Counseling for Healthy Boundaries
“When you’re not being heard, stop talking. Let your silence explain everything.”
Others describe you as kind, a peacemaker, and service-oriented.
You’d “give the shirt off your back” to help someone. It’s hard to say “no” because you’re afraid to share what you think or feel. You’re afraid of how others might perceive you. It’s exhausting anticipating others’ needs or studying their moods or patterns so you can somehow be useful to or help them in some way.
You’re on automatic when it comes to boundaries.
You know you need and want better boundaries in your life but if you imagine putting them in place you feel a rush of anxiety. You imagine conflict or how others might negatively respond. It’s excruciating and unbearable to imagine. So, sometimes not having any boundaries at all feels easier in the moment.
You’ve probably tried to put boundaries in place and then feel like you didn’t do it right or that there may have been a “better” way for you to put them in place.
There’s an internalized sense of unworthiness that shows up when you try to set boundaries. This only leads to the continual cycle of not putting them in place at all. If setting boundaries makes you feel bad, you wonder “why bother at all?”
It’s like you just can’t reach that place of emotional safety to trust that you can put boundaries in place and that it’s OK to. Naturally, it’s affecting your home life, relationships, and work life. You’ve sacrificed so much but it feels like you just can’t keep up at this rate.
You learned how to stay safe by not being allowed to set boundaries in childhood.
Since childhood, others have expected from you. They’ve expected ____ (fill in the blank!). Without saying it, you knew the expectation.
You didn’t have a choice growing up.
You were taught early on that if you enforced your own boundaries it was “bad” or “wrong.” On cue, you were expected to clean, take care of your siblings or a parent, and take care of yourself.
There was no other way.
Others’ needs have always been more important so keeping boundaries is rocky for you.
When others expected too much from you growing up, you learned others are more important than you, you need to make others happy, and “behave” or not “be a problem.” When you complied, it reinforced the belief that you are making others happy and that it’s somehow your job.
You’re still operating from this place because it’s all you’ve known.
You may have experienced childhood trauma. Your personal autonomy was taken from you and you were forced into situations that were frightening or filled with potential conflict and upset from an adult. In the face of what the mind and body perceives as a threat, you naturally, want to be more helpful, liked, and willing to bend over backwards to avoid conflict.
But now you’re feeling like a doormat.
It’s so important to recognize that in order to cope, you’ve had to go about life in this way. This is how you’ve survived and gotten this far.
Trauma affects the way you understand and relate to your own boundaries. It doesn’t recognize that time has passed and keeps us operating in ways that helped us growing up but don’t always help us so much now.
Continuing with the same patterns and responses comes at the heavy price of forfeiting your needs, rights, and boundaries.
Signs of Difficulty Setting Boundaries
You probably already know this is something you’re struggling with. The following are just some signs of difficulty setting and keeping boundaries:
- You feel guilty or anxious when you think about setting boundaries.
- It feels overwhelming and exhausting to even consider putting any into place.
- When you think about setting boundaries, you worry about how others will perceive you or that they’ll judge you.
- Sometimes you feel resentful because it’s so hard to put them in place.
- You try to put boundaries in place but end up not doing so because you imagine a conflict or confrontation.
- It often feels like you don’t have a voice.
- It feels easier to be in people pleasing mode.
Therapy can help you make and keep boundaries.
Counseling for setting healthy boundaries can help you…
Challenge and change the negative opinions you have about yourself.
Believe you deserve to be respected and valued.
Set clear boundaries to communicate your limits and needs without feeling “confrontational.”
Feel safe when setting healthy boundaries.
Learn how to respond when triggered without immediately bowing down or giving into others’ needs.
Disconnect from the spiral of rumination such as, reviewing interactions with others when you set a boundary, and continuously thinking about what you did wrong, what you could have done better, what that person might be thinking, etc.
Step away from people pleasing tendencies.
How reasonable or fair is it to expect yourself to always be there for others first and not have needs of your own?
You deserve time for yourself and to put yourself first, even if everything within you tells you otherwise. You can learn to set healthy boundaries in ways that feel comfortable for you and that will have lasting, positive effects on your life at home, work, and in your relationships.
Start counseling for women needing help setting healthy boundaries in Austin by scheduling a consult today!
Other Counseling Services at Vita Counseling Center
How I Can Help
Trauma Therapy for Women
Childhood Trauma Therapy for Women
Birth & Labor Trauma Therapy
Counseling for Stress and Anxiety
Counseling for Healthy Boundaries
Therapy for Perfectionism
Online Mental Health Clinic
Online counseling is safe, secure, and effective. Vita Counseling Center’s online mental health clinic serves women who live in Texas, Oregon, and Arizona. Get the support you need and deserve.