The im­por­tance of set­ting bound­aries

RTÉ Guide - - Mental Health & Well- Being -

Healthy com­mu­ni­ca­tion in­volves set­ting healthy bound­aries. This demon­strates to an­other per­son in a con­sis­tent and non-ag­gres­sive way that cer­tain be­hav­iours are ac­cept­able while oth­ers are not. Healthy bound­aries cre­ate strength in a re­la­tion­ship. Re­la­tion­ship bound­aries usu­ally work best if cre­ated as a joint pro­ject by the two peo­ple in the re­la­tion­ship. You can also set your own com­mu­ni­ca­tion bound­aries and man­age your own be­hav­iour, as set­ting a bound­ary may or may not cause an­other per­son to change their be­hav­iour.

What it is not: Com­mu­ni­cat­ing a bound­ary is not about stub­bornly dig­ging your heels in and it is not about forc­ing an­other per­son to change their be­hav­iour. It is not about crit­i­cism, blame or judge­ment.

What it is: Bound­aries are based on the un­der­stand­ing that ev­ery­one is an in­di­vid­ual per­son, with their own needs, yet is still part of the re­la­tion­ship and a set of shared val­ues. Bound­aries are iden­ti­fi­able when you will not let an­other per­son jeop­ar­dise your sense of safety and well-be­ing and you will not jeop­ar­dise theirs. Toxic dump

If I got €1 ev­ery time I’m asked how to change an­other per­son, I would be rich in­deed. Here’s the thing: you can’t change an­other per­son but by set­ting bound­aries they might change. If they don’t and this im­pacts on you, then they are toxic. Toxic peo­ple are like en­ergy vam­pires: get them out of your life or re­duce the ‘dose’! Re­la­tion­ships

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion in your re­la­tion­ship is like do­ing main­te­nance work – you need to keep it up and not wait un­til it has bro­ken down or col­lapsed. Of­ten, when a prob­lem oc­curs, it is about both par­ties: it is about ‘us’. Un­re­solved con­flict can dam­age re­la­tion­ships. In good re­la­tion­ships, cou­ples work out a way of dis­cussing dif­fi­cul­ties so that the is­sues don’t keep com­ing back.

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