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  • Kennedy McLean

Understanding Boundaries

You may think of boundaries as being what you feel comfortable with in terms of your actions but boundaries are as much about what you are willing to let into your life. Understanding what your boundaries are and how you are affected by the world around you is critical to your well-being and to be able to establish healthy boundaries.


Let's imagine you are in a relationship with someone and you both have stressful jobs but your partner comes home every day and needs to "vent" about their work and the horrible people that they work with. As they are talking they are very heated and emotions are running high (the last thing you want when you are trying to relax and unwind after a long day). Maybe this venting makes your partner feel better, and they can sleep soundly but after listening to an hour of this every night you are not only exhausted but you feel like you can't wind down and so you find yourself staring at the ceiling unable to sleep. You don't know what is wrong, you are being supportive of your partner, who is experiencing stress at work. What else would you do...You find that you are feeling resentful and waking up angry in the morning and you realize you are not okay.


This is a sign that your boundaries are being violated.


In the scenario above, the discomfort is coming from the fact that a boundary is being violated. This does not make either partner "bad," it just means that they have different needs. Ideally, the one partner needs to communicate how they are feeling to the partner who has been venting and needs to set a boundary. There is a simple formula for communication that often works ( When you, I feel, I need)

It could look something like:

  1. When you vent to me after work late at night,

  2. I feel anxious and overwhelmed,

  3. I need to have time to myself at night to decompress /for us to limit work-related discussions to the weekend/for you to talk to someone because I can't take it all on myself if we are going to have a healthy relationship

It is also important to remember when you set a boundary, you should expect that you will have to reinforce it.


About Kennedy

I have been working in the field of addiction and mental health for almost 10 years. I am currently a therapist in private practice in Etobicoke, just outside of Toronto. 

As a therapist, I am trained to help people with all kinds of issues stress, depression, anxiety, and grief for example.

I also specialize in working with people of all ages who have experienced trauma.

Anything written in my blog posts is my own thoughts. They are intended to offer information that may be interesting or useful for contemplation.

 

Nothing I have written is intended to be a substitute for seeking professional help.

-Kennedy McLean

For the health and safety of clients and staff, the office has a fragrance-free policy. Please refrain from wearing scented products when attending your appointments. Service dogs are welcome.

Kennedy McLean Counselling & Psychotherapy Services Online Counselling and Telephone Psychological Therapy and Psychotherapy throughout Ontario, Canada including Toronto, North York, Vaughan, Thornhill, Mississauga, Etobicoke, Brampton, Guelph, Hamilton, Burlington, and Oakville. Kennedy McLean © 2020