Thursday, August 16, 2007

Creating Boundaries

What does it mean to create boundaries? What is a boundary? On their website coping.org, James J. Messina Ph.D and Contance M. Messina Ph.D describe a boundary in the following ways;

Emotional and physical space between you and another person.

A limit or line over which you will not allow anyone to cross because of the negative impact of it being crossed on the past.

A healthy emotional distance you can maintain between you and another person so you don't become too enmeshed and/or dependent.

These are just a few ways of describing what we are calling boundaries.

Drs. Messina also describe how to establish healthy boundaries and how you can identify unhealthy thinking that allows boundaries to be ignored or violated.

Examples of unhealthy thoughts are;

"I can never say no."

"It's my duty to hold them together."

"I would feel guilty if I just did something on my own."

Drs. James and Constance Messina also suggest a method to establish healthy boundaries.

First: Identify symptoms that indicate your boundaries are currently being ignored, violated or haven't been established.

Second: Identify the unhealthy thinking and beliefs which allows this to happen.

Third: Identify new methods of thinking about the situation that encourage the establishment of healthy boundaries.

Fourth: Identify new behaviors, ways of responding to the situation that can help to establish healthy boundaries.

Fifth: Implement the new behaviors and begin creating healthy boundaries and healthy thinking about the situation.

It is very important for anyone dealing with addiction in the family to get help. You can not do this alone

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