10 Things to Help You Take Steps to Address Trauma

Uncategorized Oct 29, 2017

War. Terrorism. Abuse. In today’s world, feeling secure is an elusive goal. It seems that, at least of late, there is a new reason for fear almost daily. And with all the information that is available to us so quickly, if we want more scary things, we can all too easily find them on the television or the internet. The unsettling realities seem to be much easier to find these days than the free and easy existence we knew before terrorism hit America.

So, at least for now, fear has become part of the American tapestry. And with some of these realities, some fear is an appropriate response. Fear is not always a bad thing, for it can motivate us to protect ourselves. It is the fact that we fear another attack that has moved the nation to make airports more secure, speed up investigations of terrorist networks, and protect our vital interests. If we were not afraid, we would not take those steps and would be much more vulnerable. So, fear that protects us is very important and very...

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It's Not Selfish to Set Boundaries

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2017

I get this a lot from different people I talk to: Why do I need boundaries, and aren’t they selfish?

You were created to be free and act responsibility with the freedom you were given. You’re meant to have control of yourself and your decisions, and to have a good existence. But as we all know, we have formed habits to misuse our freedom, and as a result, have lost it. With the loss of freedom came the loss of self-control, and the results of losing self-control have been experienced in a wide variety of miseries, such as:

Controlling relationships where people try to control each other.
Faith that is practiced out of guilt and drudgery instead of freedom and love.
Being motivated by guilt, anger and fear instead of love.
The inability to gain control of our own behavior and solve problems in our lives.
The loss of control to addictive processes.

These are to name just a few. It is no wonder why the need for Boundaries is felt so deeply.

So aren’t boundaries selfish?

...

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How to Tell if Your Relationship is a Waste of Time

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2017

Laura had been in a relationship with Jason for about four years. Her biggest complaint was that he took her for granted and did not make her a priority. He was a nice guy, but too self-centered to make a relationship work. Over and over again, he would leave her feeling ignored and unimportant. She had broken up with him several times, missed him, reunited, and nothing had changed. She would break up with him again and then a few months later would run into him and, with the pain gone, begin to enjoy all the good things about him and want to try again.

They would both talk about how they had been foolish to break up with so much good in their relationship, how they really loved each other, and how they truly should be together. “I was wrong to leave. I miss you and want to be with you again,” would be their mutual feeling. So they would get back together and do it again.

So what’s wrong with that? Everything. But please understand something: I am not saying that...

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Don’t Let Toxic Family Members Shame You into Compliance

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2017

Holly was one of the angriest women I had ever seen in my office. She was angry at her family’s excessive expectations of her. Her mother expected her to call her every week and to accompany her on shopping trips. If there was a family function, Holly had to be there. Her father expected her to come home for Sunday dinner. Her brother expected her to come to all of his sporting events.

And if she didn’t, Holly’s family shamed her into submission.

I agreed with Holly that her family’s expectations were extreme, but when I suggested that her family wasn’t going to change and that she had to free herself from their expectations by changing her attitude, she became angry with me. She felt that if I didn’t see her as a victim, I didn’t care. I assured her that while she had indeed been victimized growing up, she had to stop allowing herself to be victimized by freeing herself from both her family’s expectations and her expectations of them....

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When Someone is Angry at Your Boundaries, it’s Their Problem, Not Yours

Uncategorized Oct 27, 2017

When you establish a new boundary with someone else, the most common form of resistance one gets is anger. People who get angry at others for setting boundaries have a character problem. Self-centered, they think the world exists for them and their comfort. They see others as extensions of themselves.

When they hear the word “no,” they have the same reaction a two-year-old has when deprived of something: “Bad Mommy!” They feel as though the one who deprives them of their wishes is “bad,” and they become angry. They are not righteously angry at a real offense. Nothing has been done “to them” at all. Someone will not do something “for them.” Their wish is being frustrated, and they get angry because they have not learned to delay gratification or to respect others’ freedom.

The angry person has a character problem. If you reinforce this character problem, it will return tomorrow and the next day in other situations. It...

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How to Set Boundaries with a Hostile Spouse

Uncategorized Oct 26, 2017

 

Amy and Blake had been married for eight years, and they loved each other. However, when he was angry or upset, Blake became moody and would withdraw from Amy and the kids, except for occasional outbursts of anger. When his manufacturing business was struggling, he would sit silently through dinner. Once, during this period, the children were arguing at the dinner table. Out of the blue, Blake said, “Amy, can’t you keep control of the kids? I can’t even have a quiet meal in my own home!” And with that, he stormed out of the kitchen into his home office, turned on the computer, and stayed there until the kids went to bed.

Amy was hurt and confused. But she had a pattern of “handling” Blake’s moods. She would try to cheer him up by being positive, encouraging, and compliant. “He has a hard job,” Amy would think. “Nurturance is what he needs.” And for the next few hours, and sometimes days, she would center the...

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Why you end up giving more of yourself than you’re comfortable with

Uncategorized Oct 22, 2017

Megan was a sweet woman that I worked with in another setting many years ago. I walked into her office one day and asked how she was doing. Immediately her eyes welled up with tears, and she began crying. At first she tried to hide it, but then she spilled her guts. She was feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work that she had to do, fearing that she would never get it all done.

Although I was not her direct supervisor, I knew what her responsibilities were and it did not seem to me that they were past her abilities. I could not understand the reason why she was cracking. So, I told her that. Then she revealed more. It was not her work that was killing her, it was the work of one of her co-workers. It seemed that this person was always asking her for little favors, “could you drop this project off for me?” or “can you finish these proofs for me and get them to the printer’s?” And being the “sweet Megan” that she was, she always said...

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The person who needs something is less likely to ask. Here’s why.

Uncategorized Oct 20, 2017

Have you ever heard yourself say, "Whatever possessed me to say yes to this in the first place? Why didn't I just say no?" Or, after negotiating a deal, have you ever thought, "Why didn't I ask for ___? I could kick myself!" Chances are, you're not alone, but if it happens, it poses a problem. It reveals that sometimes you and your words are not on the same page.

You desire one outcome, but your words take you to a different one.

Do you catch yourself responding to requests with, "I don't think I can _______" instead of saying, "No, I cannot do that," leaving the door open for them to push back?

When I say you have a relationship to words, that may be an idea you have never thought about. But what we find is that in the depths of people's souls – where true behavior and its resulting success or chaos originates – there is a relationship with certain words. The nature of that relationship dictates a lot of what happens in people's lives. If the relationship is good and...

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When Your Boundaries are Violated Through Abuse

Uncategorized Oct 19, 2017

It’s rarely good when boundaries are in the news, and the past several months been no exception. Stories have been coming out, a trickle at first, and then an avalanche, of men who have abused their power, violating the boundaries and dignity of women in Hollywood, in Silicon Valley, and beyond. Of course we know that these stories are not limited to celebrities and executives.

These events have inspired a wave of discussions across social media platforms. Many women have updated their Facebook status with the phrase ‘Me too,’ to express solidarity with other victims of sexual assault and harassment. Perhaps you, like many others, have felt emotionally triggered by this conversation, provoking painful emotional responses you didn’t expect to feel.

You know that establishing boundaries for yourself is difficult, especially if you were abused in some the past. No one who hasn’t experienced this victimization can truly understand what you’ve been...

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Welcome to Boundaries.me

Uncategorized Oct 16, 2017

When I wrote Boundaries with my friend John Townsend 25 years ago, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We had a hunch that there was a thing that could maybe help a lot of people, but had no idea what it would become.

We had written a book called Changes That Heal, and in that book, there was a short section on personal Boundaries.

After Changes That Heal came out, we would go out and speak with groups of people about the book. Usually, there would be a q&a afterward, or some sort of meet & greet event.

No one wanted to talk about anything but boundaries. Seriously. This small section of Changes That Heal was all anyone wanted to talk about. So, we decided to write another book, this time, focusing on Boundaries, so we could address the issues that people were asking us about and have something to point people to when they asked us about boundaries... you know, so we could move on to talking about other subjects.

Little did we know! That was not going to...

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