So we all have that person in our life that makes us crazy yet we keep around. This may be because they are family. This may be because overall we enjoy their company. This may be because we would feel too guilty to cut them out. But what happens when we decide we need to change our boundaries? What are our options, how do we do it, and what happens?
- Have a talk with them and see if they can understand where you are coming from and are willing to make any behavior changes on their own
- Yell, shame, and humiliate them to try to force a behavior change
- Do NOT have the talk with them and simply ignore the behavior(s) that are bugging you
- Go no contact at all
- Adjust your own thinking in regards to who they are and why the behave the way they do
Now, the next part is, how do you do it? How do you implement change like this in a relationship? There is no magic trick here, but there are two parts to it. First, you have to decide that the change is important enough for you to do it. Then, quite frankly, you do it. Remember, being in a place of ambivalence is the most uncomfortable place to be. So getting off the fence and moving in one direction or the other is necessary to alleviate some of that discomfort.
And then lastly, what happens when we do it? What happens when we make the change? Will it work? Will it fix the problem? The answer here is complicated.
Sometimes what happens is that when someone starts to make changes to better themselves and their circumstances, people will get mad. They may take on the “who do you think you are” attitude. The reason for this is twofold. If you are changing, does that mean that maybe they need to change too? People often don’t like that, they don’t like being shown by example that there are alternatives. Because change is hard. And people are often very lazy.
Sometimes, if you change and start moving toward new goals, others may feel like they are being left behind. And that makes them sad. They love you and want you around and if you start doing better for yourself, you may be less present in their lives. And that’s no fun for them. They typically don’t mean to be mean about it, but they would prefer you stay. So they act in a way that may convince you that the changes aren’t worth it. Or that you aren’t worth the new and better things that you are moving towards. But I’m here to tell you that you are. You are most certainly worth it! You, yes YOU!
What’s most important in regard to making changes and setting new boundaries is that you do it. You commit to the change, you establish appropriate boundaries that work for you, and then you determine appropriate consequences that you can stick with.
Boundary setting isn’t about getting someone else’s needs met. It’s about your needs. Your wants. Nobody else’s.
And you, yes YOU deserve to set appropriate and healthy boundaries. And you, yes YOU have the power to do this!