Did you know that your boundaries actually help your loved ones? It’s true.
If you’ve ever tried to set boundaries with someone, you were probably on the receiving end of exasperated sighs, eye-rolls, complaining, pushback, or maybe even outright hostility. These types of responses — or reactions— may have caused you to think you were doing something wrong.
The pushback you get when begin to practice boundaries — or when you up-level your personal and relationship boundaries skills — is often a sign that you’re not only doing something different, but that your efforts are having an impact.
Your boundaries not only have the power to help you, but they also help your loved ones — including your unfaithful spouse.
Although there are almost limitless benefits to good boundary work, here are just 4 ways your boundaries help your loved ones:
They know exactly where they stand with you
Isn’t it a relief to know where you stand with someone?
When you’re clear in your thinking and communication, and you understand how boundaries work, you know exactly what your limits are with other people — emotionally, intellectually, physically, and sexually — and they know your limits as well.
This kind of clarity reduces confusion, misunderstanding, and sometimes heartache.
Everyone benefits from better boundaries
Although the word boundaries is a dirty word to many people, the truth is that life is simply not possible without them.
When someone is boundary-less in their speech or actions, it can be uncomfortable and even painful to be in their presence. They say whatever comes to mind, and do whatever they want to do without regard to their impact on others.
You can’t go anywhere or do anything without experiencing boundaries. Your clothes, your decisions about who you spend time with, how you spend your money, and where you live are all examples of the simple, yet often invisible, presence of boundaries in our day-to-day lives.
You reduce stress
When you have the clarity that comes with clear and relational boundaries, your stress level automatically decreases and so does everyone else’s. In fact, when your boundaries are solid, you’re happier. And when you’re happier, so is everyone around you!
Boundaries create clarity and safety, and safety calms your nervous system.
Your boundaries have a profound impact on your loved ones*
I received this feedback about my book, Moving Beyond Betrayal, that tenderly expresses how your boundaries can impact the important people in your life:
Hi I loved your boundary setting book. It was just the right time and has impacted not just me but my husband as well. He has told me with tears how much the boundaries have helped his sobriety ! Who knew!
Yes, who knew!?
If your spouse has enough clarity — and sense — to respond rather than react to your boundaries, they will actually help him/her to improve their life.
Addiction is not only an equal opportunity destroyer, it can kill. That means your boundaries can potentially save another person’s life.
Let me be clear, it is not your job or responsibility to get someone sober or to save their life. However, it is absolutely true that your boundaries can have a powerful influence on another person if they make the choice to respond to the boundaries (including requests) you make.
Here are some examples of boundaries partners have set with an addicted spouse:
- When you are altered, or our conversations are crazy-making for me, I’m not available for a conversation.
- I want you to get an assessment for your problematic behaviors. (This request should be followed up with a plan about your next steps if your spouse doesn’t get an assessment.)
- I request that you complete a drug test (or polygraph) at certain intervals once a sobriety date is established.
- I request a “blow-and-go” be installed on your car (if you have minor children who ride in the car with your spouse).
- Separation in cases of chronic deception, lying, or relapses.
Join Vicki Friday, January 18 for a free, live online Clarity Circle!
Clarity Circles are a rare opportunity to get questions answered directly from Vicki about any struggles you’re having as you travel the courageous healing journey from trauma to trust. This one is specifically about boundaries. Claim your free spot here. (Event has now concluded)
*Want to hear more about how your boundaries help those you love? Listen to the podcast episode here.
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© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2019)
Hi Vicki, I am 3 weeks in from my discovery of my husbands infidelity. I am searching for guidance and I was referred to you. I will be purchasing your boundaries book, and looking forward to getting updated blogs.
I’m a faithful listener of your podcast “Beyond Bitchy.” It’s so helpful! Thank you! You’ve mentioned a couple times in the podcast and you mentioned it above in your first paragraph above, that setting boundaries may incur eye rolls, exasperated sighs, or hostility. My spouse does all of the above and I’ll add that he says “Geez, it’s like I can’t do anything right!” Or “I don’t think anything I do could ever please you.” So while I expect this, it’s very difficult for me to know what to do when this happens. Should I respond? Should I ignore the behavior and those comments? It’s very difficult for me to live with someone who ignores me, gives me curt, one word answers, or leaves the room when I enter it. I’m wondering if I can (or even should?) set boundaries surrounding this behavior? Or do I practice the politician on him? Or am I being Co-dependent and should I increase my level of self care and weather the storm?
Thanks again for your insight and clarity surrounding boundaries!
Vicki Tidwell Palmer says
Suzy, I’m so glad the podcast has been helpful to you!
You’ve raised a number of important questions and they deserve more time and attention. Since you’re already a podcast listener, I recommend the following episodes that will cover most of your questions:
#32 – Boundaries Quick Tips #1: So, You’re Offended?
#37, #39, & #40 – The Listening Boundary Parts 1-3 (Start here for Part 1)
If you’d like more direct feedback from me, please consider joining my online community for betrayed partners. You can get all the details and join online here.
Hope this helps!