Are you ready to have some serious talks with family members but you’re not sure where to start? Don’t miss the rest of this post where we share helpful strategies for how to set boundaries with family.
Boundaries are a hot topic. Not to mention, the word is enough to send shivers down the spine of many people. The idea of setting boundaries with loved ones can be completely overwhelming. We know they might not react how we want them to and it might turn into an argument, hurt feelings, or permanently damage relationships.
While the way others respond to setting boundaries isn’t entirely up to you, there are still many strategies you can employ to ensure the process goes more smoothly.
How to Set Boundaries With Family
As someone in recovery, it’s incredibly important to know how to set boundaries with family moving forward. At the same time, their reaction to these boundaries can be especially triggering. But today we’re going to talk about how to set boundaries with family in a way that can feel good for everyone.
Put yourself first
One of the reasons it’s tough to set boundaries with family is because we put their needs and comfort before our own.
For example, we would rather feel uncomfortable with the existing boundaries than have them be upset about new boundaries you institute. But this is a great time to remind yourself that your needs are just as important! The same way your family members are responsible for setting their own boundaries they’re comfortable with, you also need to do this for yourself.
Hopefully, you have someone in your life who already respects your boundaries. Maybe it’s a friend, family member, or sober companion. If you’re struggling with how to set boundaries with family by yourself, call in one of these people for backup. Having them present for these difficult conversations can help empower you to speak up and hold strong to the boundaries you set. With a person who values you on your side, they can also advocate for you in these situations and keep things calm.
Remember you can be firm and kind
One of the reasons many people struggle with setting boundaries is because they associate boundary-setting with being mean or hurtful. But setting boundaries isn’t mean! In fact, it’s the ultimate act of kindness you can do for yourself. At the same time, you’re also setting other people up for success by setting healthy boundaries so you don’t grow to resent one another.
In addition to boundary-setting being an act of kindness for yourself, it’s also helpful to focus on being kind as you deliver your messaging. This doesn’t mean you can’t also be firm, however! It just means you can speak calmly using kind language. While you do this, focus on facts and why it’s important for you to learn how to set boundaries with family.
For example, rather than saying, “You come over too much and it annoys me,” try something like, “It’s important for me to learn how to be independent and have time for myself. I would love it if we could set up a weekly visit at a time we both agree on to help me learn to be independent.”
Create a list of coping strategies ahead of time
Any conversation with family can be triggering. If you’re in recovery, it’s incredibly important to be aware of these potential triggers before you have a boundary-setting conversation with your family. Further, it’s important to have coping strategies in place for managing these triggers.
This is another example of a time when having your sober companion can prove to be especially helpful. They will also be aware of your triggers and they’ll be aware of the coping strategies that can help you handle temptations and other challenges.
Even if your family members are on board with the boundaries you set, be prepared for them not to take effect overnight. Being realistic with your boundaries and allowing some time for everyone to adapt to them is a helpful strategy to adopt. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. In addition to being realistic with the time it takes for everyone to get used to these new boundaries, be sure you’re also being realistic with the boundaries themselves.
For example, if your parents are used to seeing you six days a week, it might not be realistic to suddenly cut that down to once a month. Unless, of course, you and your sober companion or counselor decide that’s what’s best.
How a Sober Companion Can Help You Learn How to Set Boundaries with Family
We’ve mentioned a few times how a sober companion can be a powerful asset when it comes to setting boundaries with family along with maintaining your sobriety and encouraging healthy habits.
But now, let’s talk more about how a sober companion from Elysian Sober Services can help you create healthy relationships with your loved ones.
After all, addiction is a family disease. Even once you’re sober, your relationships may still be suffering from past actions. An addict is like a storm barreling through life, tearing apart their friends and loved ones in the process. Sometimes families have even torn completely apart almost beyond repair.
However, even though addiction is a family disease, this doesn’t mean the family can’t heal! With time, patience, boundaries, and the support of an Elysian Sober companion, the future of your family relationships can start to look a lot brighter.
We will help the family reengage slowly while setting healthy boundaries as well. We understand there may be a lot of pain and damage done, but we also understand how crucial it is to have family support for the recovering addict.
Our companions will supply any extra resources needed along with the 24/7 support for families. Healing the family from the inside is one of the main objectives of our services and we make it our goal to make this happen.
(Take a look at this post next to learn more about sober companions and how they can help)
What To Do When Boundaries Don’t Work
Now, let’s say you follow all these steps for how to set boundaries with family and have courageous conversations left and right with all of these tips in mind. But then…nothing changes. Your family members don’t respect your values, or they ignore them altogether.
In this case, it’s helpful to seek out new relationships with people who respect your boundaries, or at least put more focus on your existing relationships with people who do respect your boundaries. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to limit contact entirely with family who don’t respect your boundaries. However, it can mean focusing more of your energy on different relationships can be helpful.
Depending on the relationships you’re setting boundaries for, it’s often worth having another boundary-setting discussion as well. Sometimes it can take a few tries to establish these boundaries in a way that feels good for both parties. But when it comes to the most important relationships in your life, it’s worth the effort!
Do you want to learn more about how to set boundaries with family?
When you’re learning how to set boundaries with family, it’s important to be patient, practical, and prepared. We have covered several tips for getting started in this post. But we know you might have additional questions.
Would you like to learn more about setting healthy boundaries? Coping strategies? Triggers? Creating healthy habits? These are just some of the ways we’re here to support and encourage you on your sober journey.We have a 24/7 hotline for those in urgent need. Please reach out for help today.