The Importance of Boundaries

 In Recovery, Relationships

Life can sometimes feel powerless, and we can feel overwhelmed by responsibilities. That is why it is important to develop boundaries. Boundaries keep us safe and help us to easily identify unsafe people. This is important, especially when healing from a substance use disorder. Keeping safe people ensures that you are not being unnecessarily triggered. Treatment can be emotionally exhausting enough ensuring your emotional safety as you go through the process should be a priority.

What Are Boundaries?

According to the Veterans’ Administration, “A boundary is a border or limit which we set to protect ourselves. Personal boundaries may be physical or emotional and provide an important tool in protecting and caring for ourselves.” This is an important part of your self-care as you heal. Boundaries are not optional. When we don’t have boundaries we allow people to violate us, take advantage of us, and shape our lives. These are all things that can trigger mental health disorders such as substance use disorder. For people that already experience substance use disorder, lack of boundaries can worsen substance use or trigger a relapse. Boundaries are a matter of self-preservation, and anyone that does not respect or support your boundaries does not respect or support you.

This may not always be intentional, and as people are adjusting to your boundaries there is room for grace. However, there is zero-tolerance for intentional disrespect. When setting boundaries you must respect your boundaries. If you are not respecting your boundaries then it is kind of impossible to expect others to. A part of respecting your boundaries is enforcing them when people disrespect them. Boundary settings can end a lot of unsafe relationships. It can also expose unhealthy dynamics and offer people the ability to change.

How To Set And Reinforce Boundaries

Setting boundaries can be scary. It causes good and bad changes in all your relationships, causes loved ones to be emotionally reactive, and even pushes you to stay accountable to your needs. Boundaries can even change your relationship with yourself for the better. This can be a lot to process and even go through within the beginning, but as you keep going it gets easier. Even if it does not seem like it at first, you gain more than you lose when you set and enforce boundaries. It can be a freeing experience once you get accustomed to boundary setting.

It can be nerve-wracking trying to figure out how to set boundaries in the beginning, so here are a few tips and tricks to effective boundary setting:

  • Figure out what your boundaries are
  • Pay attention to your body and situations that leave you feeling uncomfortable. Sit in that discomfort, and figure out what you need to be able to engage in safe and comfortable ways.
  • Communicate when your boundaries are crossed
  • This can be scary to some, but when a person you love crosses a boundary, you have to tell them. When you tell them it can simply be in the form of “When you ___ I feel ____, And from now on in similar situations I need ______.”
  • Pay attention to the way the person responds when you communicate your boundaries
  • This tells you a lot about if a person is willing to do the necessary work to stay in a relationship with you. This can be any relationship, if someone seems to detest your boundaries automatically, they have no plans on respecting them.
  • If your boundaries are crossed again, by the same person, it may be time to reconsider that relationship.
  • Setting boundaries can expose unsafe people and relationships. If a person refuses to respect your boundaries, they are unsafe. It is not healthy to keep unsafe people in your life, and if they truly are unsafe you should end the relationship.
  • Appreciate the people that respect your boundaries, appreciate the lessons that come from those who don’t.
  • Good people can feel rare sometimes. When you find people that love, care, and uplift you it is important to make sure they know how much you love and appreciate them.

Boundaries: A Safe Space

People will treat you exactly how you allow them to, and that is what boundaries teach you. A lot of people spend a lot of time feeling disempowered in their lives, doing things that they may not necessarily want to do. That is why it is imperative to create a standard for how you expect to be treated and require people to abide by it to be in your life.

Setting boundaries can feel meaningful in the beginning and it can even feel like you are putting a wedge in your relationships. Once you experience the freeing feeling of living your life on your terms and only giving what you want to give instead of overextending, it can be very hard to live any other way. Mountain Peak Recovery understands the benefits of setting boundaries in treatment. That is why we want to help you through the process. Our facility promotes self-sufficiency and a setting effective between staff and clients. We offer ample opportunities for boundaries to be set within the community so that everyone is harmonious and respectful. We want to help our clients as they begin their new journey in any way we can. If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, call Mountain Peak Recovery today at (801) 824-8829 and let us help you.

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