve other people and that makes me happy and as long as other people like me I’m good right you know and it wasn’t that I didn’t have needs or think that I should have needs it was just like well mine aren’t that important you know it’s trying to think back to like uh and it’s hard sometimes man we make changes in our lives that that change is pretty drastically it’s hard to think back to who we used to be but one the change is so gradual like it’s not like it happened in like a day or a month it’s like years of slow progression you know yeah with some you know hurried little spots where you’re really dug in yeah um but just picturing back to like this construction worker type mail who I think is our average typical male in the U.S right the I don’t think I felt like we were allowed to have boundaries because we were supposed to be so tough and thick-skinned and impenetrable that nothing hurt us to need a boundary you know what I mean like in order for me to think I need a boundary it’s because a behavior might uh injure me or hurt me or harm me in some way and if I’m a tough rugged guy in America well [ ] I don’t need boundaries nothing harms me well and just even the whole idea like I just think of the whole concept of any of that language on a construction site like I work in HVAC and I can’t imagine being on a job site and one of the co-workers looking at another co-worker and saying something like hey you know you said that and that really crossed a personal boundary with me like yeah that’s not language that happens at the job take your panties off hey give me [ ] 10 bucks I need some lunch and then the other guy goes [ ] you you know right they’re gonna say take your panties off do you need a tampon like that’s what you’re going to get in response and just recognizing like no we have these these and it’s funny because Jen will say things we do a monthly you know work meeting where we get all the service department guys together and she’ll say funny things to me because she’s not in our environment she’s in a probably a healthy mental health environment and she’ll say well why don’t you you know when you guys have your monthly meeting like why don’t you go around the circle and ask each guy if there’s like a need or Improvement he sees on the job site that would make things better and I’m like I don’t think that would go over well if I tried that they’d look at me like I was [ ] crazy and they would be like uh now we’re good thanks right right then [ ] about it as soon as they left and I think that’s one of the hard Parts in the the patriarchal society we have right so men don’t feel like they’re allowed to have boundaries because it’s it’s too feminine I guess they’re too soft or too weak for for what men are supposed to be but then women are taught from an early age that their whole being is basically to cater to men that’s the whole point of their existence so how are they going to feel like they can set [ ] boundaries for their own personal well-being it’s like God we both both halves get screwed in this patriarchy yeah or for for a lot of men you know standing up for a boundaries like a confrontation and a fight right and for like me I was always you know I’ve always been a kind of skinny smaller kind of guy I wasn’t ever any big muscular guy so confrontation and fighting was not my you know I was fast you know and smart I could like outsmart things I wasn’t the fighter I got muscles to hopefully avoid the fight personally I was like I’m hoping this like makes people think twice about to happen but that’s the idea of standing up for boundaries was usually a confrontation yeah it wasn’t like a conversation where you go hey you know this is a boundary and you’re Crossing this boundary like that isn’t yeah right number two understand your thoughts feelings and needs are equally important to others no one’s thoughts feelings or needs are above anyone else’s social status is an illusion created by the human mind in other words the Queen of England’s needs ooh this is outdated already the Queen of England’s Deeds are equal to a homeless person’s needs I guess the king the only division created between us and others exists in the mind therefore you are not less important valuable or worthy than others your needs are equally important to those in your life learn to see yourself as an equal to others affirm your worth each and every day with a mantra such as I am worthy and my needs are important learn to distrust and disagree with those who try to make you think or feel otherwise I don’t know I I mean I I’m a fan of mantras if nothing else just because we have so many negative thoughts each day about ourself why not put through some positive ones in there yeah me too I mean I and I was gonna say I I actually still actively do something similar to that you know I love myself and that kind of stuff but I I don’t know that I could admit that out loud at my job that’s a thing that I do you know do you guys tell yourselves each day that you love yourself and that your needs are important like it’s just not yeah it’s not the culture of that environment yeah it really is not but but that’s I maybe that’s the problem why is it not right why are not more of us into this right uh number three explore your needs likely you don’t have much experience or knowledge of your needs especially if you ignore them to cater to others demands now is the time to start learning more about yourself keep a Daily Journal in which you record your thoughts feelings needs and desires practicing self-reflection and introspection will help you to become more tune with what you really need at any given moment practicing mindfulness exercises is another powerful way to know what boundaries you need to set during the day dedicate a self-discovery practice each day and aim to learn more about who you are and what you really want out of life this is one of the best ways to begin setting personal boundaries a fun way to start learning about who you are is by taking self-discovery tests yeah I think those practices are good I have since we did our journaling episode way back when Jenny was talking about the idea that you don’t have to journal these like Poetic feeling filled uh you know Journal posts or whatever Journal logs and you can just literally put like whatever you’re doing right at that moment I haven’t been perfect with it I think I started off like pretty thunderous hitting it every day or every other day now it’s been like once a week but it’s pretty regular like I will write in there once a week and just talk about what’s going on how I’m feeling what’s been on my mind uh yeah I think that is a great way to start learning more about yourself right because it’s easier to own to a journal that’s private like man I really feel like I’m working too much or I really feel like you know my partner is asking for too much out of me after work or like you can start to kind of find that damn this feels like too much yeah and it’s interesting since covid a lot of those ideas and Concepts you’re seeing more about them in like news and and media the idea that you know your whole life shouldn’t be dedicated to work and the one I heard this morning was about you know people that are like the Road Warriors that travel for work all the time and some things that they can do to set boundaries with their employers and those are Concepts that I think even five years ago so like they would be like frowned upon like everything was you need to do everything you can to be better than other people right to succeed and be the winner you know you’re the guy that’s going to do more than anybody else and put in those extra hours and we’re starting to realize like that’s not really healthy well and even the term that’s been given I don’t know if you’ve heard this one the quiet quitting so I kept seeing that on my news I was like what is quiet quitting is it just not going back to your job so I read an article about it and it’s apparently you know for people who do a good job and and are above and beyond they get frustrated because it doesn’t pay off and so they go back to just doing the job requirements and I’m like why would we label that quiet quitting that sounds like what we should have been doing all the [ ] alone like quiet quitting sounds like a negative connotation and like that’s no you’re supposed to just be doing the job [ ] the extras yeah right so that’s I don’t know it’s weird that we look at it that way but yeah now that’s healthy like that’s that’s healthy boundaries you know having a boundary going to your employer and saying hey this is a little more than I can take on right now but it’s like that’s been frowned upon yeah yeah well and I think uh you know starting to see this shift in different Generations like my children’s generation earn the people just a little older than them in the workforce it feels like they’re not as willing to just work their [ ] life away and I’m like good for them good maybe we’ll change the whole [ ] system yeah so my daughter’s 20 and her boyfriend’s 19 and they both just finished school and so her we’ve kind of told her hey look just stay at home check some things out you really like animals and doing that stuff see if you can get a job doing some of that you know we need your help with some other things around the house like don’t don’t worry about running out and starting some career and doing all that other stuff like it’s okay to take her boyfriend on the other hand his parents have pushed him now he’s at a local you know Place working a shift job and and like it’s nothing in alignment with who he wants to be or what he wants to do you know that’s what you get pushed to do and that’s what his family’s tell him to do and it’s sad yeah I I hear people lament that this next Generation doesn’t want to work and doesn’t want to do this and doesn’t want to do that and they gotta wait an extra five minutes into McDonald’s drive-through and all that and I’m like I don’t know man I’m [ ] all for it I support it I hope we can figure out the work is not life that’s what we keep telling my daughter I’m like whatever you decide to do I mean this may be a choice you make for the next you know you got to work probably for the next you know 20 30 years of your life yeah so find something you like to do find something you want to do and then try to make money at that you know go that route versus just trying to make money exactly uh number four practice daily self-care because you’re worth it practicing daily self-care is supplementary it’s a supplementary practice that will bolster your ability to set clear personal boundaries when you get into the habit of nurturing yourself you are already setting yourself up for Success you’re sending yourself the message that I’m worth taking care of setting firm boundaries will then seem like the next natural step in your self-care routine simple ways to perform self-care include taking time to relax practicing meditation making delicious and nutritious food for yourself exercising setting daily goals complimenting yourself rewarding yourself taking a nap connecting with nature drinking a soothing cup of tea and many other practices yeah I I would agree with this I I think there’s so much to it right when we can have a relationship with ourselves when we can treat ourselves well why would you ever accept less than that from a friend or a partner it kind of sets up the basis for like I don’t need to accept that I don’t do that to myself I don’t do that to other people right whereas if you’ve never had the treatment from anywhere and you don’t give it to yourself you’re just going to think this is normal this is what everybody has yeah and giving yourself that message like I matter too you know what I mean like my needs my wants things I like like they matter too you know in my family especially like I think in my household a lot of times it’s like well what does the wife need what do the kids need what does the dog need what does the house need you know what’s my job need right and like I was like I put myself at the end of that list sometimes or in the past and then there’s no time left for my needs right that old idea of like put your own oxygen mask on first because then everybody else will benefit from that too yeah I think we have to find a way to take care of ourselves the right way in order to set the precedent for what we’re unwilling to accept from others number five learn to say no saying no is a key part of learning to be assertive and honoring your needs you don’t need to flat out or aggressively say no if the situation doesn’t call for it instead you can try saying phrases such as no thank you I can’t I’m not able to not now I’m busy sorry maybe next time and so forth I even tell people in therapy honestly this is not when you’re trying to create personal boundaries it’s not the time to worry about if you’re being honest like in the beginning [ ] it lie do whatever you gotta do to make sure you’re taking care of yourself right and over time you’ll start to learn like oh hey I lied I got out of going to that thing and helping that guy move I got to like spend my Sunday how I wanted to I relaxed it felt really good for me at some point you’ll say that is worth claiming and I can be honest about it but when you don’t feel like you can like [ ] it lie do whatever you gotta do I’ve actually taken a little slightly different approach but similar in feeling like I don’t always need to give an explanation I’m sorry I can’t make it knows a complete sentence and that’s that’s it you know and and being done with it because because I go down the same road it’s like well do I want to tell them a big story and maybe they won’t think it’s worth it but it’s important to me right you know and instead of putting all those judgments on all those things it doesn’t you know it’s just no oh and I was like I was told very own by my uh my first therapist she said knows a complete sentence she said when you try to explain why you open yourself up for room for the other person to argue about it right you know a chance to say oh well we can get around that problem you’re having of not showing up by doing this like they can offer Solutions and you’re not looking for Solutions so don’t even open the door to it yeah just no I can’t make it sorry and it’s easier that way so I love that idea too uh six identify when people cross the line it’s not always easy to identify when others overstep your boundaries particularly if you’re used to not having any take time to record in a private Journal each day all the moments when you felt uncomfortable upset or disrespected by someone during the day this journaling exercise will help you to develop more self-awareness another way to know when people have overstepped your boundaries is by tuning into your body try to notice when you feel Sensations like butterflies in your stomach tension or an increase in blood pressure which will manifest as feeling flustered and hot use these Sensations as triggers to help you tune into the present moment and practice assertiveness I would say this Falls definitely into that episode we did about polyvagal Theory too just this idea of like listening to that chest stomach throat head area that’s where most of the feelings are happening you might have a a lump in your throat you might have a tightness or an expansiveness in your chest or like a feeling of a weight on it all good things to pay attention to for sure yeah and there is a little bit of complication there I’m going to say for someone like myself so Jen and I were recently had a pretty deep conversation about this like I grew up well now as an adult I have a lot of anxiety stuff weird anxiety and I believe what that’s come from is going up in a household where I felt scared all the time most of the time growing up my household I was scared like walking on pins and needles so now I can still feel that way in social situations that are [ ] completely normal I’m still flustered and hot and all those things right and like with her and I talking about it like one of the things that’s important for us to recognize as a couple is that a lot of times in a situation where her like normal temperament is like a four or a five I’m already at like a seven you know what I mean so when something little comes up like a car cuts us off in traffic or whatever I’m immediately at [ ] 10 and she’s only at like a six right you know so my reaction is very different um so getting to know yourself a little bit you know is very helpful in that too like realizing you know I’m already anxious around lots of people and stuff all the time right you know it doesn’t necessarily mean my boundaries are being crossed or maybe they are and I need to pay attention to that too right but tuning in just to know the difference no that’s important uh number seven stop over committing you are not obliged or indebted to uphold every single social commitment that you have don’t try to please others at your own expense committing too much to other people and circumstances creates stress and burnout learn to say no to non-essential things like work get togethers parties and other social duties that are not life or death yeah I think that’s the thing there was definitely a time early on even in the 12-step social environment it was like oh I gotta be at all these people’s anniversaries just because they’re happening and oh everybody’s going to be at this person’s anniversary I can’t miss it that fear missing out on things and I didn’t need to be at all that [ ] yeah yeah and I’ve I’ve gotten a better balance with that because the other thing happened to me is where I sort of disconnected and blew off all that and then I lost a connection to my 12-step friends and Community I mean what happened is I was close to a couple of people and then a couple of those people one guy moved one guy got divorced and moved and started using again and then another guy moved and it’s like all of a sudden I’m like oh [ ] I don’t have really all my close friends now are gone right and I didn’t have another network of people so I do try to balance some of that stuff in there because some of it I want to do but just not automatically committing to everything right right and and then that’s exactly what I was doing it was just you know everybody’s going to be there or yeah it’s the social thing were they at mine or you know whatever it was it was like trying to show up at all these things just for the purpose of showing up and being seen and not really because I wanted to or needed anything from it or yeah and then sometimes giving myself the freedom to skip things that I might want to do and just saying hey I just taken some you know the damn time no know absolutely that life can get filled up with too many things quick I mean there’s there’s people who want to hang out now and it’s not that I don’t want to hang out with them but after I’ve done soccer in the morning and the afternoon on Saturday and I know we’re recording this Sunday and I probably have a therapy appointment Sunday and there’s football like sometimes I just want to chill at home Saturday night in fact a lot of times and it’s ammo it’s okay to want to do that right right there’s nothing wrong with that I will catch up to people when I catch up to them uh number eight be courageous let go of toxic friendships and relationships takes a certain level of courage to make a commitment to keeping personal boundaries fake friends and flimsy relationships will event inevitably self-destruct and fizzle away this might leave you feeling guilty ashamed or like you’re doing something wrong it is important in these tough times to keep affirming that setting personal boundaries is your fundamental human right you are worth it those who are trying to control use or abuse you will try to stop you but don’t let them hold you back cut away those who are polluting your life and seek out new friendships that are supporting and uplifting that’s a tricky one yeah it’s very tricky well I feel like a lot of times any literature that is pro standing up for yourself or setting boundaries or this that and the other it seems to frame these other people it’s like these easy to find toxic evil terrible people and it’s like that’s not really the case like these people are just trying to live life and find love in a way that is also unhealthy but that doesn’t make them like you guys are part of a toxic relationship because you’re both toxic yeah or everybody’s got some level of toxicity right you know I hate the toxic word that’s right up there with dirty or whatever but it’s yeah there’s some level of unhealthiness and and misaligned attachment going on there that’s created by both people you were both drawn to that right you’re not sticking together because you you know want to use super healthy and the other one just clinging like that one again in a 12-step Fellowship I think we’re encouraged sometimes to maintain those relationships and I don’t know that that’s bad I’m not saying you know we shouldn’t because you know as we talked about I have this friend that’s going through this thing and I’m still going to support him if he calls me [ ] tomorrow and says hey can we get out to a meeting I mean I can’t go tomorrow but and there’s the thing so my son has a baseball game that’s important to me to get go to so if he called and said hey do you want to go to a meeting I would say I can’t go to tomorrow might be able to go Tuesday or my home group’s Wednesday but I mean he’s a toxic person I mean I know another way to say I like the guy he’s a friend of mine I care about him I want to help him you know but I got to have my boundaries like I have my boundaries with him but I’m not willing to cut him out of my life you know he needs some help he needs support I don’t well and and where you have him at at that distance seems kind of like a healthy boundary right because I feel like the unhealthy version is like oh I’d miss my kids game for this guy who keeps drinking right and and I’m not saying that’s wrong either right maybe he does need you that night I have no idea but yeah if I consistently see somebody I hate to even use these words but that doesn’t feel like they’re at the place where they’re able to show up for themselves yet I’m really feel like I’m wasting my time sometimes showing up for them yeah not always right I think there is a level of like when I can I still would like to show up it’s not really wasting my time but yeah I don’t want to you know miss all my kids games for an entire season because I’m trying to get this new guy helped and it’s like well yeah and I have in the past so I am now thinking about that I have had people friends or sponsors sponsor spontees whatever that get angry or upset when you can’t do things with them or don’t have the availability and those people I usually am like oh yeah that’s not me like that’s not the relationship we’re gonna have if that’s what you need you probably need to find someone else you know and maybe that’s what they’re talking about here like cutting those kind of people out of your life like I’m not playing into that you’re mad at me so now the next time I’m gonna show up and drop everything I’m doing you know but it’s taking a while to get there too you gotta learn how it’s okay with me yeah at least around the program you got some boundaries uh number nine last one seek help but not from friends or family if you’re still needing help setting strong personal boundaries chances are that chances are that those around you probably reinforce this Behavior so it’s not a wise idea to seek advice from them however well-intentioned they may be if you need a more in-depth advice and personal assistance I recommend either reading a book such as boundaries when to say yes how to say no by Henry cloud and John Townsend I am not personally recommending the book I’ve never read it or seek the help of a therapist or both and I do recommend that of course this is about being gentle and compassionate I feel like the first thing that happens is the backlash when I’m trying to help somebody set boundaries that they find themselves incapable of doing it in the moment and then they beat themselves up over that and I’m like that was the exact opposite of what we were hoping for you like [ ] it if you can’t you can’t it’s okay all right well we’ll get there we’re working towards it what can we learn from this fact that you couldn’t right was it that you tried to set it in the grocery store and you really need to be setting that having that conversation at home was it the environment was it the person like there’s a lot to be learned from these situations and that’s what I think is our goal yeah and start with small things you know little things that you can do you know but what little things can you do maybe you can can say all right I’m just going to take 10 minutes for myself out of each day to like have a cup of coffee and sit on the back porch and enjoy the moment we’ll start there you know what I mean start with something small and work your way up to some of this bigger stuff and and be prepared for conflicting things you want right you’re gonna have different pieces of you that want different things and a lot of times it is going to be like you said sacrificing something you want to do at times for something else that you need right I need this time to rest my body it’s not that I don’t want to go out I just need the time to rest and it’s it gets tricky man because it’s hard for us I think for people like us maybe for everybody to not do the thing we want and so when we have conflicting once that gets really [ ] tricky for us I get baffled I’m like I don’t know what the [ ] to do I want both of these things I want to be honest to my partner and sleep with other women what the [ ] how do I get through this yeah you know that’s one of those things you will have to probably give up one or the other or find a new way to make that work yeah or negotiate you know some negotiations there I mean maybe that’s counter to what they mean here set your boundaries and hold to them strong but it’s like you know just like today like this podcast is important to me we show up as a commitment I feel like it’s high up on my values listed right not as high up on my wife’s values list and she sometimes gets mad because of the priority that this has for me on my Sunday mornings and that can cause conflict and so usually I’ll get into like a little bit of a negotiation with her or like with you and we’ll see if we can make something work and we usually can it’s usually not a big deal but it’s like I still let her know like I’m not just blowing this off because you have something else you might want to do like this is important to me and this is what I’m doing you know and I’m sorry if you’re mad you know yeah no and and I but see okay and and this is where it gets tricky for partners of people trying to set boundaries right because like I could see where a partner would be like what the [ ] you go out and spend five hours playing golf or you go out and spend five hours talking to your buddy recording this podcast like yes that’s exactly what the [ ] Billy and I need like we need time to talk to our adult buddies yeah and we don’t get that and and whether this podcast was ever successful I think that was our great excuse for having a reason to [ ] get together and talk more and we need that and then you learn usually in your relationship what your partner’s asking for is not specifically for you to blow off the podcast she’s specifically asking for more time and attention yes exactly when you’re paying attention yeah so we’ve gone a little long personal boundaries hugely important I can’t express enough um for me at least the change it’s made in my life to be able to like myself feel able to set some more personal boundaries and and slowly move further and further into this place of like my life looks a lot like what I wanted to there’s not a lot of changes I really feel like have to be made and it’s a the whole idea balance being that move and target of course it’s always going to be a moving Target right I’m never going to hit this end goal of like this is perfect but you know I get closer and closer and closer and life is pretty good and it feels good that way when you’re not constantly dreading all this [ ] you said you do that you don’t want right yeah and even for me my like my boundaries have changed over time like now my kids are a little older they’re a little more independent I have a little more free time so I am willing to give a little more you know to like Fellowship stuff or recovery people if they call and need a ride or want to go to a meeting or whatever but at times when my kids were younger and the demands on my life were higher I wasn’t as willing to do those things right and I think that’s a another thing to consider when we’re talking about that is like your life is going to change so the the moving Target will always be your boundaries can shift and change that suits your situation yeah so go out there and create a personal boundary for yourself that no one will interrupt your recovery sort of podcast listening because that’s highly important and then after that creates the boundaries you need in your life and uh we will see you soon did you like this episode share it with people you think might get something out of it check out the rest of our episodes at recoverysortup.com also while you’re there you can find ways to link up with us on Facebook Twitter Instagram Reddit YouTube anything we’re always looking for new ideas got an idea you want us to look into reach out to us
- 50: Celebrate Recovery – Everything You Wanted to Know (Sort Of)
- 55: Step Eleven – Sought Through Prayer and Meditation To Improve Our Conscious Contact With God As We Understood Him, Praying Only For Knowledge Of His Will For Us and the Power To Carry That Out (Sort Of)
- 48: The Disease Doesn’t Discriminate, But Does Recovery? (Sort Of)
- 53: What Is Relapse and What Can We Do About It? (Sort Of)
- 59: Are You As Openminded As You Think You Are? (Sort Of)
- 49: What The Program’s Really Saying In Its New Informational Pamphlet About Mental Health (Sort Of)