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  • Taylor Nakakihara


What are boundaries? I’m fantastic at physical boundaries (social distancing was super cool - enforced personal space hallelujah!), but absolutely awful at emotional boundaries.

Boundary noun

  1. a real or imaginary line that marks the limits or edges of a place or piece of land

  2. an imaginary line that marks the limits of something and separates it from other things

  3. [usually plural] the farthest limit of something; the limit of what is possible or acceptable

TherapyDave has a big post about the consequences of not having boundaries - all of my reasons for over-extending myself past where I am comfortable (or safe) are rooted in a hugely overdeveloped sense of responsibility and a very illogical belief in fairness. Peeling the onion on why I feel so responsible for so much that isn’t my business, I think I do this because

  • If I make myself responsible for enough of someone else’s needs, maybe they won’t abandon me.

  • I had a lot of responsibility around the home growing up - it feels natural to be responsible for every little thing now.

  • If I don’t upset people, they will like me and be nice to me in return.

  • If I show people I care, they will show me they care.

  • I’m really good at a lot of things - isn’t it selfish not to share my skills with people?

  • I am more comfortable in an offensive position of meeting people’s needs, rather than a defensive one. If I do enough behind the scenes, I will make their life easier and make them happier.

Color me fully unsurprised that I am extremely codependent and affected by the emotional state of those I feel close to. Not setting limits is just one aspect of a niceness I wear that doesn’t suit me and is actively ruining my life. One thing that has always intrigued me about people who have boundaries, and are good at defending them, is that they are comfortable with a level of selfishness that I deeply respect but also don’t feel comfortable expressing for myself. I JUST learned how to say “no” to things and not think about it for the next 24 hours.

I finally see that one of the reasons my boyfriend was so attractive to me when we met was that you simply cannot make that man do something he doesn’t want to do. Sexy selfishness, essentially. Fast forward a few years and he’s still great at boundaries and I’m still awful at them, but now we live together and I am exhausted from constantly absorbing or anticipating his emotional state and I don’t want to live like this anymore. I recognize this is an opportunity for me to change a lifelong behavior and either help my current relationship or make me better for the next one.

One priority is finding a new therapist (I ghosted yet another last November and yes I do still feel bad about that in May), but there are a lot of great resources out there that don’t require the funds and/or insurance that therapy does. Plus ya girl loves a fresh new guided notebook!

Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself (Book and Workbook)

by Nedra Glover Tawwab

The Set Boundaries Workbook: Practical Exercises for Understanding Your Needs and Setting Healthy Limits

This book and workbook combo caught my eye

first - something to read and something to engage with is a good combo for me to stay actively participating in the content.

I also didn’t realize that there are 6 different kinds of boundaries I can/should work on, and clearly need the additional reading material!

The Boundaries Journal: Prompts and Practices for Healthier Relationships―and a Happier You

by Jamie Reeves

This workbook looks a little less academic and therefore a little more approachable than the other option.

I like that it seems to have a similar amount of prompted content and that the two-page spreads allow the reader room to explore their current thought process and then immediately reflect on ways to redirect those thought patterns.

Happy Journaling! Check back later in Summer 2022 to see how my boundary exploration and setting is going :)

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