We’ve all been there – stuck in a relationship with someone who drives us nuts or seeks to harm us. We don’t know how to free ourselves from the chains and bondage. We can’t seem to fathom a life without them, even though they impede our happiness. It’s a serious problem in the world today. With family constructs built upon foundations based on guilt and codependency, we all find it difficult to push back, draw the line, and break ties. But, haven’t you had enough? Aren’t you ready to reconstruct how to think about and enact these things? Do you want a change?
For those of us with big hearts and never-ending pools of energy, setting boundaries can be difficult. We might be in the midst of experiencing something deeply inspiring and truly wonderful, yet somehow we’ll allow an old flame, sibling, or arch-nemesis to mess us up. It’s an old story: “Life was going along so well – until ding-dong came along and hurt me again!”
It doesn’t have to be this way.
How To Set Boundaries With Confidence
1: When the other person is not around, write down how you feel now that you are separate from them. Continue to imagine other scenarios where they are not around and note how you feel.
2: Make a list of the people who enable this relationship to continue. You know who I’m talking about: the tangential people who appear to be invested in you and the other person being connected. Write down their names and what you believe they continue to receive from you having this relationship.
3: Make a list of how your life would change if this harmful person was no longer in your life.
4: Make a list of the types of people you would prefer to have in your life. You can also list their attributes.
5: Write an email, letter, or text to the person with whom you want to set boundaries. Share a clear list with them, nothing what the boundaries are, and what life will be like with these new boundaries in place. Ask that they respect your request. If the person is dangerous, send a copy of the communication to your lawyer and best friend. Send the communication and move on. If they have follow-up questions, that’s okay, but set a 24-hour time limit, then hold firm and move on.
6: Write and send emails, letters or texts and tell these people about the new boundaries you’ve set up. Ask them to either support you in this endeavor or remain detached and out of your way.
7: Remain clear, firm, and positive. Stick to your plan. Release anyone from your life who is not supportive of this pursuit. They don’t deserve you and they might find other ways to trip-you-up in the future.
Remember: Setting boundaries is about protecting yourself. It is not about offending the other person. While the other person might want to feel offended, it is their illusion to relish or release.
How To Say Goodbye To Someone (maybe forever)
1: Be very clear about how you feel about this person. Make sure that your decision to remove them from your life has come after a long series of events or over many years.
2: Forget whether or not they deserve one more chance. They probably don’t.
- Write an email, letter, or text to this person outlining (as briefly as possible) why you need to move on without them. In your communication, share what you learned and what you still have not learned. If you can sincerely say “thank you” for something they gave you, do that with an open heart. Don’t gush, just state something positive. Send the communication and move on. If they have follow-up questions, that’s okay, but set a 72-hour time limit, then silence.
- Notify the people whom you both know in common. Ask that they respect your decision. If you need to cite a few reasons, that’s okay. Just don’t vomit all over the page when communicating with these people. Keep it simple and move on.
5: Honor how you feel, release our emotions, and pray for everyone involved.
It’s difficult to make drastic changes to the relationships in our lives. As we get older, we realize that having 20 friends can be exhausting, but having 1, 2, or 3 best friends can be energizing and freeing. It’s all about freeing yourself so that you can attract and choose positive experiences that bring you clarity, joy, love, and happiness. You can do this. Be clear, honor your feelings, and move on. It’s time.