Honoring vs. Obeying - How to Set the Boundary With Your Parents

Uncategorized Sep 29, 2020

Ben was 30 years old when I met him. He came into my office burdened by the opinions of what his parents thought of his life choices. It sounds crass on the surface, but one of the first things I told him to do was to “grow up and get a life.” But the problem with this common phrase is that there is great difficulty in the process, so let’s look at both sides: growing up and getting a life.

Your symptom, feeling like you give too much weight to your parents’ opinion, is a sign that some growing up has not happened. And while you feel like you always have to honor your parents, you don’t always have to obey them. If you’re still in the child position, then that is getting in the way of how you were meant to live your life. So, we have to look at two reasons for still remaining in the child position: not growing up, and not having a life.

Some people stay in the child position with parents because they are either unable to “grow up,” or...

Continue Reading...

The Reason Your Dating Life isn't Going Well

Uncategorized Sep 28, 2020

Single life is a mixed bag for many of us. Some people like to be unattached and play the field, while others just want to curl up with someone and binge watch TV shows on Netflix.

If you're unhappily single, I've got something to tell you. A friend of mine and her husband seem like a perfect match. I asked them how they met.

"It was a miracle," she said. "There is no logical way we should have ever ended up together."

"Why is that?" I asked.

"We were completely different people when we met, randomly, at a party. I was a young girl who liked to have a good time. He was a bit older than me and wanting to settle down. I was not a churchgoing person, but religion was a big part of his life. In all honesty, he was really the type of person I was trying to get away from. Imagine my surprise when he asked me out."

"Well, why would you go out with him if you were so different?" I inquired. "And how did you guys get from there to married for 10 years with three children?"

"I have a...

Continue Reading...

Have Trouble Enforcing Your Boundaries? Here’s How You Do It.

Uncategorized Sep 28, 2020

Wouldn’t it be nice if, when we confronted someone, it ended positively each time? Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you confronted a hurtful person, he or she realized what they did wrong, and you could go on? Of course it would.

That’s not always the case, is it. So, now what do you do? You’ve established your personal boundaries, and you can’t force someone to change. What’s left?

If the person doesn’t respond to the initial confrontation, we need to take a stronger stand by giving him or her some consequences. Consequences work at times when talking does not. For example, if your spouse gets argumentative when you bring up an issue, and continues to do so despite your requests otherwise, you can tell your spouse, “I would love to talk about this. But as I have told you, I don’t like the angry attacks. So I will only talk to you when a counselor is there. I will make an appointment, and if you want to talk to me about it, I...

Continue Reading...

Your Helping Could Be Hurting Someone

Uncategorized Sep 28, 2020

I have long been an advocate for the role of pain and suffering in growth. It's not a masochistic approach, for I truly hate "pain for pain's sake." And besides, not all pain produces growth. Some pain is just useless suffering and produces nothing helpful at all. I hate it when I see people putting up with needless suffering and saying that it is somehow building patience or character. The passivity that allows pain to continue for no reason is not character.

But, there is struggle, effort, and painful effort, that does indeed produce growth and is good for us. Muscle building is like that. You lift weights and it hurts. It's a painful strain, and your muscles are sore for a day or two. But as the scientists tell us, the tearing down of muscle allows them to come back stronger and bigger, and that is pain that produces growth. Similarly, facing grief can resolve depression or other emotional problems. Facing trauma can resolve PTSD. And good effort builds endurance. Embracing pain...

Continue Reading...

Having No Boundaries with Family can have Negative Effects on Marriage

Uncategorized Sep 27, 2020

Our families of origin are a place of familiarity to us. It’s where we form our habits and patterns, and what we grew up knowing is how we make decisions about our future. However, when we’re not able to separate ourselves from our families of origins, we often run into boundary problems in outside relationships.

Let’s look at some common signs of a lack of boundaries with the family we grew up in.

Catching the Virus
A common scenario is this: one spouse doesn’t have good emotional boundaries with the family he grew up in — his family of origin. Then when he has contact with them by phone or in person, he becomes depressed, argumentative, self-critical, perfectionistic, angry, combative, or withdrawn. It is as though he “catches” something from his family of origin and passes it on to his immediate family.

His family of origin has the power to affect his new family in a trickle-down effect. One sure sign of boundary problems is when your...

Continue Reading...

Expose Your Past and Heal to Move Forward

Uncategorized Sep 26, 2020

Have you ever had someone tell you, “The past is in the past. It shouldn’t have any power over you”?

That’s not entirely true. The things we would say are “in our past” are really part of our present.

People have hurt us, and we have hurt people. We have suffered wrong, and we have done wrong. We would say, “All those things happened in the past and can’t be changed.” But have your past experiences been addressed? Have you forgiven? Have you given yourself a chance to grieve and let go?

Address the past so you can be healed and open to change. Don’t let the shame of the past keep you from moving forward.

These directives reveal why dealing with the past is so important:

1. Acknowledge your past to establish a starting point. Your past is part of your history. It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened; what matters is that you’ve exposed it. You can’t make the right changes in your life if...

Continue Reading...

Get Daily Coaching From Dr. Henry Cloud

Uncategorized Sep 22, 2020

If you've been tuning in to The Dr. Cloud Show, you've heard me talk about building a herd immunity against dysfunction, and what I mean by that is I'm passionate about creating a community of people who are committed to learning and growing and experiencing the fruits of life by doing the hard stuff in the present that reaps great rewards in the future.

For instance -- How much is fear driving your life right now? How many decisions are you making based out of the fear of disappointing someone because they don't hear your "no"? It's so easy to say, "Well, just set a boundary and be done!" We know that there's a lot of courageous work that goes into that. 

About a week ago I started a new segment inside of Boundaries.Me called "One Thing," and it's literally just one thing on my mind that I say in a video message delivered to you. Each little segment takes just a minute or two to watch, and each video has a comment section where members of the community are encouraging and...

Continue Reading...

Why You End Up Giving More Than You're Comfortable With

Uncategorized Sep 19, 2020

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...

Continue Reading...

The Good Traits to Look For in Others

Uncategorized Sep 19, 2020

New and unfamiliar situations tend to make us feel anxious. The tense part of a business deal just before the pens come out. The exposed vulnerability of doing something for the first time, or doing something that could easily go sideways unless all the pieces fall exactly the right way. Anxiety is the brain’s natural reaction to these experiences. It activates a fear response that’s meant to shield us from risking our well being.

The first thing most of us do is look to others to confirm or disaffirm our perception of the facts. Is anyone else sweating this like I am? What we expect to find is that everyone else is as hesitant and unsure as we are, but what we’re really looking for is that person who will make us feel like everything is going to be OK.

I don’t mean OK in the sense that everything will turn out perfectly, or even good. I mean OK in the sense that a person gives you a feeling that everything that can be done has been done. You’re...

Continue Reading...

Saying No is Enough — You Don’t Have to Justify It

Uncategorized Sep 19, 2020

Psychologists spend an enormous amount of energy building psychological tests, assessments and the like, and then administering them to people to help them understand themselves. This practice is very helpful in many settings, from work, to education, to couples and individuals. Insight into ourselves and others is really helpful for a number of reasons. I believe in good, validated testing.

But one of the best tests for our psychological well being, the tenor of the family or work culture we live in, and the health of our relationships, is free and can be self-administered. All you have to do is monitor the internal response you have when you want to say the word “no.”

Let’s start with ourselves. What happens when someone you love, someone you want to please or maybe even someone whose anger or frustration you fear, wants you to do something that you do not want to do? I do not mean the kind of need or desire that will call for sacrifice, effort or even discomfort...

Continue Reading...

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.