Resetting Boundaries in RelationshipsAug 02, 2023
Do you need a reset on boundaries with loved ones? It’s common for boundary issues to creep into even close relationships over time, even when you may have initially set some boundaries, as those boundaries may have eroded over time. Resetting boundaries requires courage and care, but it can improve your connections.
Beware Reactive Boundary Setting
When pent-up resentment about past boundary violations reaches a boiling point, it’s tempting to reactively distance yourself from the relationship. But abruptly fleeing or cutting off contact doesn’t allow the other person to understand and address issues. And it deprives you of a chance to assert yourself within the relationship.
Have Courage to Work Through It
The brave approach is broaching boundary problems directly with the other person. Yes, conversations about boundaries are uncomfortable! But avoiding direct communication allows problems to fester. Have courage to voice your feelings constructively. Chances are, the other person will at least partially understand.
Follow a Process
Don’t just threaten to end things. Establish boundaries in a gradual, step-by-step manner:
- First express your feelings and needs clearly
- If needed, impose physical boundaries like taking space
- Give choices and consequences for behavior change
- Involve third parties like therapists if you’re stuck
Preserve the Relationship
The goal is to preserve relationships while protecting yourself. Unless dealing with severe toxicity or abuse, you owe it to the history you share to try resolving issues first. Assume good intent and approach resetting boundaries as an opportunity for growth. With mutual effort, you can improve the relationship.
Hitting reset on boundaries requires guts and patience. Avoid quick exits. Instead, have the courage for difficult conversations required to assert your needs while preserving ties. Following a process focused on understanding and compromise leads to the healthiest relational outcomes.