I’ve been reading a book, Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I’m not sure if I agree with all of their religious viewpoints (just a warning, for those of you who are liberal-minded), but I find the book useful, nonetheless. What inspired this post was a section in the book that talked about people who have trouble setting boundaries (raises hand!). I thought I had blogged about it on here more than I have, but when I did a search for BOUNDARIES, this is the only post that came up.

As I mentioned in that post, my friends are often talking to me about setting boundaries. I don’t even think I was aware of my lack of boundary-setting until I was going through my divorce. It is so hard to see what is in front of us! I tend to be a people pleaser, which now I am working very hard on finding my voice and trying to vocalize when I don’t like something, without losing my temper or coming across unkind. None of this is easy to do, and it does not come naturally for me.

But back to the book, so when I read the following quote, I had a huge A-ha moment:

People who have trouble with boundaries may exhibit the following symptoms: blaming others, codependency, depression, difficulties with being alone, disorganization with lack of direction, extreme dependency, feelings of being let down, feelings of obligation, generalized anxiety, identity confusion, impulsiveness, inability to say no, isolation, masochism, overresponsibility and guilt, panic, passive-aggressive behavior, procrastination and inability to follow through, resentment, substance abuse and eating disorders, thought problems and obsessive-compulsive problems, underresponsibility, and victim mentality.

Wow, so that is quite a list, right? The authors do not mean that someone who has difficulty setting boundaries will have all these problems. I highlighted the ones in bold print that have known to plague me at one time or another in my life. But I wonder how many of us knew that having trouble setting boundaries could lead to so many problems. Most of us think of it as being an issue, of course, but more like: You let people walk all over you. You can never say no, and you do too much.

But it is much more serious than this! Many of the symptoms above can lead to death if they are not treated.

This quote has had me thinking for days. It’s why I feel called to blog about this.

  1. It is very important to teach our children how to set boundaries, how to respect others’ boundaries, and what to do when someone constantly pushes your boundaries or doesn’t respect them.
  2. I need to set boundaries and figure out what my consequences are for someone in my life who will not accept my boundaries.
  3. When I set a boundary, I need to be clear and firm, but loving and kind. It is possible to do both.
  4. It does not make me a bad person to set a boundary. People will still like me. They may even like me more.

If you are good at setting boundaries, congratulations! Please teach us in the comments how you learned to do it. If you have questions or want to discuss, so do I. Any tips or questions anyone has, please share.

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