Practical Tips For Setting Boundaries – Part Two
Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
Last time, we started a discussion about setting boundaries. The first piece of the puzzle when setting boundaries is that we need to be able to use our voice and identify our feelings. If we can’t do that – then setting boundaries will be, well, difficult.
Once we hone in on what we need to feel safe, which involves knowing how we feel, we can then start to identify the boundaries we need to put into place. Setting boundaries can help in two different areas: 1) to help alleviate or reduce triggers and 2) to protect ourselves from our husband’s continued acting out. Boundaries should never be used to punish or hurt our husbands. The damage is done and even hurting our husbands won’t take the pain away.
Let’s start with triggers. A trigger can be defined as any situation, thought or feeling that causes us to feel fear and decreased safety within our marriage. Early on in our process, our counselor encouraged us to implement the “Five-Minute Rule”. If I called Jason, he had five minutes to return my call (if he didn’t pick up) or else i would assume the worst. This was a boundary that we put into place so that I wouldn’t be triggered when I couldn’t get a hold of Jason. And guess what grows out of our boundaries when we communicate them clearly to our husbands and they oblige? Trust!
(I use a five-step process for working through triggers in my groups. If you are reading this and would like for me to send you the five-step process, let me know and I’d be happy to send it your way!)
Now let me give you an example of a boundary put into place for the purpose of protecting ourselves from our husband continuing to act out. Just to be clear, a boundary won’t 100% of the time prevent our husband from acting out. Rather, it is something put into place for our safety and protection. Probably the most effective boundary I put into place early on with Jason was my request that we go to couples counseling at least once a week. Part of the requirement was that 1) I would ultimately decide if the counselor was the right fit for Jason and I and 2) Jason would be in charge of setting up and keeping the appointments. And once again, as Jason began to show me that he was responsible enough to schedule the appointments, make time for the appointments, and be present in the appointments – my trust started to grow!
If you are having trouble coming up with ideas for setting boundaries, I encourage you to check out Jason’s new book, Worthy of Her Trust. Chapters 11, 12, 13 and 18 are filled with ideas on setting boundaries. Check it out.
Next, let’s discuss what to do, in practical terms, when our husbands choose not to comply with the boundaries we have set. Is this the case for you? If so, I’d love to hear from you. xo-Shelley