Podcast Episode 36 – Boundaries

Jul 1, 2023 | Podcast

I’m Diana Swillinger, and you’re listening to the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 36 Boundaries. 

DIANA: Hey. Hey, what’s up? How are you doing today? I hope you are doing fantastic. I have a special episode for you today a little bit different. I do monthly webinars, by the way, you all and they’re free. And I did one in August that was really well received and I believe needed. It probably always will be. In relationships, boundaries is one of the hottest topics with the people that I work with, and it’s one of the most useful tools. If you have a difficult relationship or you’re just trying to navigate family or work, maybe it’s not that difficult, but you just want to show up more authentically and more in line with who you are. Sometimes boundaries are the magic tool, but I think there’s a lot of confusion around boundaries as well. And I do address that in this webinar, too. So I did this webinar a couple of months ago, and instead of re recording a podcast about boundaries, I have it all here. So I’m just going to share it with you. And the cool part about that is when we get to the end and I’m done teaching about boundaries, I answer people’s questions. 


So if you show up to one of my webinars, you can ask me questions right there on the spot, and I will answer them. And so there’s a few of those at the end. Sometimes those are even more informative and helpful than just what I teach because you’re getting some real life application, so listen to those at the end too. I think you’ll find this very useful. As always, if you have any questions, send me an email, find me on social media. Send me a direct message. I am here to help. Otherwise, enjoy my webinar recording of boundaries. For those of you who haven’t been at one of my webinars before, you don’t know me. Welcome. I’m so glad you’re here. 


I’m Diana Swillinger. I’m, um, an advanced certified life coach. I’m a user of boundaries, and a good one. Now I learned how to do it, and this is one of the things I get asked about most in coaching. Maybe not on the first call, but as we get going and we’re talking about relationships, boundaries is a natural thing, and we all need them, but a lot of us just don’t know how to do it right. So I’m going to try to give you as much information in this short webinar tonight. 


As possible so that you can start setting boundaries appropriately in your life right away. How this all started for me, how I became a user of boundaries. I spent years trying to please my husband, appease my husband, be a good mom, a good friend, a good sister, good wife, good everything. But I was tired. I felt like I was beat. This wasn’t the life I was supposed to be living. My marriage even got to the point we were sitting in a counselor’s office, small office, and so we were kind of crammed in by the door, two wooden chairs with those stiff arms. My husband and I were in those, scooted right next to each other, and our counselor, he wheeled his chair around our side, so we were all just snug in there. And I remember it so well because it was a turning point for me. I’m glad my husband and I were sitting side by side because I did not even want to look at him. I just resented him. I had quit drinking a few years earlier. Actually, it’s going to be ten years this year. You all so that’s kind of fun. But I had already quit drinking a couple of years in, and my husband did not. And he was still managing stress in his life by going out to have drinks with his buddies at night. And I didn’t always know when he’d roll in or how much he had to drink. And I was suffering, my kids were suffering, and I had just had enough. And the counselor asked me, so what do you do when he comes home so late at night and you haven’t known where he’s been? I’m like m nothing. I guess. I talk to him. I tell him I don’t like it. And then the counselor rephrased it a different way. He said, uh, how about this? What is the consequence for him when he does that? I’m searching my head. I’m like what? What is his consequence? 


He’s the one going out and drinking, and he’s not home with the family, and he’s not helping. And I’m left here alone with the kids. He has no consequences. Nothing hit me at that point. Nothing was going to change, nothing needed to change for him. He was fine, and he had no consequences. I was the one suffering because I had no boundaries. None, at least, that I was willing to enforce. Maybe I’d say some sometimes, but I wouldn’t necessarily do what I said I was going to do. And I was so resentful, full of anger and frustration. I wasn’t going to set a healthy boundary from that place. But at that moment, I knew I needed to. And so for the next four years, I was researching marriage and boundaries. I was reading books, I was in college, and I was taking psychology classes, communication classes, and I was diving into life coaching, searching for answers. And I learned a lot about relationships, more than just about boundaries, but I learned a lot about boundaries. I kind of feel like I became an expert at boundaries. 


Not right away, because I made a lot of mistakes. I failed many times, but I kept working at it, and I got my heart and my mind in the right place, which was critical. And I started to feel better. I started to set healthy boundaries. I enforced them. And I got my peace back. My husband didn’t even change. He didn’t change for a few years, and it didn’t even matter. I learned how to be happy. I learned how to stand up for me and what I needed, and I learned how to take care of me. And I want the same for you. I believe that you deserve to have that same kind of confidence, that same peace, and that you deserve to be happy. So over the next 20 minutes, let’s say 25 minutes, I’m going to share with you my, uh, best information about boundaries. And I’m going to leave time at the end for question and answer. So, um, we’re going to cover what a boundary is, why we have boundaries, and how to set a boundary. So let’s get started. So I actually said we’re going to start with what a boundary is. But just kidding. We’re going to start with what a boundary is not. I want to make sure we cover this first, because if you’re like me, all those mistakes I made in setting boundaries, the incorrect way, I’ve done these. A boundary is not a way to try to control the other person or a way to try to teach them something or enlighten them. We don’t want to use it as a way to punish people, and it’s not a way to try to get someone else to change. 


Sometimes, too. I want to say this because I personally don’t think a boundary is a way to help yourself say, well, I guess that you can help yourself say no to people. But I Googled I’m saying this because I Googled boundaries before this webinar, and I wanted to see what other people were teaching about boundaries. And I found lots of articles and lots of podcasts that were saying, a boundary is something you set when someone asked you to do something and you don’t want to do it. And, um, maybe you need to set a boundary there, but that would be more like setting a boundary with yourself because you’re not honoring your own wishes. You really just need to say no. You don’t need to set a boundary with that person. So setting limits on yourself is not what I’m going to be focusing on today. We’re, uh, going to be talking about boundaries and other people’s behavior. Okay. All right. What a boundary is. There’s lots of ways to describe what a boundary is, and many people will say it in different sentences. But I like to think of it this way, basically just, uh, deciding how you want to respond or what you’re going to do if somebody crosses the line into your personal space or your emotional space. Henry cloud. Oh, it’s Cloud and Townsend. It’s the boundaries book. It’s one of the most or probably is the most used book on boundaries. He’s a psychologist. And, uh, this has always stuck with me way back when, after leaving that counselor’s office and diving into books. Boundaries is the first book I picked up. And they described boundaries as like a lot line. The property line, you’ve got your yard. I’m the yellow house because I like yellow. Hey. And my husband happens to like blue. So there you go. 


That’s me in the yellow house and my husband in the blue house. Notice how my lawn is a little greener. Oh, and I got the flowers. So it’s a property line where you have your home, you have your yard, and they have theirs. Okay? If another person comes into your yard and starts making a mess, shooting things over the fence, throwing darts, throwing baseballs at your windows, water balloons, acid onto your lawn, they’re crossing the boundary. They’re in your space. And, uh, notice how if they’re throwing things over the fence into your yard, you are paying the consequence for their action, not them. They’re still on their side of the fence. Everything’s fine over there, but they’ve been lobbing insults or they’ve done something to hurt you, or they’ve taken something of yours. They’ve crossed a boundary and you’re paying the price. That’s why I love that yard line or, uh, lot line description. There’s three different kinds of boundaries. The way I like to think of it, actually, most people talk about two, but I added one because I’ve been wrestling with how to describe this other way to set a boundary. Because usually we’re talking about boundaries as a way to protect ourselves. And that makes a lot of sense with physical boundaries and emotional boundaries. 


Someone’s crossed a physical boundary when they’re hitting you or they’re making sexual advances, touching you when you don’t want to be touched, they’re too close, throw something at you. They come in your house or in your car, where they’re stealing or damaging your property. Those kind of things are physical boundaries, and they’re pretty easy to identify because something’s happening to a physical being or physical property, sex property, or our body. Usually an emotional boundary is going to happen when there is no infraction onto physical space or property or body. It’s when someone’s yelling at you. Maybe they’re belittling you, shaming you, swearing, demeaning you, not respecting your time. There’s a lot of things in that category sometimes that’s a little harder to identify. And if you’re like me, when I was a kid, a lot of adults would just be like, uh, buck up, it’s not a big deal. But you know, it’s a big deal. When you start dealing with you’re not feeling okay anymore. You’re having trouble with your emotions because of somebody else’s very specific behavior. Now, I know I’m always talking about, we’re in charge of our own thoughts and we’re in charge of our own emotions, and that’s true. But when other people do things and it becomes very hard for us to manage our thoughts and emotions and it’s painful, we want to protect ourselves and have physical and emotional boundaries. And then here’s where I’d like to add this last one. It’s kind of like a preferential boundary or preference boundary. Someone might not actually be doing anything to you or against you, but it’s crossing a line in your life of what is acceptable. Maybe it’s a moral boundary or that’s just something you don’t want to allow in your life. Some of the things that you might not want in your space or around you or to witness or be a part of is other people doing drugs, other people, um, drinking alcohol or swearing. I have some neighbors that swear a lot. I guess it’s a boundary. When they swear in the yard, I go in the house, just what I do. It could be illegal activity. I tell my kids all the time, if any of your friends are doing something illegal, you should have a boundary. 


You can’t change them or their behavior, but you can leave the space. It’s a preference. You don’t want to be around that or how other people treat other people. You might not want to be around it. So preferences and morals, that’s what boundaries are. And the categories of different boundaries, why do we have them? So I’ve hinted at some of these already. But self protection, especially in the place, I guess, physical and emotional. But it’s very easy to see in the space of physical boundaries. If somebody hits you, you want to protect yourself. Like, that’s not okay. And you need to have a boundary. If somebody says terrible things about you, they say you’re stupid and ugly. You might want to have a boundary. I’m not around when people talk to me that way. Self protection, you could do it out of love for yourself and the other person. Because remember back at that lawn picture when someone’s throwing stuff into your yard, you don’t have a boundary. You’re starting to pay the price for their actions. They’re getting away with acting, however, and not having to face any natural consequences because you’re not creating any. That’s not actually very loving for them, and it’s not actually very loving for you because you shouldn’t be taking on their consequences and they should be responsible for their own. That’s a loving thing to do. 


You can have a boundary to allow space for yourself to heal. It promotes self responsibility. If you want to start being responsible for yourself, your actions and the outcomes in your life and not have other people trying to be responsible for them or giving other people the responsibility for you to feel okay and do okay. Boundaries help you take back responsibility. They empower us. They take you out of being a victim. What other people are doing, they put you back in the driver’s seat. They’re putting you in control. So instead of letting a boundary crosser drive your car for you, um, you’re like, no, you can get out of the driver’s seat. I’m in charge of what’s happening right now, and I get to choose. Okay. And just a, uh, reminder, these are why we have boundaries. We don’t have boundaries to try to get the other person to change their behavior. One of the boundaries I did set up with my husband back when he was using alcohol, irresponsibly is I would not be around him if he was under the influence of alcohol at all. That wasn’t healthy for me. I think it was a loving thing to do for me and him, but I didn’t try to get him to change. Yes, I made requests at times that said, I wish you didn’t drink. I think it’s damaging our marriage. But in the space of creating a boundary, I didn’t. I just said, if you’re under the influence of alcohol, I will be leaving the room or the home. I won’t be around you. And that was a boundary that I set up. He didn’t change for years. A couple of years, that’s fine. I felt a whole lot better, and that was healthy for me. I didn’t try to control him, and I wasn’t trying to punish him. All right. Boundaries are about you, what you need, what you prefer to protect yourself or to improve your own life. All right, let’s talk about how to set a boundary now that you know why you’d want to set one and what it is, what it’s for, the first thing you need to do is decide what your boundaries are. Like I just said, for example, I choose not to be around people who are under the influence of alcohol. Now, my boundaries changed a little bit over time, too. I’ll be around people if they’ve had a little alcohol, but not if it affects them to any point where their behavior or their speech or communication is any different than a, um, sober person would be. I still choose not to be around that. 


But my husband has beer on Saturdays or Sundays, and it’s okay. But I know exactly what my boundary is. I’m using that one a lot because, um, with you guys, because that’s the story I told at the beginning to give you some context. But it could be a lot of things. All the things I mentioned. You might not be around someone yelling at you. I just decide a boundary for me is if someone yells their decibels go up and they sound angry, I just leave. That’s what I do. So I know when I want to have a boundary. I, uh, kind of skipped ahead, but determine what you will do when someone crosses your boundary. When you do this, this is what I will do. Again, you’re not controlling their behavior. It’s not about what they’re going to do. It’s just when this is happening, I’m going to do. This has nothing to do with you. It’s about me doing what I need to do for me. And then lastly, you want to communicate your request and the consequence. Now, communicating is not always necessary. Like, when I go in the gas station and I pay for my gas, I don’t tell the guy, just want you to know if you hit me, I’m calling the cops. It’s just not necessary. So I go out in the world, and I have a lot of boundaries. If he hit me, I would call the cops. That’s a boundary. Someone hits me, I call the cops. I just don’t need to tell him. But in, uh, closer relationship with friends, sisters, parents, my husband, it’s often good to communicate it. I just want to say a couple of other things while we’re still on the side about deciding what your boundaries are. 


They’re going to be different with different people, and they’re going to be different from other people. So the kind of boundaries I have with my son are not the same I have with my mom, and a boundary I have with my mom, I might only have it with her. I don’t have this boundary with my mom. But I’ve heard some people have this boundary where they’re like, if you come over unannounced, I won’t be letting you in. Because sometimes moms like to do pop ins. So if you want to be able to come in my house, you’re going to have to call ahead of time and arrange a time with me that works for both of us. If you come and knock on the door and you haven’t done that, I won’t let you in. You might not need to make that boundary with a friend or a neighbor, but you might want to do it with your mom. Now, communicating your boundaries is going to look like this. You’re making a request, and you’re sharing the consequence. If you do this, I will do this. So if you yell at me, I will leave the room. If you have been drinking, I will not have a conversation with you until you’re sober. If you don’t arrive within 15 minutes of the set time, I will leave without you. Just some tips on communicating boundaries to improve the chances that someone will hear you. 


Well, you can use some language to kind of ease it. It’s not easy for some people to hear that you have a boundary. It can be taken in their own brains that, oh, they think I’m doing something wrong. And then they’re going to have their own thoughts where they might feel shame or angry or embarrassed or frustrated. And that, uh, is about them. But if you care about them and you love them and you want to have compassion for them, you can make it easier for them to hear. You can improve the chances of it being taken well by saying things like, I’ve put a lot of thought into this, and I know this might not be easy for you to hear, but I want to share a boundary with you because I think it’s ultimately going to be a good thing for us. Or you could say something like, this isn’t easy for me to do, and I know it’s going to impact our relationship, but because I love and respect you and care so much about our, uh, relationship, I want to communicate a boundary. And then you get to share your boundary with them. By the way, sometimes people don’t receive boundaries well. They might not like them. 


Even if you try to preface it well to help ease it for them and show that you care about them and that you really have good intentions, they still might not like it, and they might push back. They might get angry with you. They might criticize you, especially if you’re the one who’s suffering because they’ve been lobbing things over to your fence and you’ve been taking the consequences. And this means that they’re going to have to feel some pain from their behavior that they haven’t been having to feel before. It’s not going to be enjoyable for them. So some people will never like it. That has to do with their emotional maturity and their thoughts. Other people may not like it at first, but they will come to respect it. I can use my husband as an example for this again, because when I said, I’m not going to be around you when you’re under the influence of alcohol, he didn’t like it. He got angry. He blamed me. He criticized me. And he thought I was the problem. And that was not easy, but I knew it was a healthy thing to do. Now, I’m not getting into all the details of how my marriage survived that and all that. I’ll do another webinar on that one because that’s another thing people ask me about a lot. How did I restore my marriage when we had been both been drinking and fighting and so many problems? But this was part of it. This is just one component of it. He had to start dealing with the pain of the choices he was making, and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. I wasn’t supposed to be dealing with his consequences. He was. And then I have some relationships where they ended, and I have some relationships where I shared a boundary and it was instantly received with respect and no problem at all. 


So you don’t necessarily know what you’re going to get. But if you’re coming from a place of love that will certainly help. They Googled what else is happening out there with boundaries and what other people are teaching. I found a lot of people are teaching that if you’re frustrated, if you’re angry, and if somebody else isn’t behaving the way they should be, you need to set a boundary. What I’m telling you is that boundaries will work best and feel best when you are creating them, delivering them, and enacting them from a place of love and compassion, not a place of frustration. And you need to have zero expectations that the other person will change in any way whatsoever. And you can do this by managing your thoughts about the other person. And one of the things I did in a couple relationships of mine that were harder that I had to set boundaries to come to a place of compassion and love is remind myself that the other person is a human being who’s struggling and having a hard time just like me. They’re not getting it right all the time. It’s not easy going through the struggles they’re going through. They’re human. It’s hard to be them. Just like for us, it’s hard to be us sometimes, right? And from that space, I could have more love. And if I still wanted to set a boundary but I wasn’t getting to love, I would just ask God, I’m like, God, you are loving this person. Even with this behavior, you love him or her just as they are. And then I ask, please help me to do the same. Let me borrow your love for this person so I can show up better and do what I need to to help us have a healthy relationship. Humanize that person, acknowledge their hurt, acknowledge their struggle. And it’s going to go a lot better than if you try to set a boundary out of frustration. And you get to feel love and compassion along the way. It’s not just helping you set a boundary, but feeling love and compassion helps you have a better relationship. You get to let go of resentment. You get to feel empowered, like you’re back in control of your life and your experience. You’re back at the wheel, you’re taking care of your needs. 


Come on. It’s a good thing. It’s a hard thing, but it’s a good thing. And now that you know what goes into creating a healthy boundary, let’s m just flip it around for a second and remember that when you’re the recipient of someone else creating a boundary, that you can try to receive it in a loving way as well and have respect for the other person even if their boundary doesn’t seem right. Doesn’t have to seem right. It doesn’t have to match your morals. It doesn’t have to match your beliefs. You can just respect that that person is trying to do the best that they can. So that is what I have to say about that. I am going to start Q and A in just a minute. But I know that there’s people here waiting to hear about, um, some other things because they told me ahead of time, outside of my free webinars, outside of my podcast. I’m looking because I know there’s a question here in the Q and A regarding this. So let me just start with that one. Here it is. Diana, my friend, finished coaching with you this spring. And when we finally got our group back together after the shutdown, she was different. She was happy, she was lighter. She seemed like her old self again. I am so curious what the coaching thing is that you do. That’s why I’m here. Okay? It’s not a question. I thought it was a question, but it’s not a question. But that’s okay. I wanted to address that. Um, and then we’ll get to the other Q and A’s. I went back to that because I wanted to tell you about my coaching program because some other people had asked ahead of time. 


So it all starts with a free coaching call. I just did one today. It was so fun. Somebody’s been coming to my webinars for several months and, um, she finally took me up on it. She admitted she’s been thinking about doing it for a long time, but she finally did it because school is starting up and the kids are going back to school. Anyway. If you really want to know about the coaching program, just come to that free call. But I’m going to tell you real quick. In a nutshell, I have a twelve week coaching program with six main topics. It’s control, emotions, thoughts, relationships, your past and your future. We have a zoom call once a week. We go over the lessons. There’s videos and worksheets with all the lessons. But at any point, I just coach you on whatever is going on, um, with your life and the worksheets. And the lessons are there to help us. And I’m available to you 24/7 via email the entire time. 


What this does is gives you a, uh, comprehensive path where you’re going to get practical tools that takes you to the cause of your problems. We’re not just going to work on treating the symptoms. We’re going to address the core issue so you can learn how to feel better. Not just now, but for the rest of your life. That means you’re not alone. You’re going to have skills that are going to last a lifetime. And I’m going to be right there with you, supporting you and guiding you every step of the way. You can feel better and there is hope. Coaching is for you if you want to start feeling better and you want to feel like you’re back in control of your life. Coaching is for you if you want to feel less stressed, less anxiety, and you actually want to have more peace, more joy, more contentment. The top. Three things my clients tell me they want to feel when we go through emotions. Coaching is for you if you want to start feeling better and you want to start loving your life again. So you can come to a free coaching session with me, hang out, get some relief, give it a try. Thank you. Somebody added, um, somebody who’s coached with me before that. 


The coaching is personalized. It is. Coaching is personalized just to you. I have the things that I teach, like tonight. But if we were on a coaching call talking about boundaries, we’re going to talk specifically about what’s going on in your life, and it will be tailored exactly to what’s going on for you. So type in your questions. This question is, can we set boundaries with our kids? My teenage son yells at me sometimes when he doesn’t like me telling him to stop playing a game to go to bed or some things like that. It’s not all the time, but I want him to know yelling at me isn’t okay. Would that be a boundary? Okay, so kids yelling and when you tell him to stop playing his games, and is that a boundary? So I’d like to say with kids, sometimes we’re setting boundaries, and sometimes it’s rules that we’re enforcing. And rules have consequences. And boundaries have consequences. So you asking him to get out the video games and go to bed would be enforcing a rule. And then if he doesn’t go to bed, maybe you take away the video games or whatever it is, whatever rule you have set up. So that would be a rule. There might also be a rule about yelling. If you yell, there’s a consequence for that. But I do also believe that there are boundaries with kids. 


Even as you are the parent, you might have a boundary that people yelling at you is not okay and you will leave the room. I’ve done this with my kids. There might be a consequence for yelling as a rule, but there is also a consequence for yelling just as a boundary of mine. Okay, next question. When is a good time to drop a boundary? Can we ever enforce a boundary and then not have the boundary anymore? Yes. Like my boundary with my husband actually was originally I will not be around you if you’ve had anything to drink, period. If you take two sips of a beer, I am not around you for however long of a time. Well, I guess I modified that boundary. Or it’s a different boundary. I’ll round him when he drinks. He drinks sometimes if we go out to dinner, even, he’ll have a drink. So what else would it look like? Um, like with your mom. If you have a boundary, I don’t let you over. If you come unannounced, I won’t let you in the house. You have to call ahead of time and arrange a time maybe after doing this for a while, and mom gets used to calling ahead of time. You feel like you don’t need the boundary because she’s not doing these drop ins three days a week. And then, um, she calls most of the time, but every once in a while, she shows up because she’s like, I made banana bread, and I wanted to bring you a loaf, and I’m sorry I didn’t call. And you’re like, that’s okay, come on in. I don’t have that boundary anymore, because, uh, she’s not abusing it. She’s not just popping in and invading on your life, um, in a way that was unacceptable to you. So you can just drop it. Don’t need it anymore. How do you know it’s time to set a boundary with someone you love? Well, boundaries are being set for you, so you need to check in with yourself. And this is going to look different with everybody and every person here on this webinar. It’s going to look different for each one of you when you want to set a boundary. Some people I have a friend of mine, I honestly will not be around people who yell if the voices get raised. I’m like, even if it’s a debate, could be politics, could be a debate about sports. Uh, and maybe it’s not really yelling, but if they raise their voices decibel wise and it’s getting heated, I leave. Well, my friend doesn’t have that boundary at all. She grew up with a household that banters, and they rib each other. And, uh, if you didn’t know that’s what they were like, you’d think they were having an all out fight. There’s no boundary there, and she doesn’t want one. She likes the discourse, and everything’s fine. So I’m uncomfortable when people raise their voices. I don’t like it. 


I used to have a problem with alcohol. That’s why I quit drinking. And it’s going to be ten years in October. I had a problem with alcohol. I’m a little uncomfortable around alcohol. So I still have my boundary. It’s harder for me to manage my thoughts and my emotions, so I do that. And my husband, we’re, uh, talking about him a lot. I saw him walk by out my window before. He should not watch this replay, but he’s actually given me full permission to share about him. But he used to yell at me again. He’s changed. I started changing. He started changing. We’ve worked on our marriage together. He doesn’t yell at me hardly ever. Okay? Occasionally he really loses his ability to regulate himself, and he’ll start to yell, and I leave the room 10 minutes later, he’s like, Whoops, sorry, I didn’t mean to do that. But I love him. And I knew yelling wasn’t okay for me, and I was going to stand up for that. And that meant I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? He might, uh, get so frustrated with me. He doesn’t like it. He might not want to live with me anymore. He might think I’m arrogant. He might think I’m selfish, self righteous, and sometimes he did. Not anymore. Now he’s glad I set those boundaries. But you need to know that you want to set a boundary because it’s going to be good for you. Because you’re suffering now. You’re suffering with someone else’s consequences, or your thoughts and feelings are so hard to manage. You’re struggling with stress and anxiety. 


You’ve got to do something so you can get a handle on your own emotional health. It’s time to set a boundary. So if you have something specific going on and you want me to address that specific situation, feel free to type it in the Q and A. It’s anonymous in the Q and A. Or you can just set up that free coaching call with me and we will handle it. Okay. I see a question in the chat. How do you set a good boundary with family members? I have a sister who asks me to watch her kids and help her often. I’m struggling with being a, uh, supportive sister and enabling her neediness. So this is one of those that I think is in between that area. Like, is it actually a boundary or is it just you needing to manage your own choices and limits? Do you actually need to set a boundary with her, or do you need to set a boundary with yourself? Because when you say yes to helping her, you’re the creator of that circumstance. If you’re watching her kids and helping her out and having her kids over a lot, that circumstance is existing because you said yes. So if there’s pain coming along with it, you might need to set a boundary for yourself, for what you’ll say yes to. And being, uh, a supportive sister, that can look all sorts of ways. A supportive sister could be someone who talks with her sister on the phone for a half an hour every week. Supportive sister could be whatever you make it mean. I like to think that supporting someone is being willing to love, express love, and encourage them and just unconditionally love them. That doesn’t mean you have to answer the phone, doesn’t mean you have to watch her kids. You get to say no. So how do you set a good boundary with family members? You need to set a boundary with yourself. All she’s doing is asking, do you want to set a boundary? Like, if you ask me to do something for you, here’s what’s going to happen. If we’re on the phone and you ask me to help you, I’m going to hang up. I’m not sure that’s what you actually want to do. I think you’re looking for permission to say no, and this is all about you.


This isn’t about her. She can ask you as much as she wants. She can call you or text you every day and ask you to do something and you can say I love you and no, I love you and I can’t help this time. I love you. And I’ve decided for me, I’m going to set a standard or a limit for myself that I only babysit for 2 hours once a week, and I already have that filled. So the answer is no for now, but you can ask me next week. I don’t have anyone set up for that time yet. Okay, so that’s how you might want to start with that one. Okay, next question. What if the one you’re setting the boundary with doesn’t work? I wonder if that means the boundary doesn’t work or the person doesn’t work. I’m going to take this question as what if you set a boundary and the boundary doesn’t work? 


Okay. The only reason a boundary wouldn’t work is if you choose not to enforce it, because the boundary is not going to change the other person’s behavior. I think we look at boundaries often as if I set this boundary, that when they yell at me, I’ll leave the room. Pretty soon they’ll get the hint and they’ll stop yelling at me. But that usually doesn’t happen. I mean, sometimes it does and the person doesn’t want the boundary. Yeah, people don’t want boundaries. I think of it this way. I think in the Townsend book with those lawns, he was talking about having a sprinkler set up on your side of the lawn and it’s arching over to the other person’s yard and their lawn is getting water. The hose and the sprinkler in your yard hooked up to your water. You’re paying the water bill and they’re reaping the benefits. You have the consequence, you have the bill, you have to pay the money. You’re out the money and your lawn is brown. They don’t have to pay the money. They get to keep their money and their lawn stays green. They do not want you to stop watering their lawn. Life’s easy that way. 


When my counselor asked me what consequences there for your husband going out to the bars, there wasn’t one. He just leave the house whenever he wanted, talk to a friend for hours, eat peanuts, tell jokes, watch sports, and there was no consequence. He would come home. There was no consequence. And I was trying to be a good wife. I was trying to show up, love him unconditionally, do marital things, and nothing changed. And I suffered. He didn’t want that boundary. The person’s lawn you’re watering does not want that boundary. It’s going to be painful for them because they’re going to have to start accepting responsibility for their behavior. And someone who’s not used to doing that is not going to like it doesn’t feel good. So you have to decide, are you willing to deal with that person being angry at you and saying, uh, bad things about you and saying you’re so selfish for not wanting to water my lawn anymore. Now I have to suffer. How dare you? Are you willing to deal with their emotional struggle being spewed back at you? And then you might even want to set up an additional boundary if you decide I’m not watering your lawn anymore. And then they start throwing trash in your lawn as out of rebellion could happen. 


So you might want to know what you’re going to do in that case as well. And I’m painting a pretty grim picture, but that’s like the worst case scenario. When somebody who is not working on their own thoughts, emotional maturity, they’re probably going to react immaturely. Somebody who doesn’t want a boundary isn’t going to like it. Did I get to everyone’s question here? I think I did. Boundaries is one of my favorite topics. I appreciate you all showing up here. I hope this was very helpful for you. I would like to help you further. I’m here a few of you I’ve coached before and I know there’s a lot of other people here who have not been coached yet. What are you waiting for? It’s a free call. I haven’t coached a person yet who hasn’t loved the results they’ve gotten in their life. I’m just here to guide you, give you the tools, and you get to make amazing changes and feel better, have more peace, more joy, more contentment. It is so worth it. So come get a free coaching call with me and we will make you feel better together. It’s going to be awesome. I hope you all had a great time here tonight. I think you guys are all awesome. Have an amazing summer night. I’ll see you next time. Take care of you.


As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.

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