Hand with Heart in the middle The Life Coach


What do you do when you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place with someone you love? How do you suddenly choose to start setting boundaries in your life when you have been living a life without them?

Most unhealthy relationships, whether they are with a parent, a child, a friendship, or a romantic relationship, have few boundaries in place and there is usually one person that is being drained emotionally, physically or financially by the dependent party or parties.

1. Establish boundaries that are true to you.

Know your limits. Learn to say “no” when you want to say yes. I used to keep adjusting my boundaries to fit each relationship.  Boundaries shouldn’t be so fluid. Boundaries are your values which can be tough to identify when we have never realized what they are. Many of you reading this probably do not know what your boundaries are. They should roll off your tongue like the alphabet. No boundaries = no self-respect for yourself or the dependent. Boundaries are your friend.white waves on a sandy brown beach

2. Let your behavior, not your words, speak for you.

So what do we do if anyone pushes our boundaries (because they will)? Decide what the consequences are. Present your boundaries clearly to people, then let your behavior do the talking. People WILL test, push, and disrespect your limits. You’ll know you’re getting healthier when this doesn’t get an emotional reaction out of you. When your boundaries are your core beliefs, you will not get riled up if you are tested.

Everyone loves a great drama or a sad sob story; at the movies. Do not fall for it in your life. Listen, open heartedly and learn to separate your head from your heart. A sob story is a manipulative way of trying to get attention. You want the dependent to become their own hero, so don’t allow them or yourself to be the victim by falling for the story.


3. Realize that they can do more for themselves if you allow it.

Plain and simple! Unless this is an elderly adult or a young child, do not do more than what you need to do in your relationships. Doing everything for someone else who is capable only destroys your own energy levels and confidence. It also allows them to realize it’s okay to take advantage of you.

A simple example is that when my eleven-year-old son would not put his dirty clothes into the laundry room I decided it was time for him to do his own laundry. It took some teaching and ta-dah.  It worked so well that I made a 3X5 card with directions. When the other kids turned 10, 11, 12 all they had to do was read the card and follow directions. I soon found this effective for making beds, cleaning the bathroom or kitchen. It worked especially well when I became a single mother and they were responsible to do the chores to “mom standards”.  If someone is physically and emotionally capable of doing a task, teach them and let them. It’s good for everyone, including future son or daughter in laws.

4. You can’t change others; so change yourself.

We cannot change others. We are not responsible for what comes out of their mouth, the daily choices they make or their reactions, etc. The bottom line? Since you can’t change other people, change how you deal with them. As Dr. Cloud says in Boundaries, “They may be motivated to change if their old ways no longer work.”

5. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

The biggest part of boundaries is how CLEARLY you communicate them. You can have the most healthy set of boundaries on the planet but if you do not communicate them clearly, you are going to create some really confusing relationships, both for you and everyone else involved.


6. Get Help!

When you are having difficulties stopping your enabling practices or setting boundaries to reach out for help. When you give and give and give they know that manipulation has always worked before. Learn to walk away and get help. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. Only you can find an oasis and enjoy! When you worry about someone else day in and day out and how they will react when you say no, setting some solid boundaries and demonstrating some self-love is key to healthy relationships. Get ready for your life to change, because it will.


multiple hands in unity

“Grab Hold of Life With Both Hands”

Who’s with me?