Setting boundaries how to draw the line when you have no idea where to put it

Setting boundaries how to draw the line when you have no idea where to put it

How do you ensure self-care? In the world of Psychology, it is called- healthy boundaries. When we talk about having boundaries in our lives and relationships, we are talking about what is acceptable and what is not, to be a functional and a healthy self. It leads to a sense of ownership knowing what you own and take responsibility for and where it ends.

To set boundaries one needs to communicate and voice out their needs. This becomes easier for us and for the other person because the world cannot have an insight into our inner world. Are you creating a wall or establishing boundaries in a relationship? Creating a wall means living as if the painful past must continue to be a present reality. It is assumed to be protected but limits all the positive outcomes. Walls are the construction of loneliness and isolation and give a false sense of safety. To put it in a simpler word wall is a barrier to new possibilities. In contrast, A boundary provides an unlimited potential to secure a future of hope healing and thriving. It is a line you draw around yourself that prevents pain and suffering of the past from perpetuating itself. It is an understanding of your own threshold of giving or sharing your resources like time, energy, money, and managing priorities.

The main difference between a wall and boundary is that you draw later for a more sustainable relationship and connection with self and others.

How to know your boundaries?

  • Being aware of your needs.
  • Being aware of what hurts you.
  • Being aware of what you like and prefer.
  • Learning to distinguish between what is acceptable and what is not.
  • And stating them out.
  • Because it is an external expression of our internal self-affirmation.

Types Of Boundaries

So our boundaries can come in various forms. Because we are humans we are filled with a myriad of feelings. And there is nothing to be ashamed of, this is our quality. It will manifest in our relationships, in our privacy, our openness to things, our beliefs and ideas.

In short, all that covers us emotionally, mentally and physically. So it really requires you to be aware of how you function and what is conducive for you to maintain your sanity. Else you will more often than not find yourself blending in with the requirement of the other person, and lose your sense of individuality.

Now it is not easy to set these boundaries because we may feel guilty for doing so or have a fear that the relationship may go down and I may hurt the other person. But this is a risk you have to take, else you will be disconnected with yourself.

When we talk about setting boundaries we do that carefully– by voicing out our feelings assertively, and politely enough by not hurting the other person, and by not violating their boundaries.


Time Boundaries: “I really want to spend more time with you, but I have some work to complete hence can only stay for an hour.”

Physical Boundaries: “I understand you like to express yourself through physical gestures, however, I am not really a hug person so if you can keep that in mind it would be great”.

Conversational Boundaries: “I understand you wish to know about my past, but can we take it slow because I am not yet in an emotional space to talk about it.”

Intellectual Boundaries: “I understand you have strong views about a few things, however, I would like if you could hear out my views and regard them equally important.”

Relationship Boundaries: “There might be times that you may feel hurt by me, I would expect you to tell me instead of passively reacting so that I am aware of your feelings and we can resolve it.”

Emotional Boundaries: “I know you don’t want me to feel jealous but I cannot help with that right now. It will take some time for me to deal with it and I expect patience and transparency from you which can make it easier for me.”

Signs Your Boundaries Are Getting Violated

After having read about boundaries reflect what kind of boundaries have you set at home, in your relationships, at work, at the gym, in social situations, etc.

Look for signs –

  • Are you feeling emotionally/mentally exhausted?
  • Are you feeling dissatisfied?
  • Are you a giver in your relationship?
  • Are you able to manage your time?
  • Are you able to achieve goals?

These are not just with people, but gentle reminders we set for ourselves too. Sometimes we can be neglectful to our own needs and may end up being close-knit with people or being isolated.

The idea is to maintain a balance and that will come naturally from within.

So, identify your boundaries and see how you can re-establish them to have a more healthy life.

Connect with our therapist if you have any questions, and need help in improving your relationship with self & others.

Seeking help is a sign of courage. Don’t let self-limiting beliefs hold you back from a life you deserve. Avail online therapy to become happier and better. Learn how

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Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in weight management and eating behaviors.

Setting boundaries how to draw the line when you have no idea where to put it

Setting boundaries aren’t always easy. The process itself—letting people know where your needs and limits are—can often be stressful, especially for those who aren’t used to it.

When people are used to relationship boundaries that are at a certain point, they can put up a fight if you try to change your boundaries with them, and people (like children) often try to test boundaries among one another. This can all be stressful, especially when you take into account the toll of conflict on stress levels.

However, the end result can be well worth it: relationships that involve greater levels of mutual respect, that meet the needs of all parties involved, and that create much less stress for everyone.

The first step in setting boundaries is to gain an understanding of where your own personal boundaries lie. How comfortable are you with people getting close to you and taking certain liberties with you?

Often, your first clue is the feeling you get when your boundaries have been violated. Because different people have different boundaries, something that bothers others may not bother you, and vice versa. Therefore, it’s important to communicate to others where your comfort levels (and discomfort levels) lie so that people with different boundaries may be able to keep from violating yours.

The following are general guidelines to help you to become more aware of your own personal boundaries.

Signs You Need to Work on Boundaries

  • You feel resentful of people asking too much of you, and it seems to happen often.
  • You find yourself saying yes to things you’d rather not do, just to avoid upsetting or disappointing others.
  • You find yourself feeling resentful because you are doing more for others than they are doing for you.
  • You tend to keep most people at an arm’s length because you are afraid of letting people get too close and overwhelming you.
  • You find yourself feeling that most of what you do is for other people—and they may not even appreciate it that much.
  • The stress you feel from disappointing others is greater than the stress of doing things that inconvenience or drain you in an effort to please them.

Questions to Ask Yourself

There are additional questions you should ask yourself when you are looking at specific choices you can make, rather than your feelings in general, that can help you to decide whether or not a boundary needs to be set.

The following questions can help you to clarify your boundaries in specific situations, and navigate through future ones:

  • If nobody would be disappointed, would you prefer to say yes or no?
  • Looking at all the benefits and costs of this situation (both tangible and intangible), is it worth the effort to say yes?
  • Would you feel comfortable posing the same request to someone else?
  • If people would be upset with you if you said no, do you truly feel that they are coming from a respectful, reasonable place? (And, if not, might it be time to start setting some limits?)
  • Is this a precedent you want to set? (And, if not, where would be a reasonable place to draw the line?)
  • Think of someone you feel has very healthy boundaries—the kind you would like to emulate. How do you think they would respond in this situation?

Once you’ve determined how you are feeling, you can decide if you do indeed wish to set a boundary. In a perfect world, once we are aware of where our personal comfort zones lie, we need simply to communicate that information to others, and a relationship boundary is set.

However, quite often in the real world, boundary-setting involves some negotiation, and it doesn’t always go smoothly. People have boundaries of their own that may not match, and they may push for greater distance or closeness for their own reasons.

Changing boundaries from the status quo can also cause people to react by trying to reinforce the previous or existing boundaries, sometimes in ways that make us uncomfortable. In this way, setting boundaries can be a struggle.

Because we need to think of our own needs as well as the needs and reactions of others, it’s important to be circumspect in setting boundaries.

The questions you ask yourself when discovering where your personal boundaries lie are different from the questions you may ask yourself when deciding where to actually set your boundaries.

When you set your boundaries in specific situations, you need to take into account practical factors like the “cost” of setting boundaries. They also allow you to be clear on issues such as guilt (should you feel guilty?) and motivation (is it worth it?), so you can move forward with the least amount of stress.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What is fair here?
  • If you were in the position of the other person, would your solution still appear to be fair?
  • Have you committed to this, or is this an expectation that the other person is placing on you?
  • Is there another solution here that could be more win-win?
  • Does the act of making a change or setting a boundary create more stress than it might alleviate in the long run?
  • When you imagine the results a year from now, do you get a sense that this would be a better solution than what you have now?
  • If you are setting a boundary and feel the other person is unreasonable in fighting the boundary, are you willing to let the relationship go rather than feel hurt by the boundary mismatch?

It is important to note that you will likely be weighing your own feelings more heavily than the feelings of others because you must live with the consequences of your decisions.

You are also the one who will have to live with the consequences of your choices. Ultimately, we all have our own comfort levels for boundaries, but these questions provide food for thought.

Although this may be stressful in the moment, once you decide to set boundaries and/or put the boundaries into place, it minimizes some of the stress. Working on boundary-setting strategies and assertive communication techniques can bring some positive results to your life.​

Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares tips on how to set boundaries.

Setting boundaries how to draw the line when you have no idea where to put itWeak emotional boundaries are amongst the most confusing of psychological issues because it is very difficult to self-diagnose weak boundaries.

Because the emotional boundaries (rules, expectations, protocol) that set the stage for our relationships are initially formed when we are very young children, typically between the ages of 3-4, whichever boundaries are naturally formed become the reality within which we operate, at least until we mature enough to question it. This usually doesn’t happen until our late 20’s or early 30’s if it happens at all.

What are emotional boundaries?

Like physical boundaries, emotional boundaries define separateness. Your emotional boundaries are the property lines that separate your thoughts and feelings from those of other people. If you are confused as to where to draw the line, you cannot avoid emotional and relational troubles. It is like living in a crowded neighborhood with a lot of communal property and some private property, with residents having no idea how to distinguish one type of property from the other. Chaos ensues that has no end until the right lines are drawn, rules set and order established.

Signs and symptoms of weak emotional boundaries.

Diagnosing weak boundaries is not a physical or intellectual matter. It is a matter of knowing the inevitable signs and understanding why they occur. Like gravity, you cannot see an emotional boundary or lack thereof, but you can see and experience the results. You may live with weak emotional boundaries if:

You’re easily overwhelmed emotionally.

This can happen if you don’t instinctively know where to draw the lines of emotional responsibility between self and other. You may be carrying the burden of others’ emotions for which you aren’t responsible. For the most part, if you are clear about where to take responsibility and where your emotional responsibility ends, you can usually manage your emotions without getting overwhelmed.

You are socially anxious.

It is natural for someone with weak emotional boundaries to walk into a room and believe everyone notices or cares. You may even think you know what they are thinking about you, what judgments they cast and so forth. This leads to terrible self-consciousness and social anxiety. Responding as if you know what is in the minds and hearts of other people is a fundamental boundary confusion issue.

You seek approval.

Unable to distinguish your emotions (that you can control) from the emotions of others (that you cannot control) you seek to win over others by pleasing them or casting yourself in a favorable light. Craving approval can run your life.

It comes from not having the experience that you have no idea what others may be thinking and that it is not your responsibility regardless. Unable to separate your self-worth from what you believe others are thinking about you, you are highly motivated to impress.

Both the seeking approval and the socially anxious boundary issues are self-sabotaging behaviors that are derived from a rejection attachment. A rejection attachment gets triggered when we unwittingly seek out rejection from others.

When we are determine, through social anxiety, to feel others are rejecting us right from the start we are, in term, rejecting ourselves. When we seek to over-please people because we fear being rejected, we are inviting rejection from them.

We aren’t consciously aware this is what we are doing, yet the result proves this attachment to rejection because the result is ultimately ending in rejection. Understanding this self-sabotage allows us to make other choices on how to behave where we are no longer seeking rejection but getting what we consciously want to receive, acceptance. Learn more about attachments here.


If you are not clear where you end and others begin, then you may suffer from narcissism. Narcissists cannot sense their impact of their behaviors on other people because they do not understand that others’ emotions are real to them, as there is no boundary in place that distinguishes self from other.

Without this understanding, you can’t imagine what other people may be experiencing and a fundamentally narcissistic point of view is the only one available to you.

Boundaries may be the deepest, most confusing psychological issue we face. They influence every interaction. Recognizing boundaries and respecting them is the basis of any health relationship. Boundaries can become clearer when we understand we have confused them.

We have found boundaries issues have their root in psychological attachments. These attachments show themselves in self-sabotaging behaviors such as the ones explained above.

To learn more about attachments and how understanding them can help you or others become clear on where you end and others begin, watch a free video that explains them. You will find this is the key to eliminating this self-sabotaging behavior and helping others become aware as well.

Setting boundaries how to draw the line when you have no idea where to put it

In the book From Stressed to Centered: A Practical Guide to a Healthier and Happier You (Sea Hill Press, 2015,) authors Dana Gionta and Dan Guerra discuss how you can manage stress levels in order to live a more peaceful, fulfilling life. In the following edited excerpt, they explain the importance of establishing both personal and professional boundaries.

“True strength is found in standing firm, yet bending gently.” –Author unknown.

A great way to increase our sense of control and reduce our stress is by setting boundaries.

What is a boundary, you ask, and why are they important? In essence, a boundary is a limit defining you in relationship to someone or to something. Boundaries can be physical and tangible or emotional and intangible. You may not be familiar with the “B” word, however, I (Dana) bet you have used and heard the concept of it before. If you have ever told someone that “I draw the line here,” then you have already set a boundary! If you have informed someone that this is your office space, your desk oryour designated chair (and who hasn’t), you have attempted to set physical boundaries. Another clear example of a physical boundary is a fence, showing the border of our yard to our neighbors. It is often easier to understand a physical boundary. Emotional or mental boundaries may be a bit subtler; however, they are equally, if not more, important.

Boundaries serve many functions. They help to protect us, to clarify what is our responsibility and what is another’s, to preserve our physical and emotional energy, to stay focused on ourselves, to live our values and standards, and to identify our personal limits.

1. Identify Your Limits

The first step in setting boundaries is getting clear about what your limits are–emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, etc. You do this by paying increased attention to yourself and noticing what you can tolerate and accept as well as what makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed. These feelings will help you clarify your limits. It is important to remember that your limits are personal–your own–and therefore, they are likely to be different than the limits that others have (our friends, family members, colleagues etc.). Although challenging, it is most helpful if you do your best not to compare your limits with others’ limits.

What I may be willing or easily able to accept, may make you feel quite uncomfortable. This is then an important boundary for you. A recent example of bumping into a limit was a work opportunity that unexpectedly presented itself to me. I initially thought it would be an easy fit given my health expertise. However, I underestimated the effects of my personal history of loss, and how much this particular work setting would trigger these feelings. I knew immediately I had encountered a professional limit with the extremely strong feelings of discomfort that arose in me. I honored those feelings–my limit–and declined this work opportunity. Someone with a different personal history would most likely find this to be a wonderful professional opportunity.

The employer also respected my boundaries by not trying to persuade me to reconsider or to do it on a trial or part-time basis. Efforts to influence me to take the position, after I clearly stated I was very uncomfortable with the nature of the position, would have demonstrated a lack of consideration for my boundaries.

2. Pay Attention to Your Feelings

There are three key feelings that are often red flags or cues that you need to either set boundaries in a particular situation or that you are letting your boundaries slip (and not maintaining them). These feelings are (1) discomfort, (2) resentment, or (3) guilt. You can think of these feelings as cues to yourself that a boundary issue may be present. If a particular situation, person, or area of your life is leading you to feel uncomfortable, resentful, or guilty, and it has happened several times, this is an important cue.

For example, resentment often develops from feelings of being taken advantage of or not being appreciated. It’s often a signal that you are extending yourself beyond your own limits because you feel guilty or want to be considered a good parent, spouse, sibling, child, friend, or employee. Another common contributor is someone else imposing their expectations, views, or values on you.

To determine how much attention the situation warrants and whether a boundary may need to be set, it is often helpful to think of these feelings on a continuum. For example, when a situation happens, ask yourself, “How uncomfortable, resentful, or guilty am I feeling now?” Rate your answer on a scale of 1-10 (10 highest). If your level of discomfort is a 3, you can consider this to be in the lower zone, having a mild affect on your emotions. Ratings of 4-6 are in the medium zone, indicating a more significant effect on you. Scores between 7 and 10 are considered in the high zone. As we discussed, boundaries are designed to protect you and your overall well-being. In this regard, consider setting a boundary if you are consistently rating a personal interaction or situation in the medium to high zone.

3. Give Yourself Permission to Set Boundaries

The biggest obstacles often experienced at some point, when considering setting a boundary, are the feelings of fear, guilt, and self-doubt–the anti-boundary musketeers–that show up. You might fear how the person will respond (e.g., angry, hurt) if you set and enforce your boundaries. You might feel guilty about speaking up or saying no to a family member or friend.

Often, people feel they should be able to cope with a situation and say yes, because that is what a good sibling, friend, or spouse would do. You may believe this despite the evidence that it is not good for you, leading you to feel drained and overextended at best, and taken advantage of at worst. You may question whether you even have the right or deserve to set boundaries in the first place. When these doubts occur, reaffirm to yourself that you do indeed have this right, so give yourself the permission to do so, and work to preserve them.

4. Consider Your Environment

When I was in training as a marriage and family therapist, one of the most valuable lessons I learned about human behavior was the incredible power of context.

The environment you are in, for example, serves as your context, and can have a strong influence on your behaviors, attitudes, and perceptions. Family and work environments are two examples of powerful contexts. Social circles are another. Why is it important to consider your environment when it comes to setting boundaries, you may be wondering? Your environment can either support your setting boundaries–making it easier for you–or present obstacles to boundary setting–making it more challenging for you. For example, consider your social circle of close friendships. Are these relationships generally reciprocal, with a natural give and take? Or do they feel lopsided, with you more often giving than receiving? If more lopsided, it will likely be more uncomfortable, and therefore more challenging, for you to begin to set boundaries or to maintain existing ones in these relationships.

Emily is a fact checker, editor, and writer who has expertise in psychology content.

Setting boundaries how to draw the line when you have no idea where to put it

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It’s not uncommon for individuals living with an addiction to have problems with boundaries. For the people who love and care about them, establishing and enforcing healthy boundaries can be a challenge. The process can be painful and guilt-inducing. When a person with an addiction is struggling, those closest to them are often willing to allow otherwise problematic behaviors in order to help their loved one find their way. Unfortunately, this often means letting the person “cross the line” when it comes to certain completely inappropriate behaviors.

What Are Boundaries?

Simply put, boundaries are limits to what is acceptable or can be tolerated in a relationship. In the literal sense of the word, a boundary is a dividing line that separates one area from another and one that can be marked by a physical barrier like a fence or a road. Without the physical marker, it may not be clear exactly where one area ends and the other begins. In a similar way, when we use the word boundary to describe limits and rules in relationships, some judgment is needed to decide which behaviors “cross the line.” Herein lies the difficulty that people living with an addiction and their loved ones have with boundaries in their relationships.

Boundaries and Addiction

Boundaries are very individual, but people with substance addictions and those close to them often have problems with respecting boundaries. Often, areas of difficulty for boundary setting surround the very substances and behaviors at the center of the addiction.

Substance abuse and addiction often raise issues of legality that should be addressed with firm boundaries. Common areas where boundaries should be set include:

  • Prohibiting drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs.
  • Bringing controlled drugs into someone else’s home or vehicle, as this can have legal consequences for the owner.
  • Touching another person with unwelcome sexual or aggressive intent.
  • Using someone else as an alibi to cover up illegal activities.

It is never acceptable to implicate another person in illegal activities. Beyond setting boundaries surrounding illegal behaviors, boundaries can and should also be set around issues of safety, health, and even comfort. You define the boundaries in your relationships.

Boundaries for Smoking

Smoking in someone else’s presence, around their children, or in their home are common boundaries for nonsmokers. Smoking is known to cause harm even to nonsmokers. Now it’s known that not just secondhand smoke but thirdhand smoke (contaminants on the walls, carpet, and other surfaces after a smoking session) is hazardous to health. Personal preference and comfort are also perfectly legitimate rationale for strict boundaries.

People with a nicotine addiction may have difficulties with adhering to strict boundaries around their smoking behaviors.

When deciding on your boundaries when it comes to smoking, remember that it is completely justified if you feel it should always be off-limits in your presence.

Boundaries for Alcohol and Drugs

Setting limits on just how much alcohol consumption is acceptable to each person in the relationship is tricky, and attempting to control what and how much can be consumed can lead to struggle. In the case where the person with an alcohol or drug addiction may not feel or admit that they have a problem, requesting limits can feel both futile and frustrating. The person with an addiction may be unable and unwilling to communicate in a meaningful way because they are under the influence.

Where drinking and drug use are concerned, you must decide what kinds of behavior are acceptable in your home. Then you must clearly communicate your expectations.

Setting and Enforcing Your Boundaries

The first step is to set your boundary; the next step is to enforce it. Define and discuss what is acceptable before the communication efforts become stalled or potentially veer into verbal or emotional abuse. Use “I” statements to express your boundaries directly, honestly, and respectfully. Then, be prepared to clearly state when you feel that the line is being crossed and even to remove yourself from the situation if your boundaries aren’t respected. Enforcing your boundaries may require enforcing consequences for behavior that violates the boundary.

Boundary setting is hard, but it beats the alternative.

I’m still figuring out how to do boundaries well. Like many people, I’m pretty good at setting a boundary. But once that boundary is crossed, I get flummoxed.

I usually resent it when someone steps on my boundaries because they’re putting me in a position where I have to speak up for myself.

And that’s uncomfortable.

So I’m continually working on boundaries in my personal life, and what I’ve discovered is that there’s no reward for doing a good job.

When I manage to say no to someone (or put limits on how much I give) despite my guilty feelings about doing so, nobody gives me a medal.

I’m more likely to get a sour look than a prize for holding my boundaries.

That’s what makes boundary maintenance so difficult.

What it comes down to, though, is a hard decision. I ask myself this:

Do I want to tolerate potential conflict by defending my boundaries, or do I want to feel resentful every time I let someone cross them?

Here’s what I’ve learned about boundaries, and much of it I’m still getting the hang of…

Tips for Better Boundaries

1. Get clear on exactly what the boundary is. Where are you going to draw the line? Is it okay for your roommate to eat your food as long as she replaces it? Or is it simply not okay for her to touch your stuff?

If you’re not clear on what your boundaries are, others won’t be either.

2. Decide on consequences ahead of time. What will happen if someone crosses a boundary? If there are no consequences, there might as well be no boundaries. Will you stop talking to them? Remove privileges? Go home? Withdraw financial support? Or simply call out their behavior?

Something needs to happen when others step on your toes. What will it be?

3. Expect violations. You can be absolutely certain that if you set a new boundary with people who already know you, that boundary will be tested. That means repeated violations despite your protests. What are you going to do about it?

The results of testing will be one of two outcomes: Either you’ll prove that you don’t really mean it, or you’ll demonstrate that you do.

4. Be consistent. Testing takes place over time. If it’s not okay to call you names today, it shouldn’t be okay tomorrow. Your boundaries must not change with your mood, or you can’t blame others for being confused about what’s acceptable.

Just as with parenting, rules need to be consistent to be taken seriously. Every time you allow a boundary to be violated without consequences, you’re back to square one.

5. Get used to it. Boundary-setting is not a single-shot deal. Once you set a boundary, the long-term work of defending that boundary begins.

Accept your responsibility for speaking up and making sure that there are consequences every single time a boundary is crossed.

Some people will “get it” right away, others will take longer, and one or two may decide never to respect a particular boundary. That’s okay; they’ll have to get used to the consequences.

(But you might just be surprised how often old dogs can learn new tricks with consistent training.)

6. Don’t blame others for violating your boundaries. First, people don’t necessarily know where you stand, even if you think they should.

Second, each of us is responsible for looking after our own interests. If I’m an adult, it’s no one’s job but mine to make sure I’m not disrespected, abused, taken advantage of, manipulated, or anything else that affects my well-being.

(Children, of course, need adults to protect them from these transgressions.)

But what about close relationships, you ask? Shouldn’t family and friends respect each other’s boundaries?

Why should I have to defend myself against boundary crossings by the very people who are supposed to love me?

In close relationships, it’s customary to try to respect each other’s boundaries. But we do this as a courtesy, not as an obligation, and nobody’s perfect.

Let me know how it goes if you put these into practice.

Or don’t. It’s up to you, of course. I can respect that.

When tough love serves your adult child’s best interests.

Over the years, I have repeatedly seen how it is easier to build a child than it is to repair an adult. As I write in my book, 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child, healthy boundaries between children and their parents are crucial for children to become healthy adults. Boundaries with our children and teens must, of course, come from a place of love, compassion, and respect—that is for sure.

Setting boundaries with our adult children, especially those who are articulate, manipulative, and can present very persuasive arguments, can be very challenging. Does helping your adult child tend to become a pattern of unhealthy rescuing? If you try to “save” your adult child every time he or she is in trouble, you may be making things worse in the long run. Do you struggle with knowing where to draw that fine (or not so fine) line between letting him learn how to stand on his own two feet and bailing him out? Parents, for sure, need to be thoughtful about how to assist their adult children without enabling them.

Adult children who remain overly dependent on their parents often are allowed to get into this situation because their parents enable them. Perhaps this relationship dynamic stems from parents who want to be needed. Setting boundaries with your adult child can sometimes be the best thing to do, even when it is hard to say, “I am here to listen and here’s what I can offer, but I also think you will feel better about yourself if you figure this out on your own.”

Recently, a colleague of mine revealed that his 26-year-old son had called him one night a year ago in a crisis. Apparently this young man had used drugs and was kicked out of the sober living facility that he was living in at that time. My colleague, who had a history of getting sucked into a myriad of past crises with his son, calmly told his son that he’d have to figure this out on his own. When my colleague shared this story with peers, they were very critical of him.

As it turns out, recently, his son shared with my colleague that his strong boundaries and limits had helped him realize that it was time to stop the madness. Over the past year, this young man has held steady employment, maintained sobriety, paid for his own sober living facility, and is assuming responsibility for his financial debts.

Obviously, every family’s circumstances are different. Yet over my 25 years as a psychologist, the adage, “Give a person a fish, she will have dinner; teach her how to fish, she will never go hungry,” rings more true than ever.

Whether you’ve got a 35-year-old daughter who keeps asking for money while falsely claiming she will pay you back, or a 25-year-old son who just can’t keep a job, adult children who behave immaturely can be stressful. I have seen many sad stories in my office of families with children over age 21 (in one case age 44!) who still are overly dependent on their parents. It can be very challenging for parents to set limits with adult children who have become overly dependent. The parents often feel drained and emotionally depleted. They want their child to be happy on his own, yet they live in fear of not doing enough to help their child get there. This is by no means an easy situation!

In some cases, these adult children may have significant mental health issues, including addictions, which need to be addressed. At the same time, mental health treatment does not have to be mutually exclusive from the adult child contributing to their recovery in any way they can. Too many times, however, I see parents overly rescuing their children from their problems. While it may feel good for parents to do this, the implicit (or even explicit) message to the child is, “You’re not competent to make it on your own.” Parents in this situation can help themselves to be mindful of enabling their child by being carefully considering the following questions:

• Does your child now act entitled to, and demand, things you once enjoyed giving—car privileges, gifts, perks at home, or rent money?

• Does it feel like you are living from crisis to crisis with your adult child?

• Do you sacrifice too much to meet your adult child’s needs?

• Are you afraid of hurting your child?

• Are you feeling burdened, used, resentful, or burnt out?

Encouraging Them To Live In Their Own Skin—Skin That’s Also in The Game

As children either graduate or quit school, they need to increasingly have “skin in the game” and strive toward being self-sufficient. This does not mean parents should abruptly put their adult child on the street. At the same time, the adult child needs to “own” his or her goals and plans to become self-reliant.

Sometimes, crises occur that send children back home such as a bad breakup, problems at college, or health issues. This is acceptable as long as there is a plan in place for the adult child to become independent.

Try not to be adversarial as you encourage your child to become more independent. The goal is to be supportive and understanding with a collaborative mindset. Be calm, firm, and non-controlling in your demeanor as you express these guiding expectations below to motivate your adult child toward healthy independence:

1. Encourage working children to contribute part of their pay for room and board.

2. Don’t indiscriminately give money. Providing spending money should be contingent on children’s efforts toward independence.

3. Develop a response that you can offer in the event that you are caught off guard. Agree that you won’t give an answer for a certain time period, whether it be the next morning or at least for 24 hours. For example, the next time you get an urgent call that says, “I need money,” respond by saying, “I’ll have to talk it over with your father,” (or, if you are single, “I’ll have to think it over”) and we’ll get back to you tomorrow.” This will allow you time to consider it and give you a chance to think and talk about it beforehand. It will also show that you are remaining steady in your course while presenting a united front.

4. Agree on a time limit on how long children can remain at home.

5. If you can afford it, offer to help pay starting costs of rent on an apartment.

6. Make an agreement for decreasing contributions to rent until the child is fully responsible.

7. Remember that you always have the right to say, “I changed my mind” about a previous promise.

8. Set limits on how much time you spend helping your child resolve crises. Encourage the child to problem-solve by asking, “What are your ideas?”

9. Remember you are not in a popularity contest. Be prepared for your child to reject you. He or she will most likely come around later.

10. Attend support groups if your child has a substance abuse or emotional problem. Only give spending money to an adult child consistently involved in treatment.

Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein is a psychologist, personal and executive coach, and motivational speaker in the greater Philadelphia area. He has been on the Today Show, radio, and has written four popular books, including 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child. You can also follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

MJB Seminars опубликовал(-а) видео в плейлисте Podcast: Dorothy and the Dealer.

Do you know the reason you’re always saying 🤔 .

Yes. Okay. No worries. Can do. Too easy. Sure thing. Alright.

Even when you know you should be saying the opposite, these words just seem to kind of… tumble out. ❓ 🙋

It’s because setting boundaries is all about 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜. And one thing only. 💡 🥺

Okay… we’ll give you a hint. 🤫

It’s the thing that you have to try and rebuild, every time you cross a line you’ve drawn, or break an agreement you’ve made. It’s why you end up feeling bad.

And it often causes people to confuse kindness with weakness.

Want to know what it is. Then listen to this episode NOW!

(But first… try and guess below)

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Q&A: with our Head Coach Mike Johnston

We are not our behaviour. Our behaviour is just the outcome of our emotional states. we create them internally. We are in control of this as sure as anything else.

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Taking conscious control of our emotions.

MJB Seminars опубликовал(-а) видео в плейлисте Podcast: Dorothy and the Dealer.

Spotlight On Client, Lisa Lucas – Dorothy and the Dealer- Episode 101

“I don’t have time to worry about what other people think of me. Because the ones that really care about me are behind me, egging me on.” 🙌 🤩

Yep, Lisa Lucas doesn’t care what you think about her. 🙅‍♀️

It’s not because of ego, or that she has a thick skin. It’s not even because she’s so busy kicking ass as a mum and Nurse of the Year.

It’s because she’s learned to love all parts of herself, unconditionally, and is grateful – even for those bits she didn’t want to own. ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

Listen in 👂 to this week’s episode of Dorothy and the Dealer to find out how her time with MJB Seminars has led to changes in her finances, marriage, parenting, and more! 😮

And how you too, can learn not to put stock in… Ещё

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Demystifying the Law Of Attraction.
(How understanding it allows you to use it to your advantage 😉 👏 )

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Q&A: With Our Head Coach Mike Johnston – Fear & Experience

Fear, taking action, experience. mastery.

MJB Seminars опубликовал(-а) видео в плейлисте Podcast: Dorothy and the Dealer.

We Made A Century – Dorothy And The Dealer – Episode 100


That’s right… If Dorothy and the Dealer were a person, today they’d be receiving their special letter from the Queen.

It certainly feels like a century 💯 since we started.

After all, during that time we’ve been through:

🦠 One pandemic
🇮🇳 Several incredible trips to India
💖 Dozens and dozens of transformational seminars
🤣 And who knows how many arguments

And we’re still kicking! So, join us in this special ⭐ celebratory ⭐ episode, as we go over our favourite guests (John Gray), and what they taught us (Wayyyyyy too inappropriate to mention here…) 🤭

As well as why we started our podcast, how it got its name, and who the inspiring experts are that we can’t… Ещё

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MJB Seminars опубликовал(-а) видео в плейлисте Podcast: Guest Appearances.

Mitch and Mills Guest star on Sasha Karabut’s Leap Of Faith Podcast

Love listening to Mitch and Mills on Dorothy and the Dealer?

Well, this week they’ve been invited to chat with Push Peak Founder and Business Coach Sasha Karabut, on his latest Leap of Faith podcast episode. 🎧

Listen in to hear the trio talk about how our innermost dominating thought creates our outermost dominating reality, as well as their various ‘Leap of Faith’ moments ❤️ , and the hard-hitting truths about their values, inspirations, and motivations.

Setting boundaries how to draw the line when you have no idea where to put it

Boundaries are more than just lines on a map. In relationships, they are mandatory codes of conduct that need to be respected. It’s where we draw the line on what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

It’s a fact that you teach people how to treat you and whether it’s with family, friends, co-workers, or lovers, everyone must have boundaries. They are necessary because, well let’s face it, not everyone is playing with the same moral deck. There are a lot of very unhealthy people out there, who make a habit of projecting their issue s onto others and it’s our job to protect our self-esteem and that’s where boundaries come in.

You may have a massively insecure co-worker that is always trying to put you down, to make them feel big. You may have an incredibly critical mother, that thinks her hurtful words are beneficial, or you may be involved with an abusive mate, that seeks to control you by attacking your self-esteem.

The Need for Boundaries

I used to be a massive people pleaser. I considered myself easy going and I believed that if someone had to be hurt, or put out in any way, it was better that, that someone was me. I was more interested in keeping the peace than being right. I thought I was being the bigger person and taking the high road by accepting other people’s bad behavior. After all don’t people always say, “I’d rather be happy, than right.”

That statement only rings true when your self-esteem is not under attack, because if someone is hurting your feelings, then let’s be honest, you’re not happy. I used to watch women that stood up for themselves and I’d think, wow she’s massively high maintenance and I may have even used the “b” word to describe them.

I grew up with an incessantly critical mother. I could never please her and her stinging remarks really did a number on my self-esteem. She would follow up hurtful comments with the phrase, “I’m only trying to help you,” as if that was supposed to automatically erase the pain, shame and guilt she caused me.

I followed that up with dating men that had issues and would seek to control, isolate and abuse my sense of self-worth to make themselves feel better. I never had boundaries in my relationships and I learned that men test you in the beginning, to see just how far they can push you. And if you don’t have limits, then you are allowing them to disrespect you and that shows them, that you don’t respect yourself, so it gives them carte blanche to continue to do so.

I had a friend who had explained to me that early in her relationship with her spouse, while they were still dating, he had called her a bad name, like stupid or idiot. She spoke up immediately and said “If you’re going to call me names I’m going to leave.” He apologized immediately and he hasn’t called her any names since. She taught him right out of the gate, that if you want to be with me, then you are going to treat me with respect – flat out.

Had I understood about the importance of boundaries earlier I would have said to my mother, “Mom, what you are saying is not helping me. It’s hurtful and if you insist on talking to me that way, then I’m really not interested in spending time with you,” and if that didn’t change her behavior, I would have followed it up by actually not spending time with her.

If you don’t let someone know their behavior is inappropriate it will continue. You must communicate directly and immediately following the
incident, that this behavior is not acceptable. And if it does continue, then you follow it up with immediate action, like ending your involvement with that person, because they are then showing you that they are the type of person that does not respect boundaries.

I have learned that my self-esteem is like the gold in Fort Knox. It is extremely valuable and mine to protect. No one, regardless of their issues, has any right to try to sneak out a few bars, so that their own pile gets a little larger at the expense of mine.

“Standing up for yourself and enforcing boundaries does not make you a bitch. It makes you someone that loves and respects yourself.”

When you create boundaries it lets other people know where you stand on you, how you expect to be treated and that there are consequences for crossing those boundaries.

Beware the Faux Boundary

When I was a little girl my big brother used to annoy me quite a bit and I would always say, “Stop it.” He was so much bigger and stronger than me, he would laugh and say, “Or what, you’ll say stop again?”

If you don’t enforce your boundaries with immediate action then your words are empty and people will not take you seriously. Messing around when you are young with your siblings, who love you, is one thing, but when you get into relationships with men you don’t know, it’s your responsibility to teach them how you expect to be treated. The clues about who you are involved with become evident immediately when you have and enforce your boundaries.

If you are involved with a Narcissists or a Broken Down, you’ll find that they don’t like or respect other people’s boundaries. They are the proverbial boundary busters. It’s all about them and they will say and do whatever they want, whenever they want, regardless of its effect on you. They don’t believe in consequences because they seldom experience any.

I recall telling my ex-Narcissist over and over again that I was done and to lose my number, but I never meant it and he knew it. A few days, weeks or even months later I’d get a call or a text. I’d be so glad that he was back and he would act like nothing ever happened. And on and on the delusion would go over and over again.

Had I had and enforced boundaries early on, I would have discovered that he was a boundary buster – the type of person that wasn’t interested in my feelings or how I wanted to be treated. Everything was always going to be on his terms and by repeatedly crossing the line, he was showing me that he was never going to respect me and I would have saved myself a lot of time, money and heartache.

If you don’t have boundaries you are showing any old Tom, Dick or Narcissist that you are the type of girl that is ready and willing, to put up with all sorts of bad behavior. People will eventually show you who they really are, but by having and enforcing your boundaries early on, you can uncover someone’s true intentions before you become emotionally invested.

If someone knows where your line is drawn and they continue to leap back and forth over it, they are showing you where you stand with them and what you can expect more of in the future. By consistently enforcing your boundaries, you are cementing that line in the sand and if they continue to cross it, let them keep on walking.

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