Setting Boundaries for Self-Care: FAQ About Setting & Enforcing Boundaries With Loved Ones by Dr. Sanam Hafeez

Relationships Expert Q&A
9 months ago

Setting Boundaries for Self-Care: FAQ About Setting & Enforcing Boundaries With Loved Ones

Setting boundaries with loved ones, friends and even co-workers is important for healthy relationships and self-care. I've answered some commonly asked questions about setting boundaries – whether in a healthy relationship or one with a narcissist or toxic person.

Q. What’s the best way to go about setting boundaries with loved ones or spouses?

The best way to set boundaries with loved ones or spouses is to:

  • Be firm about your needs but kind.
  • Maintain realistic expectations.
  • Be direct.
  • Be honest.

Q. What can you do if they won’t respect your boundaries?

Boundaries and communication go hand in hand in a healthy relationship, whether it’s with loved ones or spouses. If they don’t respect your boundaries, you can either respectfully let them go, sit them down and have a firm conversation about each other’s expectations and come to an agreement. Usually, someone may not be respecting your boundaries because they either don’t understand them, aren’t entirely clear or are purposefully crossing them.

  • Stating your boundaries clearly: If you haven’t communicated your boundaries clearly, there is a way to avoid anyone overstepping. To avoid confusion, you must open up and state them clearly and openly to your loved ones.
  • Misunderstanding boundaries: If you already explained your needs, and they are still misunderstood for some reason, that’s OK. You can sit down with your loved one and restate your boundaries in a firm yet kind manner. For example, you may not enjoy your family inviting whoever you’re dating to an event without checking with you first. Yet, instead of asking and awaiting a “yes,” they simply let you know they have already reached out. Now, you can sit them down, clear up any ambiguity and state, “Don’t invite someone I’m dating unless I say yes first.”
  • Purposefully crossing boundaries: Sometimes, in order to get one’s attention, someone may purposefully cross boundaries to get their point across. In this case, you can sit down with them and have a conversation about what the larger issues are. Then, you can restate your boundaries and talk through a better way of handling like situations for the next time.

In the end, if they still prove to be difficult, it’s OK to walk away. Don’t put yourself in unproductive conversation or uncomfortable situations if you don’t think their feelings will change.

Q. What are the benefits of setting boundaries for self-care?

  • Building up self-esteem.
  • Becoming more independent.
  • Defining and becoming clear about your values, identity and what you want.
  • Shifting focus onto your well-being.
  • Avoiding burnout.
  • Relationships work best with defined needs and expectations.
  • There is less room for resentment.

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Elisa Schmitz
This is really important, and something I am still learning about and working on. Many thanks for the insights, Dr. Sanam Hafeez !
Moms especially have a hard time with this but you have to do it.
Julio Caro
Such a valuable piece

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