Why Boundaries Are Impossible At Times
Have you had anyone, a friend, practitioner, therapist, or coach, say to you:
“You just need stronger boundaries” or “Just say no”?
You may feel like this person is asking the impossible, like you literally can’t do it.
Don’t worry, there are reasons you feel this way, and there is a clear path for you to reclaim your personal power, voice, and self worth.
If you were mistreated or neglected by one or both of your parents, and you are still stuck in fear of being punished and/or abandoned, it’s almost impossible to speak up for yourself due to the patterns that are still active in your subconscious.
If your parents behaved as if their feelings were more important than yours, if they dismissed your feelings, told you to “be good”, “let it go”, “don’t complain”, etc., you learned to stuff how you feel and that your feelings and wants are not important enough to express.
If your source of love and worth involved making sure your parents were happy, doing what they wanted you to do, being how they wanted you to be, then your self-value and even sense of self may depend on making others happy, taking you out of your authentic self and desires.
If you’ve learned to care more about how other people feel, speaking up for yourself now will feel hard.
This codependent pattern (being overly concerned with others and sacrificing yourself) started when your parents didn’t let you know that your feelings and needs, your experiences, were important. They may have also cared more about how they felt instead of caring about how you felt. This is actually a role reversal and is something most of us have to heal from.
These patterns of not valuing yourself are even “protected” by various other norms. For example, a big taboo is being, or even appearing, disloyal or ungrateful to one’s parents. So, saying how you really feel and setting good boundaries can be seen as betraying one’s parents, particularly when doing so directly to them.
All of this emotional shutdown creates inner turmoil, chronic symptoms, addictions, low self-esteem and low self-worth, unhealthy relationships, and codependency.
As a result of your emotional shutdown, you become shut off from your true needs, wants, voice, inner wisdom, gifts, guidance system, and personal power. You become cut off from, and even unaware of, some of the best parts of you!
The people who struggle with speaking up remain quiet and hold it in out of fear of hurting the other person, fear abandonment, of losing love and “support”. But, ignoring your feelings causes psychological, relationship and body symptoms, cravings, triggers, and other struggles in life.
In order to feel safe speaking up for yourself now, you can learn to express your repressed anger and sadness — your true feelings — from your childhood. Healthy anger protects you, keeps you safe, and by expressing it regarding your past, you will naturally have more healthy boundaries even without expressing anger.
You can also learn to give your inner child the love and acceptance you needed but didn’t get. Once you do, you will start to develop a healthy sense of self, with more coping resources, also known as ego strength. By taking care of yourself in this way, feeling loved and valued won’t be dependent on other people’s happiness and approval of you. If they get upset, or even leave you, you may feel hurt but you will know you are okay and it’s not your responsibility to take care of their feelings. Your feelings are the most important.
Once you reconnect with your inner child and your childhood feelings, take care of them and express them, it becomes a lot easier to speak up for yourself in the present.
You also learn to set healthy boundaries by reclaiming your voice, reconnecting to your feelings, and responding to others based on how you feel instead. You stand up for what is right for you, in a calm, clear, and powerful way, and don’t allow people to continue to hurt you.
You don’t just have healthy boundaries and you are “done”. You will continue to find and set boundaries for the rest of your life, as each situation and how you are feeling changes. It becomes more of a choice and less of an automatic compromise of yourself. As you continue to heal and grow, you get clearer and clearer, so your responses become more authentic in the moment.
From a client in my Healing Candida 6-Week Class...
"The discussion today about processing triggers and then communicating a boundary or need was SO helpful to me. Also connecting the dots between healing, feeling emotions and feeling more empowered to communicate and less fearful of abandonment makes so much sense. I have had so many different professionals and people tell me that I need to set boundaries. It has almost been used as a catch-all solution "you need to set boundaries" and that's it. No deeper work or healing done to make me feel safe and empowered to do so.
I realized I've been shaming myself for not being able to set boundaries and it has triggered me more because I thought I needed to set the boundary in the moment (in the case of boundary violations). Because I hadn't done the healing and learning that we are doing now that felt terrifying to me. Elicia Miller thank you so much for this clarification and the guidance you are providing. It's so helpful to understand why this wasn't working in the past and release the judgement and shame I was feeling. Understanding that this process will help me get there feels very good. ” - Alison
I would love to hear about your experience with setting and sticking to boundaries! Leave a comment and share with me…
Lots of love,
P.S. If you struggle with Candida and boundaries, you should know that there’s a definite link between the two and healing the root cause is the only way you’ll finally experience the relief you deserve.
If you want to learn more, check out my free webinar, What It Takes to Fully Heal the Emotional Root Cause of Candida.