As we grow older, and wiser, we realize some relationships in our life are far from healthy and we need to make the hard choice of ending them or maintaining a healthy distance. That doesn’t only apply to our love life. At some point, we might realize that our relationship with one of our family members or our family in general is dysfunctional. Our parents have a say in nearly every aspect of our lives. But until when?
People so close to us are the people who are most difficult to set boundaries with. When it comes to Egypt, the very term of “limits” is almost non existent; especially when it comes to family. In a way, we all end up compromising and we eventually turn into people-pleasers who don’t have the decision making liberty!
If you happen to fall under this category know that this will effect every other aspect of your life. If you continue to do stuff only to meet your parents’ expectations you will end up not knowing who you are.
We’ve decided to take the initiative and talk to a family counselor and ask about tips on how to set healthy limits with your family. Here’s what he had to say!
Name Your Limits
You can’t set healthy boundaries if you don’t know where you stand. Before having the big talk with your family, decide on what you could tolerate and accept and what makes you stressed and uncomfortable. Your needs could be of physical, spiritual, mental or emotional limits.
For example, you could be unsatisfied by the idea of a curfew your family is setting for you. It might feel a little unreasonable for your age. You might argue about having a curfew in the first place, too.
On the physical levels, it could be that your family obligates you to a certain dress code and you would like to change that. Or you could feel emotionally violated by certain family members who never give you a safe space to communicate how you feel.
You will need to choose your approach wisely. You could start by the angry attitude that says “This is how I am and put in everyone’s face” but it wouldn’t be the wisest decision. You want to be firm but still avoid any out lashes; make sure your tone is low while communicating what you need exactly from your family.
It is not just enough to set boundaries, you actually have to see them through. Or else all you’ve worked on, will fail. You can’t expect your family to start working immediately on the points you’ve discussed. It takes courage, practice and support to achieve this critical transition, so be persistent but patient.
Beware of Guilt Shaming
Have a good amount of self awareness that will make you see self care as a priority. Don’t feel like the bad guy here, fighting for oneself is fighting for a good cause. You are not being an ungrateful child, you are trying to establish a wider bridge between your needs and your family’s expectations.