Friday, December 19, 2014

How To Set Boundaries


What Are Boundaries?


Though I've always had certain Boundaries, I didn't know they were called "Boundaries". And I know how confusing and hair pulling it is figuring out what boundaries are and how they apply to you, so bare with me.




Boundaries Boundaries Boundaries


Boundaries are a way to protect ourselves. Imagine Boundaries as being a fence around your property. Its a way to let the good in while keeping the bad out, you can choose what comes in, or out, of your boundary line.

Boundaries are also about self control, not about demanding anyone to do something. You can't demand or force your husband to leave, go to counseling, meetings, be honest, etc etc. You can ASK him to leave, but that doesn't mean he will leave your presence every time u get upset. But YOU sure can leave.

Why are Boundaries so Important?




Boundaries created by wives are not only crucial for them, but also for the addict husbands. Boundaries keep us and our children SAFE. Without them, we usually live in an endless loop of torment, fear, and wo'-----aka PTSD/Betrayal Trauma.

  • For the addict, a wives Boundaries can produce much needed consequences, and NO addict can truly get better without feeling the consequences to their actions. Consequences are goooood. Holding an addict husband accountable and not putting up with their crap is the most loving thing any wife could ever do for them. Addiction thrives wherever there's enabling.


Step By Step Boundaries

Tolerate:"To allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of without interference; To accept or endure"

First, you need to figure out how much crap you are willing to put up with. WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOURSELF. Its tricky figuring out what we are willing or not willing to tolerate in or lives with our addict husbands. It may even help to discover a few of our Personal Bill of Rights to have for our own use. Personal Boundaries are what protect our Personal Rights. (More info on Bill of Rights HERE.)

Often boundaries arent only just things we simply want, they are actually things we NEED. They are literally things we emotionally need in our life in order for ourselves to function in a healthy progressive way so we can be the best "us". When first figuring out your Boundaries, it may be helpful to ask yourself these questions and write them down:

* What behavior from your husband are you willing to tolerate in your home and life?

* What behavior from your husband are you NOT willing to tolerate in your home and life?

* What personally do YOU want out of your life? Are you able to achieve this living with an addict who's acting out in your home?

* What are some essential emotional NEEDS you have in your life and marriage?

* Are you willing to tolerate sleeping in the same bed, being intimate with, or living with an addict who is acting out, or lying? Aka "Addict Mode"?

* Are you willing to tolerate free reign access to pornography (unfiltered or unmonitored Internet devices) in your home around you and your children?

* Are you willing to tolerate being controlled, manipulated, or abused?

* What are YOU willing to do in order to follow through on what you say? Its crucial to have a plan of what you are willing to do if your husband does something you are not willing to tolerate or put up with.

* The most important question of all is: WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO KEEP YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN SAFE FROM THE MOST DANGEROUS DRUG IN EXISTENCE?


 
Second, after you figure out what you want and write down what you are willing to put up with in your life, its time to figure out what your going to do to achieve that. If your husband is not willing to be respectful and safe, what are you going to do to keep YOU safe? How can you show self respect to yourself?

After writing everything down I highly suggest showing it to your therapist or a trusted friend who's already done boundaries to help proof read, and then giving a final copy to your husband. But when writing it down it's extremely helpful to write your boundaries in a way that not only YOU understand, but in a way your husband can easily understand. One method is to state what you NEED > Then state what you are not willing to tolerate > and then state what you are willing to DO to keep yourself safe (consequences) if your husband does not respect your safety Boundaries. 

Here are a variety of random different Boundary wording examples. A few of these are the boundaries/consequences I personally use, but everyone's situation is different so input consequences that would help YOU feel safe.

- I am only willing to tolerate staying married to a man who is actively trying to get into recovery by going to meetings, counseling etc. If I do not see consistent recovery behaviors, ie. meetings, counseling, honesty etc, then I won't feel safe being married to you. (Other examples: sleeping in the same bed with you, being intimate with you, talking to you, etc etc.

- For my safety, sanity, and mental health, I am not willing to tolerate living with a man who lies. If I am lied to, I will need distance myself and consider a separation.

- In order for me to feel safe in this marriage I need all future slips/relapses etc. to be disclosed within 24 hours. If I receive disclosure after 24hrs , OR I discover it myself, then that puts me and the kids in danger and I will need a separation for an undisclosed amount of time. 

- For the safety of me and the children, I will not allow any unmonitored and unfiltered Internet device (computer, phone, TV etc) to enter this home. If I learn of any unprotected device you have brought into my home without my knowledge, I will need a separation for my safety.

-  I love you. I NEED to feel safe in this marriage. I NEED the kids to be safe. I am no longer willing to tolerate lies, If you lie to me without telling me within 24 hours etc, I will ______.

- I'm not comfortable living with someone who's not trying to get into recovery by going to meetings, counseling, reaching out, full honesty/transparency etc. If I do not see these efforts in actions (not words), than I do not feel safe with you living here.

- I don't feel safe sleeping in the same bed with someone who is not trying to get into recovery. If I do not see recovery type work by counseling, meetings, sponsor, full honestly/transparency etc, then I do not feel safe with you being in our bed.

- I do not feel safe living with a man who is not working to get into recovery, if I do not see recovery type work by counseling, meetings, sponsor, honesty/transparency etc, then I will detach and cease contact (except directly about kids) so that i can feel safe.

- I do not comfortable living with someone who's not trying to actively get into recovery by going to meetings, counseling, reaching out, full honesty/transparency etc etc, and if I do not see active recovery type actions by ______, then I will begin the divorce process for the safety of me and the kids.



Third, be prepared to follow through with everything you say, otherwise you could prove yourself to be untrustworthy, and become "The Wife Who Cried Wolf". If you say you will not have sex, separate, or start divorce proceedings the next time he cheats or lies, etc., then you better be sure you are actually willing to do exactly what you said you would! Also be prepared for backlash from your husband. If your husband acts up, gets defensive/upset, or throws a tantrum, then you know it's working. Ignore it, and DO NOT engage. I repeat, DO NOT ENGAGE. It's just his addiction feeling threatened and is panicking and fighting to stay alive. If his negative behavior causes you to back down or not follow through on what you say, then it gives his addiction power and it encourage's him to continue using negative behavior to get what he wants. Stay firm. Stand your ground.


Boundaries Are Not Ultimatums


Boundaries and consequences are only for YOU and your children. They are NOT to punish or control your husband. Your husband has the agency to make any choice he wants.  You aren't telling him what he can't do. Your simply saying "Yes, you can make the choice to act that way, and if that happens I will make the choice to keep myself safe". But they are NOT ultimatums. "Ultimatums shut down options. Boundaries open up choices." (Charlieglickman.com/boundaries-vs-ultimatums/) . "A good boundary is the result of knowing yourself and having standards for how you want to be treated in relationship.  An ultimatum is the result of not setting boundaries to begin with; you find yourself unhappy with how you are being treated and you are focus on changing your partner’s behavior.  The crucial difference is that boundaries come from a solid place inside of you, whereas an ultimatum comes from a wish about how things could be.  It takes self-esteem to set a boundary, whereas most ultimatums come from a sense of desperation." 
http://elyntromey.com/therapyblog/?p=206

My counselor once explained that its good to be clear about what I needed in my boundaries, but to remember that Boundaries are extremely personal, to make them my own, and to remember that in my written Boundaries I am speaking to my husband----someone I love very deeply----and that I needed to be sincere and open with what I NEED. And what I NEED and will always need, is to feel safe in my marriage and in my home. Safety is the biggest priority.


Need Further Assistance? (Because this stuff is still so confusing your eyes are glazed over and you want to pound your head into the table)
The number #1 book I recommend to everyone, EVERYONE, is Boundaries, or Boundaries in Marriage, by John Townsend. This is the Holy Grail of everything Boundary related. 

Read it. Read it now.

Excerpt straight from the book Boundaries in Marriage:

"Boundaries are about self-control....
A client once said to me, "I set some boundaries on my husband. I told him that he could not talk to me that way anymore. And it did not work. What do i do now?"
"What you have done is not Boundaries at all," I replied.
"What do you mean?"
"It was your feeble attempt at controlling your husband, and that never works." I went on to explain that boundaries are not something you "set on" another person. Boundaries are about yourself.
My client could not say to her husband, "You can't speak to me that way." This demand is unenforceable. But she could say what she would or would not do if he spoke to her that way again. She could set a boundary "on herself". She COULD say "If you speak to me that way I will walk out of the room". This threat is totally enforceable because it has to do with her. She would be setting a boundary with the only person she could control: Herself"

Boundary Articles I   :

Brene Brown - Boundaries & Empathy
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10153967066765682&id=191880615681&fs=5

Boundaries (GREAT article, although I ignored the thing about Borderline :) )
http://outofthefog.net/CommonNonBehaviors/Boundaries.html

Boundaries vs Ultimatums (amazing)
http://www.escapeabuse.com/?p=114

Laying Boundaries & Accountability:
"People who have hurt you are never safe unless they can provide genuine accountability and remorse. Those who can’t are absolute repeat offenders waiting to happen – guaranteed. If you can’t express your hurt and pain of what happened to you to this person without them staying in full support and empathy – you are not experiencing the real deal.Projections, blame throwing and excuses are not acceptable – even if spasmodic. They either accept what they did was wrong and hurtful, or they don’t! There is no middle ground on this one."
http://blog.melanietoniaevans.com/is-he-or-she-really-a-narcissist-laying-boundaries-and-accountability/

Drama Triangle. How to get out of a dramatic, controlling, manipulative situation (aaamazing):
http://www.nancycarterlcsw.com/DramaTriangle.html


Tips to Setting Healthy Boundaries:
http://serenityonlinetherapy.com/healthyboundaries.htm


Boundaries in Marriage (lots of excerpts straight from the book):
http://www.cs.cornell.edu/home/kreitz/Christian/Boundaries/all.html#SECTION02020000000000000000


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Feel free to contact me with any questions :)

3 comments:

  1. Excellent , this is so helpful for a newbie to making boundaries !

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is so very helpful. Thank you!! :-)

    ReplyDelete