I felt this was timely, as it’s something that students ask me about SO OFTEN, how do we set boundaries with family, and the key is, they have to be communicated. I must admit my family of mum, dad, brother, and Arran and Marley, we have done a tonne of dedicated healing, self-development and everyone meditates, so our time together is usually really clearly communicated and feelings shared gracefully and support given for all. It’s something I am so immensely proud of as a family. But it wasn’t always like that, and we have had some serious rough patches. It takes work. Sometimes that work you will have to go about alone, and perhaps others will catch up, perhaps not. But begin your path now.
The thing with boundaries is you have to create them, understand them deeply for yourself and gently enforce them. They must be personal to you, and feel authentic. And I have noticed for myself that generally, they will feel really uncomfortable at first, especially if you are a people pleaser like me! So go gently. If you are new to setting boundaries, this means gentle on yourself as you learn, and also on everyone else. Someone suddenly enforcing boundaries can be a shock and you can expect some level of kickback, as a natural response. This is the other persons’ response to learning about boundaries too. You know how hard it is for yourself, so be empathetic towards everyone else too…whilst upholding your boundary!
Some ideas for you to work on…
“I respect you might feel a lot of emotions about *** and please respect I don’t want to discuss it with you”.
Then don’t engage in any conversation about this topic, and you can come back to your original commitment as in ‘mum I made a commitment to not discuss this with you as it makes me unhappy and uncomfortable’. Remember a boundary is a gentle line and you must not cross it either.
“We are committed to visiting you on these days, at these times, and we have other commitments outside of these that means we are not available”.
You don’t have to share what your other commitments are, nor explain that they may be doing absolutely nothing but relaxing.
“It’s okay with me if you express your feelings, it is not okay with me if you yell or get physical while doing that”.
Have conversations on your terms, as long as you are clearly expressing those terms, and reinforcing boundaries around them, not expecting people to mind read.
And remember Ram Dass’s quote, “If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family”, and remember to have a laugh. Don’t take any of this as life and death, it’s just all a path of learning.
Also let me know if you found this helpful, as we might do some more like it.
Written with love,