Having a relative with BPD can push you sometimes to do or accept things that you might not normally do. You might allow yourself to be treated in way that you never thought you would accept. Situations like that are not good for you personally and can cause burn out, damage your relationship, and cause you to lose your sense of self.

Paradoxically, we must manage your own emotions and needs first, before we are able to take care of someone else's needs.

It is highly evident that identifying, setting, and maintaining boundaries and limits is important for us and our relationship.

Identify what we are willing to accept
Identify what goes beyond our limits/boundaries and our sense of self respect
Accept that it is ok to say no
Boundaries are how we define our core values to others. A boundary is nothing more than the outer perimeters of our independent core values - it's like a fence - anything inside the boundary is consistent with our core values and anything outside the boundary is not.

Limits are generally "house rules" for dependent children at home or away at school.

With limit setting (rules), we want to be well-thought-out, direct, and always constructive.

Be Deliberative
it is important to not be impulsive, but rather to consider all the implications to all sides.
Be Grounded
be fair, reasonable, and constructive. If in doubt ask for help. Your therapist is certainly a good resource.
Be Cooperative
whenever possible, "sell" the limit - invite participation in setting the parameters, listen to others, be opened to reasonable modifications. If possible, do not target anyone specifically. You can say that everyone needs to shower every day, everyone needs to fasten their seat belt in our cars.
Be Clear
be extremely clear and direct in communicating the limit. Don't threaten. Don't set anyone up to fail.
Be Prepared
there may be limit violations, so know in advance, more or less, how to respond in a constructive way rather than react voice your frustration when a limit is tested or violated.

Too often, people assume that the members of their family should know their expectations automatically. It is best to give up this assumptions.

The best way to express an expectation is to avoid attaching any threats. For example, one might say, “I want you to take a shower at least every other day.” When expressed in that fashion, the statement puts responsibility on the other person to fulfill the expectation. Often, in these situations, family members are tempted to enforce an expectation by attaching threats. When feeling so tempted, one might say, “If you don't take a shower at least every other day, I will ask you to move out.”

The first problem with that statement is that the person making the statement is taking on the responsibility. He is saying “I” will take action if “you” do not fulfill your responsibility as opposed to giving the message, “You need to take responsibility!”

The second problem with that statement is that the person making it may not really intend to carry out the threat if pushed. The threat becomes an empty expression of hostility.

Of course, there may come a point at which family members feel compelled to give an ultimatum with the true intention to act on it. We will discuss this situation later.

BOUNDARIES - Living our values
© • 1998-2019