Sometimes one of the best ways to help and support your loved one in dealing with their pain and problems is to draw emotional boundaries around you. Now, this may seem selfish or even downright wrong, but it’s actually necessary, for you and for them too.
Have you ever felt like you were treating someone else’s problem as your own?
I was recently talking to a close friend about her condition. When asked this question, she replied, “This past month has been absolute hell.” She proceeded to tell me how two of her close friends had had relapse and relationship problems, and how other friends had a tremendous amount of Poisoning And drama in their lives now.
I asked, knowing what her answer would be, “So what does that have to do with you?”
She looked confused. It is clear that having her friends in a state of pain, discomfort and instability has an effect on her. But feeling that her life is out of control as a result of other people’s pain is not actually a reflection of a healthy friendship. It is a reflection of bad emotional boundaries.
Related Topics: Personal Boundaries: 9 Essential Boundaries to Live With
How do we develop emotional boundaries?
Step 1: Identify where you lack emotional boundaries.
Is it with a specific friend, family member, colleague, or all of the above? Is there a tendency to become more invested in people with a particular problem that you had experience with? What is the end goal? What is the emotional trigger behind the behavior?
In my personal experience, the emotional trigger was usually that I thought I knew what was best for someone else. I start to take their pain as mine, and I miss my real opportunities kindness Because I’m thinking of how best I can help/save them.
Step 2: Determine what is stopping you from breaking up.
One of my favorite quotes is by the poet Rumi: “Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers you have built against it.” Thus, the second step is to determine what internally prevents us from separating or setting boundaries.
Do you feel “stuck”? Have you inadvertently signed up for a caring role in this relationship or in your friendships? Do you say to yourself that, “They are my family – I can’t be separated from them”?
It’s very interesting to remember that we don’t need to be signed up for any relationship (with some exceptions like employers, coworkers, etc.) If you’re miserable at work, what’s stopping you from looking for another job? If you’re in a one-sided friendship, what’s stopping you from turning away? If you feel responsible for the welfare of others, what prevents you from accepting that you do not have that kind of power or responsibility?
Step 3: Do whatever you can to break down these barriers.
Personally, I found the remedy incredibly helpful in this regard. Work around barriers – don’t try to get around them. Writing a journal, setting an intention, praying, or talking with healthy friends can be helpful tools. We often can’t think of our way out of our emotional experiences; We need a sound board.
Related: How healthy boundaries can stop you from taking on the world’s pain
Step 4: Find grounding tools that help you maintain your limits.
I love energy work. I was once told to imagine an opaque bubble around me when I was dealing with someone in pain. I can appear to that person, be present and conscious, and reserve space to experience it, but its energy doesn’t penetrate that bubble.
Whether someone is sad, angry, toxic, negative, sad, or any other emotion on the human spectrum, I don’t need to let them in my bubbles. I can be grounded, secure in myself, and be present for that person.
But if I didn’t have those boundaries, my relationships would undoubtedly become tangled and unhealthy.