Setting Boundaries

Old 12-17-2013, 01:26 AM
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Setting Boundaries

This is my current work in progress and topic of interest- boundaries. The more I practice setting boundaries- the stronger my sense of self becomes. I am clearer about what I need, what I want, and what I hope for. I am also more able to hear others without crossing their boundaries by trying to fix, change, or control people or situations- which I really do not want to do (anymore). I found an interesting article posted years ago on the FFA forum about setting boundaries I thought I would share here-

Setting Personal Boundaries - protecting self

Anyone else have any thoughts about boundaries in relationship to codependency, addiction, and relationships?
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:41 AM
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Thank you for posting this! I think its easy to forget that setting boundaries really has to do with ourselves..... and not to do with others.

We protect ourselves in many other ways. We lock our doors, we stop and go to sleep, we may cut down sweets. ....why shouldnt setting our personal boundaries be just as important?

So easy to forget this.... thank you for posting it! We need to think of ourselves during the holidays too!
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:00 AM
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I have a problem with some of the article...for example:

Judgment is saying, "that person is a jerk." Observation is saying, "that person seems to be really full of anger and it would be better for me to not be involved with them."
I don't think "rephrasing" something makes it cease being a fact to me the second statement come of as condescending and holier than thou which to me is even worse than least the first statement was honest, the second was hiding behind a wall of "observation" to try to make the person making the statement feel better about themselves in deeming themselves less judgmental.

It's sort of like when someone says "before I was recovered I used to feel like you..." the subtext of this to me is "I am recovered and you are not and I know more than you..."

That's just me....I agree with the boundary part in saying to oneself "that person is not healthy for me"...perhaps for me the thought would be "right now I am unable to be around this person because I am taking their "anger" inventory."

(This could all be coming from me growing up with an NPD mother where judgements and insults were always disguised in flowery words as "caring" and "non-judgement").

PS - I do like most of the article but that statement above in particular really rubbed me the wrong way.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:21 AM
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Regarding judgment versus observation, my take is that the second is more useful because it is more specific. A person can be a jerk for many reasons. By focusing on the anger, it helps the observer to define what behavior is causing trouble for them.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:39 AM
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Judging the person vs observing their behavior.

With the power of observation I'm better able to utilize the gift of discernment.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:46 AM
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The observation is still a judgement for me (the rephrased wording doesn't change it for me)...I've been on the receiving end of such observations and I know how it makes the other person feel (it feels controlling and condescending). When I went to therapy regarding my NPD mother this was a huge topic and issue and something that had hurt me in childhood to the point it continued to affect me as an adult. It's just something I never want to do myself. My boundary is to not be around anyone who makes observations or judgements of me - or tries to control/influence me without my consent... On my end I do my best not to judge or place an observation on others.

In my experience it is very easy for me to tell when a judgement is shrouded as a nice observation (some may not be but many are)....if someone felt the need to make such an observation about me I really would prefer they step out of my life. They are doing me no favors by staying around me at all and I personally wouldn't want them back in my life once they judged me.

Everyone has their own take but that's mine and it took me a lot of therapy to get to the point where I don't accept that behavior towards me anymore.
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:16 PM
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Aeryn, there is a difference between making an observation to oneself for one's own use and voicing an observation/judgment to someone else. In the first instance, you are discovering a useful data point that will help you make better choices in the future. In the second, you may be trying to influence someone else's behavior.

Setting boundaries is something we do for ourselves. Making observations about someone's behavior is a necessary part of the process. When we know what behaviors are toxic for us, we can take steps to eliminate them.

You have set a boundary not to accept someone else's judgment of you. This is reasonable. You are judging this behavior to be detrimental to your wellbeing. Judging a distinct behavior is much more useful than a blanket condemnation, such as "He is a jerk". Setting a boundary with your mother to not allow her to judge you may allow you to continue to have a relationship with her that is more healthy in spite of her NPD.
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:14 PM
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i think there is a difference between making a judgement and being judgmental.

for example...i am walking in the woods. i see a grizzly bear. i make a judgement about the bear regarding MY OWN SAFETY - live grizzly bear roaming free and near me - BAD THING. then i struggle to remember what the RULES are about confronting don't run? climb tree? freeze? roll in teeny tiny ball? poop pants? turns out the RULES are very important and you need to know your "bear" - funny how many of these RULES can relate to addict or otherwise detrimental to our health humans.

Step 1 - Avoid Close Encounters.

Step 2 - Keep your distance.

Step 3 - Stand tall, even if the bear charges you. If the bear sees you and is closer than 300 feet, or if the bear is approaching you, remain calm and try to look as large as possible. Stand your ground and try not to look frightened. Try to back away slowly—do not run—and speak softly. If the bear continues to approach as you back away, stop and stand your ground. Speak more loudly in a deep, calm voice, and wave you arms to make yourself look bigger. Keep an eye on the bear, but avoid direct eye contact, this can be interpreted as a challenge by the bear. Do not be aggressive, but do not crouch down, play dead or otherwise show fear or vulnerability. If the bear charges you, muster all your courage and stay where you are: the charge is most likely a bluff, and if you stand your ground the bear will turn away.

Step 4 - Know your bear.

Step 5 - Understand the bear's motivations. our response to an attack should be shaped by the bear’s motivations. First, if a bear appears to be stalking you (disappearing and reappearing, for example), or if a bear attacks at night, it most likely sees you as food, and any attack will be predatory. If you surprise a bear on the trail, if the bear has cubs, or if the bear is eating from or protecting a carcass, the bear will most likely be acting in self-defense. (food/predatory, wanting cash, a ride, items of worth, feed the ego. Self Defense - protecting the stash, the right to use, rationalizing behaviors such as irresponsibility and abuse).

Step 6 - Respond appropriately based on the situation:

Black bears - fight off ANY attack.
Polar/Grizzly - non predatory attack, play dead.
Polar/Grizzly - predatory attack, fight back. use sticks, rocks, whatever handy. you are trying to TELL the bear you are not food.

Step 7 - Consider last minute escape techniques: there's a good reason why these are considered last ditch efforts!!!

Climb a tree only under the right circumstances. Black bears are adept climbers, so climbing a tree will do you no good with one of them. Grizzlies, too, can climb a little, and they can reach up to 12 feet into the tree from the ground. Only consider climbing a tree if you encounter a grizzly and you are confident you can make it well up (at least 15 feet, but preferably 30 feet) into a sturdy tree by the time the bear reaches you. Bears are incredibly fast (black bears and grizzlies can run as fast as a horse, about 50 km/h), so do not try to race a bear to a tree—you will lose. This approach is usually only viable if you are right next to the tree, and you’re a good climber.

Sidestep advances if they're closing in within a relatively short distance (<8 feet). Bears and other 4 legged animals have a wider center of gravity, and hence can't make turns quite as sharp as you or me. Don't just run in circles however, but if engaged in an open area (plains or field), do not run directly away from the bear as they're generally faster. Move left and right where applicable to force the bear to change direction. Do not abuse the bear, however, as it drains vital energy.

Notice that if Step One is adhered to, much the same as NO Contact, none of the other steps become necessary. it is only when we become further engaged, much too close, that we are in danger and must apply further steps. Remaining Calm and Standing One's Ground are VITAL. Understanding the opponent's motives gives us more options. Regardless of our initial impulse, our hope for survival is based on Responding Appropriately to the Situation.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:51 PM
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Thanks everyone for starting the discussion about boundaries. I agree that judgement of behavior is necessary to be able to discern how to survive in the world. Judgement of people through character assassination such as gossip, name-calling, blaming, and shaming do not help anyone and only hurt us. We have the right to set our own boundaries and we also have a responsibility to respect others boundaries. When our lack of boundaries meets someone else's lack of boundaries it is a free for all as often seen on this forum with the relationship difficulties we have all experienced. There is no room for shame or self-righteousness in recovery, both of which I have experienced and handed out. My relationships with self and others has suffered as a result of codependent boundaries- aka doormat. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don't say it mean.
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