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16 Sep 2019 , by Caroline

Boundaries – good idea but keeping them is hard!

One of many the many things that can trigger my anxiety is other people. This was a revelation to discover and one piece of advice that comes up again and again to help this trigger is to establish healthy boundaries. Some boundary advice seems pretty obvious – if a particular person is causing you upset and angst, then simply keep away from them. This is easier said than done though if the person in question is a close relative.

I have pondered over and over with this issue. This person can sometimes trigger anxiety and cause distress, but at the same time is a very close relative and I actually do not want to do something so extreme as to cut them out of my life, so what is the answer? It seemed for ages that there were only two answers. One – to simply carry on how things are and just put up with it or two- cast them adrift and say goodbye. Both, to me, a tad extreme and neither answer was very appealing. Then I thought of a third option and that was to change my attitude towards the situation.

I often just accepted that my anxious feelings were probably my own fault anyway and it was my own attitude that was wrong. Wrong! It was not so much a discovery but a learning curve that I came to understand that these anxious feelings were not caused by me, it was in fact caused by the other person, it is their attitude, their behavior that results in my anxiety being triggered and not in fact my attitude. This has taken a while to accept but it really has helped.

So what to do now? Well I have decided to go for the middle ground. To not cut them out but to give myself some space.

This has not been easy as the guilt factor has crept in. Those little self doubting feelings of guilt, feeling I am being selfish, neglectful, not a nice person etc etc. Yes, boundaries seem easy but keeping them can be hard! But it was these points of doubt I knew it was it was important to persevere. I keep telling myself that self care is very important and absolutely not selfish, that a bit of space is not being neglectful, I am always here if needed. I can remember reading somewhere that those who do not like it when people put in healthy boundaries are usually the ones that needed these boundaries the most.

The more I continue the better it is to carry on with these boundaries and to be honest it really is helping and making me feel better, and if I am honest, have a little bit more self confidence too and that can only be a good thing.

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