Do you struggle to speak up for yourself, fearing other people will label you as a bully? Have you ever felt that people in your life walk all over you or ask too much of you, without giving you anything in return?
If you have trouble with issues such as overcommitment, lack of assertiveness and peer pressure, it’s likely due to your failure to set boundaries. These limits benefit you by allowing you to define what does and doesn’t constitute acceptable behavior. Learning to create and maintain boundaries will enhance your life in various ways, while improving your relationships with others.
Examples of Poor Boundaries
If you never set boundaries, you may end up playing the victim or martyr role in your relationships. A lack of clearly defined boundaries can also result in codependency, which is a type of lopsided or destructive relationship that doesn’t benefit either partner.
In some cases, poor boundaries stem from a lack of self-worth or feelings of inadequacy. Often, a vicious cycle emerges where it’s nearly impossible to tell which came first – insufficient boundaries or chronic self-doubt.
You may have poor boundaries if you often:
- Say yes out of a desire to please, even when you’d prefer to say no
- Feel guilty when you set aside time for self-care
- Fail to speak up for yourself when people treat you badly or make you uncomfortable
- Overcommit to personal and professional responsibilities
- Go out of your way to avoid conflict
- Constantly worry about what other people think of you
- Let others encroach upon your time or energy
- Make sacrifices at the expense of your happiness
- Believe being overly agreeable and easygoing is the only way to earn others’ respect
Boundaries are an essential part of maintaining healthy relationships – especially in addiction recovery, where you will find yourself needing to rebuild many of the relationships eroded by your erratic, self-destructive behavior. Your first step in learning how to set boundaries is to get in touch with yourself. In doing so, you can understand what you need to be happy and how to speak up for yourself without feeling guilty.
If you’re finding it difficult to set and maintain boundaries, ask your therapist to suggest strategies for strengthening your relationships. You can also practice boundary-setting skills with your friends and family, agreeing on shared goals and holding each other accountable.
Once you’ve implemented boundaries, maintain their effectiveness by pointing out when someone oversteps the line. Politely tell the other person what is bothering you, so you can take proactive steps to make progress together. While being assertive and protecting your boundaries might offend some people, chances are that you’ll earn more respect among your family and peers when you stick up for yourself.
Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment
At Spearhead Lodge, we are dedicated to one goal – equipping young men with the skills and confidence necessary to overcome the disease of addiction. We’re here to provide world-class treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Take the first step toward your brighter future by contacting us today.