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Setting boundaries with family members

Setting boundaries can be tough and feel uncomfortable. And yet, it is part of a healthy lifestyle and self-care. Setting boundaries with family members can be even more challenging because you might feel like you owe them or that one should always put family ties above all else or your needs matter less than those of your parents or siblings. However, relationships in the family are like all other relationships in the sense that with different people, personnalities and experiences, come different needs and different boundaries. In order to thrive, family dynamics requires work and working on a relationship includes setting boundaries when needed.

“Having healthy boundaries not only requires being able to say "no", but also being willing to enforce that "no" when necessary. ” – Jessica Moore

Setting boundaries with a family member can look like:

  • "I don't like it when you call me that. Please call me ... instead"

  • "I don't feel comfortable doing this"

  • "Please don't show up unannounced"

  • "I don't have time to chat right now. I'll text you or call you back when I can"

  • "Please talk to me with respect or I will have to hang up/leave"

  • "I don't want to talk about this right now. Can we change the subject?"

  • "I have made my decision, please respect it"

  • "This makes me feel uncomfortable. Please don't do this in my presence"

  • "I'm leaving now"

  • "I want to spend the holidays with my friends/alone"

  • "I'm full, I don't want to eat more"

  • "I appreciate you wanting to help but I need to make my own decisions"

Those are of course only some possible examples that you can adapt to your own needs. What are some boundaries you feel are missing from this list? And which boundaries have you had to set with family members so far? Let me know in the comments!


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