Monday, June 25, 2018

Boundaries! Boundaries! Boundaries!

You take care of a loved one. Or, your work involves helping others. The fact that you want to make a difference in other people's lives is noble.

But here's plain truth: you won't always be able to help everyone. You can care but you can't carry people. Some resist change. Some are simply harder to love or take care of,

That's why boundaries are important. For your protection. For your health. For your longevity as a helping, caring person.


For instance, I have someone who is quite difficult. Psychologists or psychiatrists may find her easily to be borderline.

In the middle of the night or my sleeping hours, she'd call or send me bizarre, manipulative messages and texts. She demanded more extended times with me beyond our sessions.

In most of her messages, she complained a lot about her husband who chose to separate from her. 

Her husband once lost his self by constantly trying to please her. But he learned to start putting limits on her financial, sexual, and verbal abuses.

In my case, I told her, "I won't be able to talk to you more than once a week during sessions, except emergency, due to my schedules."

In both instances, she got mad and disappointed.

Boundaries are loving. It's the most loving thing you can do! You need to define your kind of care not by the overpowering needs of the other person, but by what's realistic and respectful.

It's crucial to allow your self to "fail" the other person. What I mean is, not to meet their expectations or longings, especially when this is good for their growth.

Psychologists and best selling authors, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, call boundaries "preventive medicine." They repair the brokenness in character caused by lack of boundaries.

These authors/therapists love helping individuals with boundary problems, such as:

... addictions and compulsions, inability to say no to abusive people, taking responsibility for other people's lives, manipulating and controlling behaviors, struggles with intimacy and maintaining closeness, etc....

I like their basic formula for setting therapeutic boundaries:

FREEDOM = RESPONSIBILITY = CONSEQUENCES = LOVE

"If any of these is out of balance," explained Drs. Cloud and Townsend, "- for example, more freedom granted than someone is held responsible for - then character problems grow."