Updated: Feb 20, 2019
Boundaries are vital to recovery. Unfortunately there isn’t a guidebook for setting boundaries. Each of use has our own guide inside ourselves. And if we go deep within and start to listen to ourselves we will hear our boundaries and they will develop. They will get healthy. If we pay attention and listen to our parts they will tell us what we need to know. By listening to ourselves, trusting our instincts and intuition we will set the right boundaries and these boundaries will help us to learn and to grow.
I had never heard of setting boundaries until just over a year ago, I didn’t know I could have that control in my life. I didn’t know I could use them to take care of myself. I have since learnt that having and setting healthy boundaries helps in all phases of recovery; dealing with feelings, growing, and learning to love myself.
I wish that someone had taught me about boundaries from a young age. Especially to tell me that I could use them to draw a healthy line, a healthy boundary, between my family and me, then I could have learnt to separate myself from their issues.
I love my family. But I am, we are, separate human beings with individual rights and issues. Even though I belong to a unit called a family I have my own issues and they have theirs and sometimes boundaries need to be set. I believed that I had to take on my families issues as my own to be loyal and to show that I love them but now I know that these are their issues and they have the right to deal with these issues how and when they want to.
When I started taking care of myself, my father said that he wished the ‘old Tara’ would come back. He wanted the ‘me’ that was the people pleaser, the ‘me’ that would do anything for the family. But I, luckily, had learnt that I do not have to go back to that person. My father’s wish for the ‘old Tara’ was his issue, not mine. This caused me a lot of pain and I didn’t realise it at the time but that pain was showing me that I needed to set a boundary. By taking care of myself and becoming healthy does not mean that I do not love my family. It just means that I am taking the time to address my issues.
Initially, I judged my family for this but I have now learnt, am still learning, to let it go because those are their issues. I have learnt that I do not have to do anything they would like me to do because they are my family. I can politely, but assertively, say no. This ‘no’ has to come from the ‘adult’ me, not from my inner child, otherwise it won’t be heard. And when I can do this, I will be free.