How to Establish Healthy Boundaries In Family Relationships
When it comes to family relationships, many people tend to avoid setting any limits, because well, it’s family after all. Who can ever say ‘no’ to family, right?
It might seem like the right thing to do at the moment, but the truth is nothing can ruin a relationship as fast as a lack of boundaries.
Think of boundaries as an imaginary line that marks a border or the limit of a relationship.
Having the courage to set healthy relationship boundaries can sometimes make all the difference between a prospering relationship and one that seems to be hanging on the edge of a cliff.
Boundaries are rooted in the ability to treasure yourself. Their purpose is to protect you, preserve you, and present you. Healthy boundaries allow others to grow and you to get more of what you want and less of what you don’t want. Boundaries are necessary for healthy relationships. Staying flexible in close relationships with a balanced sense of understanding, mutual support, and give and take is essential.
Signs of Family Relationships that Have Poor Boundaries
The relationships we share with our parents, siblings, and relatives are often so sensitive that one is unable to distinguish if it’s even a healthy relationship or not.
However, one must look beyond the love they hold for their families for the sake of their own mental and emotional peace.
These are some common signs of family relationships marked by poor boundaries.
1. You Struggle Saying ‘No’
Two humble letters, but when paired together can create such a powerful impact!
Most of us struggle with saying no because we hate letting other people down. In relationships without boundaries, you are likely to often find yourself going along with other people’s plans, never raising an argument or voicing your concerns. In other words, you are a people pleaser and hate upsetting them.
While you may realize it, the inability to say no comes with quite a huge psychological cost.
2. You Are Always Guilty and Anxious
An ongoing experience of guilt, anxiety, and fear are common characteristics of relationships having poor boundaries. You feel responsible for other people’s happiness and take it upon yourself if they aren’t happy. More than that, you also feel guilty for the smallest of things that can possibly upset your family members.
3. You Have Difficult Family Relationships
All relationships are difficult in their own ways, but the ones that lack personal boundaries are particularly tough in the sense that you are always at the mercy of others. You let others control you, take advantage of you, walk all over you, and in the end, it’s only you who feels bad about everything.
Setting Healthy Boundaries In Family Relationships
To put it simply, a healthy boundary in a relationship is the one that ensures you are mentally and emotionally stable. It’s also one that gives you control, freedom, and autonomy over your own life without letting anyone rob you off.
If you feel that your own family relationships lack necessary healthy boundaries, this is what you can do to create some personal fences.
1. Learn When to Say No
You might love your family to bits, but sometimes, you have to say “No”, not only for your own but their sanity as well.
It could be something as basic as deciding what to eat for dinner or choosing a movie to watch. If you don’t agree with something or feel otherwise, learn to say no and show assertiveness. It’s good for your own mental wellbeing after all.
2. Communicate Your Needs
Every individual has varying needs, and it’s essential that you communicate them to the rest of your family. For instance, if you’d rather spend the weekend at a friend’s place than staying home, you should be able to communicate this to your parents with confidence. It’s your life and you have all the right in the world to live however you want to!
3. Show Appreciation, But Be Assertive
When setting healthy relationship boundaries with your parents, for instance, one often has to be quite careful and kind with their words. However, this doesn’t mean you should never be able to speak to them openly and honestly.
One way to go about this is to demonstrate appreciation towards your parents while being assertive at the same time about setting boundaries.
For instance, if you have a parent that interferes way too much in your matters, you can let them know you appreciate their concern but you’d like them to stop interfering so much because you are perfectly capable of deciding for yourself.
4. Pave the Way Towards Sanity and Peace
Every relationship, whether it’s with a friend, a partner, a family member, or a colleague at work requires healthy relationship boundaries.
Did you know that 80% of chronic diseases are caused due to lifestyle-related issues and that setting boundaries can actually help?
So, pave the way towards peace and sanity by establishing healthy boundaries in all your family relationships.