Describe what your current boundaries look like


  1. Reflect on your family’s rules of engagement.
    Think about your childhood home and ask yourself: Was there abuse, neglect, or addiction in your home? Did people take each other’s personal items without permission? Were you punished when you expressed divergent views? During a conflict, did your caregivers respond with violence or stonewalling? Were some family members overly controlling of others? Was giving unwarranted advice or criticism the norm? Were you only rewarded when you were compliant? Write down your thoughts and repeat this exercise over multiple sessions.
  2. Identify your secondary benefit to having poor boundaries.
    Let’s say your boyfriend keeps disappearing from the relationship, and you’ve never confronted the issue with him. Ask yourself: What emotion am I trying to subdue by running away from this issue? What do I get to not feel/experience by allowing this pattern to continue? Your answer may be, “I get to avoid conflict and feeling vulnerable with my boyfriend.” Write down and explore this secondary gain contributing to your unhealthy boundaries.
  3. Check your motivation whenever you feel like over-giving to others.
    If you feel the urge to rescue someone from their problems, ask yourself, “Am I giving from a place of love or fear?” Only consciously help someone if it makes you feel good and authentic rather than doing it out of fear of appearing selfish.


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