Treatment planning and action steps for boundaries in marriage
Here are some suggestions for developing boundaries:
1) Help the person identify areas of their life that show a lack of boundaries.
2) Help the person explore the reason for the lack of limits (for example, are they afraid they won’t like them or will they be rejected if they have limits?).
3) Get people to build relationships with people who have strong limits and who will encourage the person to set their own.
4) Help the person identify how successful and caring people always have strong limits.
5) Show the person how even Christ had strong limits.
6) Make the person take charge of their own problems and do not allow them to pretend to be the victim or blame others. (eg, the customer is not allowed to say that I am going broke because Johnny keeps turning up the thermostat. The real reason the customer is going broke is because he doesn’t have a firm limit to keep Johnny from turning up the thermostat.) .
7) Help people set limits and set consequences with people who are pushing, manipulating, controlling or breaking limits.
8) Teach the person that it is still good to give freely and even sacrificially (sometimes) to people who really need help. Having limits does not mean that one lacks grace, mercy, or charity.
The anatomy of a boundary
Boundaries have a simple anatomy: there are two basic parts to a boundary. The first involves setting the limit and is called the If You part. The second is the consequence and the defense of the border which is called the Then me part.
If you separate is a description of an unacceptable transgression. Describe the specific boundary and how it should not be crossed. For example, if one person’s limit refers to someone else taking your car without permission, the statement if you could be: If you take my car without my permission.
Part I of a boundary details the action that will be taken to protect the boundary. For example, using the car scenario, the declaration of will might sound like this: I will report my car was stolen to the police and then press charges against it.
(Sounds harsh? It isn’t! If one person is taking someone else’s car without permission, they are breaking the law and must be held accountable for it. Stealing from friends and family is still stealing. Of course, the person who has the habit of driving the other person’s car should be well informed of the limit. Imagine borrowing someone’s car, thinking that you agreed with it, and then being arrested! Therefore, it is necessary that one’s limits be communicated clearly to others).
Other examples include:
If you are late for our appointment, I will not go out with you.
If you hit me, I will call the police and get a restraining order against you.
If you yell, I’ll stop talking to you.
If you don’t submit your homework, I will fail you.
It is not enough to establish limits, it is necessary to enforce them. The worst thing a person can do is set a limit and then fail to carry out their enforcement strategy. If a person doesn’t respect their own limits, why should anyone else?
Sometimes people are not ready to set limits. For example, if a person wants to set limits in a relationship, but is not willing to leave the relationship, do not make that person establish themselves, I will leave the relationship as a consequence. The consequence I will should be something they are willing to enforce, such as: I will leave the house and call you the next day to discuss the problem. Setting limits is not about making threats. It’s about respecting and taking care of yourself. Some people can become too rigid with their limits. Think about the person who set the limit: if you say something I don’t like, I will yell at you and insult you. Obviously, not all limits are good. People should consider the ways in which their limits can harm others (and themselves). The telephone psychologist can help you.