Healthy boundaries are important because they are the limits and rules that we set for ourselves in relationships. A person who has strong boundaries can say no to people when they want to. They are also comfortable opening themselves up in close and intimate relationships. A person with unhealthy boundaries has a hard time saying no. They will agree to things they don’t want to and then resent it. They are quietly put out or they complain. My clinical supervisor said you can picture this person smiling at face value and holding their arm behind their back flipping up their middle finger at someone. This can be termed as passive-aggressive.
Someone who has poor boundaries and has a hard time saying no, typically feels stressed a lot of the time. In my experience, this behaviour is often learned at a young age. Usually, a person has a dominating, perfectionistic, critical, demanding, or abusive parent or another major experience during development. Growing up they may have been praised for being self-sacrificing and/or “good”.
A way to know when its time to set healthy boundaries is to act with your core values in mind. If something goes against your value system, strong boundaries are required. For example, your sibling asks you to make a false statement on their behalf. You know it is dishonest. They are in trouble and don’t take responsibility for their decisions. Strict boundaries are required if it violates your values. They may be honesty, integrity, family or whatever else. Set limits. It is not selfish to say no, especially when it takes too much time, money, and effort or impacts your mental or physical health.
Another way to know when it is time to set healthy boundaries and limits is to listen to your emotions and gut feelings. Also, ask yourself would a boundary preserve your self-respect and respect for others. Would the boundary be better for you in the long run? Is it safe? Does it negatively impact you? Is this something that the person should take responsibility for themselves? Can they do it on their own? Is it ethical? Why should you say yes?
As someone who belongs to the society of nice people and recovering doormats, I know how hard it can be to say no and speak up for yourself, especially in the face of an antagonistic person. It can be very uncomfortable, but it gets easier over time. Two sayings to remember are you need to drive in your own lane and not drive someone else. Let them own their proverbial :poop: Art therapy is an excellent tool to help with boundaries. In the session, I offer coping tools and directive art exercises that help people feel more assertive, authentic, and balanced. Sessions help with validation and building confidence.
For more information on art therapy and how it can help you, contact us today.