Starting to set boundaries in your life and your relationships is a positive sign of your growth in recovery. That doesn’t mean it can’t still be scary! Establishing healthy limitations is a necessary practice when you are doing your best to heal from addiction, even though it is difficult.
What Are Healthy Boundaries?
Healthy boundaries are self-imposed rules that can aid in your recovery. They should be communicated to friends, family, and loved ones in order to be as effective as possible. Although these boundaries are established to influence positive change, not everyone will react in the same way to the “new” you. Here are the ways in which people in your life might react to your new assertiveness:
Negative Reactions to Setting Boundaries
Negative reactions to healthy boundaries often come from people who have not had healthy boundaries set in their lives. People who react negatively to healthy boundaries could have a personality disorder which doesn’t react well to boundaries and takes them personally. Or, they are resistant to change. Whatever the cause, if someone in your life reacts to your healthy boundaries in these way, that is a clear indication of a toxic situation. Now that you’re in recovery, you don’t have to stay in toxic relationships any longer. Some negative reactions to healthy boundaries can include:
- Anger: Setting a boundary might mean someone in your life can’t get away with certain measures of control anymore or situations which were unfair to you yet were beneficial to them. As a result they will react in offense.
- Blame: To some people, a boundary is a personal statement that they are not good enough, aren’t allowed to be themselves, or are being criticized. None of that is true. Such people tend to be codependent or needy of invading other people’s space. In response, they will blame you for whatever has been ailing you due to the lack of boundaries.
- Manipulation: The most subtle and telling response to healthy boundaries is manipulation. Through emotional displays, twisted arguments, or even toxic responses, manipulation is someone’s way of getting out of your boundaries and trying to make you forget about them.
- Removal: Taking boundaries to the extreme is walking away from them entirely. Someone who cannot handle boundaries in any kind of relationship will leave once they are set. For you in recovery, this can be painful and disappointing. Just remember that you are learning to live a healthier life today full of change and action.
Positive Reactions to Setting Boundaries
Healthy boundaries can often make more room in a relationship for two people to become closer in a balanced way. Reacting positively to a boundary might not always mean full compliance but at the least will involve a healthy conversation and creating compromises which work for both people. Being in healthy and loving relationships is important for recovery. Some of the positive reactions to healthy boundaries in recovery can include:
- Compliance: Someone who has no issue with a boundary and recognizes that it is necessary will have respect for your wishes. Compliance can sometimes come as a shock. Embrace the moment. You communicated well!
- Agreement: Agreement is typically the precursor to a discussion. Though they understand your need for boundaries and the function of them, they might want to more clearly communicate their side and make sure that they understand yours as well.
- Change: One of the greatest benefits of boundary settings is change. Typically, setting a healthy boundary results in healthy change. If you have noticed progressive change in your relationship, the boundaries are working well.
- Growth: Out of change comes growth. Growth is the most anyone in a relationship of any kind can ask for. The healthiest relationships are the ones who grow together.
Change can only happen as a result of taking action. If you are struggling with a drug addiction or alcohol problem it is time to take action in your life. Let the programs at Design For Change Recovery show you the way to hope and freedom. For more information, call us today at (877) 267-3646.