Our own "workshop" on setting boundaries.

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As Care Givers, we seem to have problems saying "No" or letting others in. Let's give each other ideas on how to set boundaries with the people we care for as well as others who may take advantage of our tendency to take on extra issues and problems.


So I realize that I have issues with setting boundaries and saying NO...to everyone.

My tip is to pause when something else is requested and consider how this will impact me personally (do I have the time, strength, etc, to take this on) It has helped me say no or make preemptive decisions about new responsibilities.
Glasshalfful: What if when one takes that moment, that "pause", to process an answer, but is then accused of being unresponsive?

I have one individual that takes offense to the slightest missed word or hand gesture. So when I'm asked a questions by this individual, I have to pause and process an answer that takes this into consideration. If I take too long, this person storms off thinking I am ignoring the question.
Yes it is strange how some people are about things...

What tip would you give others about setting boundaries?
Some support groups say to avoid making decisions when you are too hungry, too angry, and to defer the decision to another time.

You can make a prepared list of answers to use:
I just cannot answer (or address) that right now.
We will have to talk about that at a later time.
It is actually good to be of help to others, but I cannot help everyone. Noticing that there are many resources for people needing rides to doctor's appointments, I made it a rule not to take people to their dr. Appts. Just that one thing, is setting a boundary, and it is working.
To keep perspective. What is the discussion actually about? And avoid "I" and "you" statements.

I find conversations can spiral down quickly once tangents start. And better progress is made if "we" is used as it makes everyone feel included and implies everyone has a part. As in, "Maybe if we...."
for me the "hmmm, let me check and get back to you" to buy time works. When I say "no, I am unable to do that" I don't get into the "why not?" because the other will try to argue me out of that - and I have some pretty pushy people in my family. My answer is "I checked - it won't work for me" and repeat over and over - kindly. Remember - you cannot control their requests, demands or anger at boundaries - you can only control your responses. It helps to role play too, if you are trying to set boundaries with someone and you consistently end up giving in.
I think one thing is to realize the value of your own life and your own time. Sometimes being a caregiver, you can loose all perspective. I have the tendency to let myself disappear.. my needs, my happiness. We (including myself) need to realize our own worth. We need to stop and focus on our own lives (as much as possible).

I find myself putting my own needs and happiness aside for others.. way too much.
I'm happy to see this discussion. We could use some articles here about this subject by people who know about them.

"I" statements show that you are owning your feelings and your decision. Very often, the person we are setting a boundary with cannot be reasoned. Thus, the need for a boundary.

On the other hand, "you" statements are almost always heard as an attack even when they are not meant to be heard that way. "You make me angry when you do ___" is heard and felt like an attack. "I feel angry when you do _______" is still confronting the person, but it's not a direct attack. I'm sure there are some online articles about this somewhere. We need articles on this if they are not already here.

Boundaries are not for the purpose of modifying someone's behavior or to punish them. They are for self protection for the sake of one's own dignity, self-respect and well being. The only punishment involved comes when they break that boundary which is their choice and they get to experience a consequence.

There needs to be concrete consequences for breaking a boundary. Otherwise the boundary is meaningless.

I find that if I have to defend or explain my boundary that the focus on the boundary gets lost.

I look forward to seeing the further development of this discussion.
My husband's parents are both narcissists. When we found out he would be having surgery, I asked him not to tell them where the surgery would be. I was so stressed out and just wanted to be able to sit and read my book while waiting. We also have a large group of friends that I would be texting updates. MIL cannot sit with me and not require my attention for her litany of ills or family slights. I reminded him that I had requested he be left alone when I had surgery in the past. His parents called the night before surgery and FIL left message that MIL wanted to know where procedure was so he could drop her off to wait with me. So I would be expected to entertain for the day the Parkinson's patient and get her home besides day surgery for husband. Direct appeal worked. He did not call back and we had quiet day focused on his surgery, after care and getting home. I told him if he could not deny them details and they showed up, I would hide in the car. I am not the cruise director. And the desire to be there was not shown for the last two months of medical visits and consults other than compare MIL symptoms to whatever they checked on husband. This kind of broken does not understand polite and has trained its children. I told my husband that he helped create this feeling by leaving his fold at family gatherings. He and his brother don't like being with the folks, he and bro want to see other people. Well, don't look for me to manage them! Took years of therapy to figure out.

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