5224 Olympic Drive, Suite 109, Gig Harbor, WA 98335| (253) 525-2424

Setting Healthy Boundaries


Hi everyone. I’m Kayla, the Millennial Therapist and Owner of Reclaiming Stories Therapy and today I’m going to be talking to you about how to create healthy boundaries. I know it’s one of those hard ones, but it’s an important topic, so let’s get into it. So as usual, I have some notes in front of me to help me go through all the things that I want to get to in this video. So if you see me glancing, that’s why. Um, so first let’s talk about what is a boundary? Some people, most people, I would say have a hard time conceptualizing what that is. So a boundary is a rule, a limit, a guideline, um, that really helps other people understand what behavior is acceptable, um, for them to do around you. So a boundary is very much about you. It’s not, it is about other people, but it’s more about what is comfortable for you.

So it lets other people know what is acceptable for them to do, um, around you and then what are the consequences for them if they are to go across that line, um, that you have set as your boundary line in front of you. I kind of think of boundaries as a bubble, kind of like your personal space bubble, which is a boundary actually. Um, but it’s kind of like this shield or this barrier that you say, this is what I am setting to protect myself and to make myself feel okay and comfortable. Um, and it helps because it lets other people know what that is. It lets other people know what they need to do to help you feel safe and comfortable. Um, and then it also lets them know what the consequences are, if they are to go against what you are saying or cross your boundary.

Um, so if you think of like a trespassing sign that you see in somebody’s property, um, that is a boundary that is telling you, this is not okay to enter onto this person’s property because it’s personal property and there are consequences for going on somebody’s personal property without their permission. Um, just like that is a very physical barrier. It kind of alludes to what we then create as physical and emotional barriers for ourselves, with the people in our lives. So it really defines where you end and where that other person begins. And it helps you decide what types of communication behavior interaction are acceptable. Um, so that’s really what a personal boundary is and looks like. Um, so there’s physical boundaries and, um, emotional boundaries and physical boundaries I think people probably have a little bit more conceptualization of, um, or can think a little bit more clearly around what that is.

Um, because physical means you can actually like touch it or understand that there is a physical thing that you either can or cannot touch. Um, so an example of a physical boundary would be you saying I only like to be hugged. Um, or so we’ll say the premise behind it is you only like to be hugged if you are asked to be hugged, if somebody asks you, can I hug you? So you would say as your boundary, you can only hug me if you ask me and if you don’t ask me, I will tell you to please stop. So that is an example of statement that you could use to set a boundary, um, and to proclaim this is my boundary. Um, so emotional boundaries are a little bit harder to kind of conceptualize and understand, but they hold the same premise. They just look a little bit different because it’s more about emotional feelings and, um, protecting yourself from really being too enmeshed in somebody else’s emotional state.

So it’s keeping again this boundary between you and somebody else, and it’s helping that other person do the same. Um, so an example of an emotional boundary, so I’ll kind of set the tone again, um, maybe you’re in a relationship with somebody who, when you argue, yells and swears a lot, and that makes you feel really uncomfortable and like you just kind of want to shut down and don’t want to engage. So a boundary that you can set, and I’m going to start this with an I statement, um, which is an, I feel a feeling word, um, and then kind of explaining when that happens. So “I feel uncomfortable and like, I want to shut down when we fight and there is yelling and swearing.” Um, and notice that I didn’t put any ‘yous’ in there. It’s just when there is yelling and swearing. So it kind of takes out the other person without actually taking away what the other person is doing.

So that’s just the ‘I feel’ statement so that you can kind of clarify how you’re feeling in that moment. So here’s the boundary. “From now on when yelling and swearing occurs, I will call a timeout and remove myself so that we can both calm down before resuming our conversation.” So that is telling your partner, um, that when this occurs in a fight that I’m going to be the one to call a timeout and I’m going to physically remove myself so that we both have a chance to calm down and then can resume the conversation when we’re at a better place to have a more rational conversation. So that’s an example of that type of a boundary.

Um, so why is it important to set boundaries? Um, there are four reasons that I have. Um, so one is to practice self care and self respect. I think it’s really important that we know that we have to value ourselves first before other people can value us too. Even if they say that they love us, there are a lot of people, myself included that have family or friends that will do things that you’re not comfortable with. And it’s not necessarily because they are doing it to like manipulate you or to harm you. Sometimes there are people like that, but most of the time, it’s just because people don’t know, they don’t know that that is something that you don’t like because we don’t actually voice it. So in order to have self care and self respect, we have to be the ones to stand up and say, “Hey, this is important to me. And I’m going to say, this is what I’m going to do if this thing doesn’t happen.” Um, and that is an important detail. It has to be something that you do to, um, hold the boundary in place, not something that you are asking the other person to do. So remember that. Um, okay.

The second thing of why it’s important to set boundaries is to communicate your needs in a relationship. So just like I was talking about in that example of talking about what you need, when it comes to, um, emotional safety in a conflict situation, um, it’s important for you to express that to a partner and say, “this is what I need to feel safe and to not feel like I’m going to pull away from you, um, when we’re having this type of conversation.” So it’s important for you to state those things that need. Um, the third is to make time and space for positive interactions. So that’s always important. We always need time and space for positive interactions. And, um, if we end up building resentment or building anger, um, between us and somebody else, because we didn’t set those boundaries and we constantly have somebody walking all over us or doing something that we don’t appreciate, then it’s going again to build up our resentment and not see this relationship or that person in a positive light.

So it’s opening up the space for there to be positivity and to, um, enjoy that relationship more because you know, that there’s a safety that they are going to respect what you need. Um, the fourth one is to set limits in our relationship in a way that is healthy. So again, it’s just, it’s allowing the other person to know what is important to you and what you need to feel safe and secure and comfortable. And it’s important for the other person to do the same. So you know how to do that for your partner as well. And then again, it opens up space to have positivity and enjoyment and comfortability and safety. So why are boundaries really hard too… Usually the setting isn’t always the hard part, although it can be. And especially if you have historically not set boundaries and then you’re now trying to retroactively set them, that can be really hard, but I think it’s the holding the boundary that is really the hardest part for people.

So, um, most of the time we have a hard time holding or setting boundaries for fear of rejection and ultimately abandonment. That we think if we set this boundary, that somebody is just going to get upset and reject us or leave us because we kind of set this thing in stone saying, this is what I’m going to do. Um, and that can be scary. Um, a fear of confrontation. This is my fear that I have in setting boundaries, that I am a people pleaser. And it is really hard for me to ruffle somebody else’s feathers by saying, this is what I need, but that’s important. It’s really, really important to continue to set boundaries, even when it’s hard to do. And even when somebody is going to potentially get upset, um, this kind of feeds into the next one, which is guilt, that a lot of people feel guilty.

They feel like they’re setting an ultimatum, which sometimes it is an ultimatum and that’s okay. Ultimatums are not inherently bad. They are necessary sometimes. Um, you know, the big monogamous ultimatum is, and this doesn’t always happen again. This is a boundary that probably half the time, I don’t know the actual percentage, but half the time isn’t actually held, um, is if you cheat on me, I will leave you, or this relationship is over. So I say the caveat because there’s a lot of people that deal with infidelity that still stay together and that’s great. And I actually help people with that. Um, but you know, that’s the big like ultimatum that we have in monogamous relationships. Um, and so it’s important to say these things, even if it means if this person doesn’t adhere to that, but it means that end of that relationship and that’s OK.

Um, another reason that we have a hard time with boundary setting is we aren’t taught healthy boundaries. A lot of us come from families that don’t teach healthy boundaries. So it makes it hard to set boundaries when we’re not taught how to do that. And then safety concerns. Um, sometimes it’s hard to set boundaries when you are in an unsafe relationship. And if you are in an unsafe relationship most of the time, or I guess some of the time, I, it really depends on the situation, but, um, if you were in an unsafe relationship setting, boundaries may not be the best thing to do because that might put you in even more unsafe position. Um, and boundary setting is helpful when you have people that for the most part would be receptive to that and love and care about you and want to abide by what you want to need. Um, in unsafe, abusive relationships that’s not the premise of the relationship. That relationship is a power over relationship. And so if you are experiencing that, please come talk to a therapist or somebody that you trust, um, to get you help with that. Um, okay.

Tips for setting boundaries. I’m going to try to go through this fast, cause I think that’s, video’s already getting along. Um, so I’m just going to preface that a lot of my information came from a PDF that I have. Um, and a lot of the information is modified from a book that is called “Boundaries: Where You End and I Began” by Anne Katherine. So just want to put that out there to say that not all of this is from my own brain. Um, so tips for setting boundaries or healthy boundaries.

Number one, if you are feeling resentful, angry, or you’re kind of complaining that life isn’t going the way that you are wanting it to, that is probably an indication that you need to set a boundary. So I deal with this a lot with my clients that have historically not set boundaries and now are in situations where they really need to set a boundary. And it’s really hard to do that because they’ve built up this history of not setting a boundary. So check in with yourself and think of boundary setting is almost a gut check of looking at yourself and almost seeing like your gut instinct as a compass. And if something is telling you, you don’t want to do something your, compass is saying no, and it’s okay for you to say no to something. Um, that’s also setting healthy boundaries for yourself is saying, no. If somebody asks you to do something and you don’t feel comfortable doing that, or it’s infringing on something that you wanted to do, like maybe you set out an hour in the morning to do exercise because that’s important for your self-care.

Um, and a spouse says, “Uh, can you, you know, do the dishes at this time, or can you pick up the kids at this time or whatever.” Um, and it’s during that time that you have set out for yourself, you know, it’s okay to say no, like that’s my time that I carved out for myself. Can I do it after that? Or can I do it before that? Um, so it’s really important for you to kind of look at your gut as a compass and understand that what you feel like you want to say yes to your, what you feel like you want to say no to…that’s important to listen to and when we go against that, that’s usually when we’re crossing our own boundaries. So remember that.

Um number two is when you do identify the need to set a boundary, do it clearly calmly, firmly, respectfully, and in, as in as few words as possible. So make it really clear, cut, concise, um, but respectful and kind as much as possible. Kind of like I was saying in the previous examples, if you can do it in a way that is taking the other person out of it and really just owning your own feelings first, and then stating when this happens, this is what I’m going to do. Then it shows the other person, this is what you’re doing to make yourself feel comfortable and help you feel okay. And there part of it is to respect that. And if they don’t respect that, then that’s when that consequence has to come into play. Okay.

Number three, don’t justify your boundary. Don’t get angry or apologize for the boundary you’re setting. It’s not your, um, responsibility to take care of the other person’s feelings. That if they get upset, unfortunately, that is their problem. That they have to be the ones to work through that and to come to an understanding of, you know, either I’m going to respect this boundary for this person, or I’m not. And then that’s where you have to be the one to stand firm and have the consequences be what going they’re to be if that person doesn’t respect that boundary. And again, I think that’s where a lot of people get into, um, into trouble, I guess with boundary setting is, you know, they state a boundary and then maybe the person is like, “Yeah. Okay. Okay.” And then they just ended up doing exactly what they were doing before, which crosses your boundary. And instead of doing what you said you would do when that boundary was crossed, you just kinda like, let it go and shake it off. And it’s like, “Well, they’re trying, and hopefully they’ll do it better next time.”

Um, you have to embody those boundaries and you have to be the one to regulate them and to, um, hold them in place when you need to, when people are going to push back on that. Um, and that is another tip is that plan on people pushing back on it, especially in relationships and especially like in a situation where maybe you haven’t set boundaries historically. It’s going to take time and that’s okay, it’s a process. Um, but that’s why you really have to hold the boundaries and put the consequences into place. If those boundaries aren’t respected, because it might take your spouse or family members or whoever you’re setting the boundaries with. Um, it might take them a little bit to recalibrate to you actually setting a boundary. That they’re used to this dynamic that you have created of not setting boundaries and so it’s going to take time for them to get used to you actually setting boundaries and holding your boundaries.

Um, so plan on that. Um, the next one is, uh, remember again that your behavior has to match your boundaries. So making sure that you’re holding them and staying firm and true to what you want so that other people can recalibrate and understand that they need to respect your boundaries. Um, the next one is you might feel selfish. You might feel guilty or embarrassed when you set a boundary, but do it anyway. It’s, you know, really important going back to those reasons why we have a hard time setting boundaries, that a lot of times we just have to do it anyway. Um, and know that it’s important for us to have self-care and self-respect and it takes practice and it’s a process and that’s okay. Um, but we really can’t let our fears and anxiety dictate what we do, because then we’re going to be living a life of resentment and feeling like we’re being walked all over.

Um, the next one is learning to set boundaries, takes time, and it’s a process just like I said. Um, so do it in your own timeframe and don’t let anybody push you or tell you when to do it. Um, and again, even if you’re doing it retroactively, um, even when historically you haven’t set boundaries, do it anyway. Um, the last tip is develop a support system of people who respect you and want to help support you, um, in setting boundaries and cut out all the toxic people from your life, because you don’t need that. You don’t need that energy and the people that are just going to manipulate and abuse you, or try to control you. They don’t deserve you. They don’t deserve to be in your life. So unfortunately, sometimes we do have to cut off those people. And sometimes those people, our own family members or our friends, and that’s really hard.

That is just, it’s really hard sometimes when they are family and you feel this need to still try to have a relationship with them, but if they aren’t going to respect you in that way, sometimes it is best to cut them off. So that is all about boundaries. I’m sure this video, it was crazy long. Um, but that’s okay. It’s important to know all this information. Um, if you want to learn more about boundaries and boundary setting or to work through that in your own situation, um, please contact me. You can find me, um, at my, or on my website, which is reclaimingstoriestherapy.com. Um, you can also find me on Facebook and Instagram @reclaimingstoriestherapy. And then my YouTube channel is The Millennial Therapists – RS for Reclaiming Stories. Um, and that’s all I got for you today. So I hope that was helpful and useful. I hope you can go set those boundaries and take care of yourself. Um, and I will see you in my next video. All right. Take care. Bye.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5224 Olympic Drive, Suite 109
Gig Harbor, WA 98335

(253) 525-2424

Got Questions?
Send a Message!

By submitting this form via this web portal, you acknowledge and accept the risks of communicating your health information via this unencrypted email and electronic messaging and wish to continue despite those risks. By clicking "Yes, I want to submit this form" you agree to hold Brighter Vision harmless for unauthorized use, disclosure, or access of your protected health information sent via this electronic means.