i started with recognizing the walls i had long been using in place of boundaries. the places where i was minding other people's business instead of my own and attempting to control the uncontrollable were biggies. it was soooo much easier to fix other people than to fix myself. or so i told myself. ditto for hiding behind walls of denial rather than risking the more fluid, changeable boundaries. the meanest lies in the world are the ones i tell myself.
but that is me and every boundary is different. . .
steadying support while you find what works for you.
If you do not set boundaries with your sufferer they will run you over. That is hell on earth… and as somebody with an anxiety disorder of their own, I can tell you that as hard as it seems, the boundaries are what’s going to save your sanity.
Boundaries are not telling someone else what they can or cannot do, or what you do or do not want them to do, or how you do or do not want them to do something, etc.
You will not do ABC… is not a boundary. At all.
It might be a request, or direction, or a demand, or simple courtesy, but it’s not a boundary.
Now? Think about what you would do of a drunk walks up and starts peeing on you, on the street.
Probably? Jump back! Maybe? shout at them, or push them, or enlist aid. Then? Clean yourself up, etc.
THAT is a boundary. People (dogs, cats, camels, whatever) are not something you tolerate taking a piss on your leg.
What you DO … when someone/something crosses one of your boundaries? Is how you enforce them.
You’re not only going to take action when that boundary is crossed, but if it’s repeatedly crossed? Going to take more action (rather than mooooooove your boundaries; well, it’s okay if you pee on me when I’m on my way home instead of on my way to work. Well, I suppose it’s okay when I’m on my way to work, too. Actually, peeing on me at work is also okay.)
I’m slowly learning about boundaries. For me, the most important realization was that they had more to do with my reactions to behaviours than making rules, so to speak.
An example, I decided that if my husband spoke to me in such a way that affected my own mental health, that I would not engage at that time. I tell him I need a short time to myself, I calm my reaction, and then I re-engage. (Obviously if this need of mine impacted him greatly, we would renegotiate)
Good luck. Boundary work is really hard. My therapist is helping me slowly figure it out.
I had a horrible time trying to set boundaries in my previous relationship and I think if it's hard to nearly impossible to be heard and have boundaries respected, then the relationship is likely abusive and unhealthy. I even got a therapist to help me explain what boundaries were, to clearly define mine, and to state what I would do if the boundaries were crossed (remove myself, not visit, not stay over). My partner would mock me over them, literally saying boundaries in a sarcastic tone and rolling his eyes, and the boundaries I tried to set were a big complaint he had when he dumped me, trying to make out that me having boundaries was abusive and me asking for time and respect and to not be verbally abused, screamed at, and threatened in our home was unreasonable. I guess what I'm saying is that it's impossible to set boundaries when the other person truly does not want to respect you or help you feel safe, secure or better. Boundaries still take two people being mindful and respectful. And the end result of broken boundaries is to remove yourself from the toxic situation, and that's what I struggled with. To me, it was better to suffer sometimes and keep the relationship, and he was aware that I felt that way and so he ran over me.