Setting BoundariesIf You Find Setting Boundaries Hard, You Are Not Alone
If You Find Setting Boundaries Hard, You Are Not Alone:
I am a bit of a search engine geek, which means I like finding out what kinds of questions people type into Google. Search engine numbers reflect collective concerns: things we humans struggle with and are trying to find answers for. The numbers below show how many individual people type a phrase into google (on average) in one month in the UK alone:
- Setting boundaries – 1000
- How to say no politely – 1000
- Setting boundaries in relationships – 390
- Setting boundaries at work – 170
- Setting boundaries with friends – 110
So as I said above – if you struggle to set and communicate boundaries – you are not alone! By comparison, only about 20 people per month ask google “how to ask for what you want”. Is it the case that many of us are so concerned with how to say no to requests (or demands) from others, that we don’t stop to consider what we actually want? The best approach for working with these concerns is very individual and depends upon the circumstances, it might be that you need:
- support dealing with difficult circumstances
- therapeutic enquiry and trauma healing
- psycho-educational support – building empowerment and skills
- a combination of all of the above
Here is a little more information on each of these approaches and the therapies (individual sessions and workshops) offered by Rose C Jiggens of True Self Systems in East London UK and online everywhere. If you have come to this page because you have difficulty setting boundaries, see if you can discern as you read which approach might be most relevant to your situation?
Help With Setting Boundaries – Assessing the Situation:
The context in which we are having difficulty setting boundaries, is important to consider before doing anything at all. Sometimes there is a wisdom in our reluctance to set boundaries, because doing so might have adverse consequences. This can be particularly so in regards to tense family situations, relationships that are not safe, places of systemic power imbalance. In these situations, the priority will be assessing what can be done to limit harm and build safety. This includes developing the resources and resilience required – both internal and external – to move towards the most sustaining environment possible at this time.
Help With Setting Boundaries – an Embodied Therapeutic Approach:
Embodied and talk therapy combined, can help us understand and overcome the origins of difficulty with boundary setting. Underlying these difficulties may be an earlier time when setting a boundary would have had adverse consequences. These memories live in the body; a past neuroception (inner felt sense) of danger can be recalled when a boundary is required in the present. At a vulnerable earlier time, not setting a boundary may have been an essential survival skill, neural pathways recall and repeat the survival strategy even if its maladaptive to the present situation.
TEB supports the healing of developmental trauma and of these body memories from the past. Using co-regulating touch (or visualisation online) little by little we guide your body back to a place of feeling safe, focusing on key areas of stress physiology such as the kidney adrenals. Through a combination of talking and nervous system healing, you can come to understand and overcome the maladaptive survival strategies. In Trauma Sensitive Breathwork, you can learn self-regulating skills that build greater resilience including:
- Finding and caring for the part (often an inner child) who finds it hard to say no
- Learning to interrupt survival strategies with a well timed breath
- Exploring and expanding your no through embodied mindfulness exercises
Family Constellations can help with setting boundaries, when the origins of the pattern are intergenerational. A constellation is a good place to start to understand the origins of this pattern in a wider intergenerational context. Sometimes we find it is hard to set boundaries because we have an ancestor who lacked choice; their experiences can ripple through the generations and impact the present.
Help With Setting Boundaries – Building Empowerment and Skills:
As well as the therapies that I offer, I teach an awesome embodied consent practice and theoretical model called The Wheel of Consent. After therapeutic concerns are addressed, the Wheel of Consent offers a theoretical model and embodied practice zone, which can thoroughly overhaul your boundary setting skills. You can learn and practice the Wheel of Consent through individual sessions, or in workshops with a group.
Through solo and optional partnered touch practices (limited to the hand and arm at first), you will discover an embodied sense of your limits and boundaries and practice communicating them. The practice is supported by a theoretical model that applies to many situations: work, family, intimate relationships and friends included.
If you want to know more about the Wheel of Consent, read about my sessions and workshops here. You might also like to read the Wheel of Consent Book or watch these free videos by Betty Martin who developed the practice.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you are interested in sessions, workshops you are welcome to contact me using the methods described on this website.