Boundaries are essential when you have a loved one in addiction. It can seem exhausting and you may start feeling defeated when the boundaries don't work, so why even bother setting them. We can start succumbing to our fates of feeling like a doormat.
There are several reasons why your boundaries may not be working.
The boundaries are unrealistic
Maybe you are setting unrealistic boundaries. An unrealistic boundary looks a lot like you demanding someone change their behaviors. Unfortunately, we have no control over another's behavior, we only have control over what we do when someone behaves in a certain way. I get it though, I still find myself every now and then trying to control someone else.
What works for some, may not work for others
Maybe someone told you a boundary they set with their loved one and it worked. So, you went and tried it only to find it failed miserably. There aren't blanket solutions or boundaries in this world of addiction. It just may not have been the right boundary to set for your loved one or the right time.
You don't have all the facts to set effective boundaries
Maybe you are trying to set boundaries without knowing what is really going on. The world of addiction is confusing and seemingly illogical to people who are not in it. But it is predictable to those who are familiar with it. Find someone that can fill in the gaps that you may not know about. That way, your boundaries can be set knowing more of the facts.
You don't believe in the boundaries you are setting.
This goes back to a previous reason. What works for some may not work for others. So, if you are setting boundaries because someone else told you to and you don't believe in them enough, it won't work. There has to be a commitment to each boundary set that you will defend it no matter what. Otherwise, it's best not to set them.
You don't know why you are setting them
Again, if you are just listening to someone else and doing what they tell you to do without a full understanding of WHY the boundary is important, you will have a higher chance of allowing those boundaries to be crossed. For example, if you don't know WHY you need to kick them out of the house, then you may do it, but let them back in because you feel guilty. Or you bail them out of jail AGAIN. Or send them to their 30th rehab (yes, there are people that have gone that many times, I just read this morning in a group that this woman's son was going into rehab for his 35th time!!!!)
You're setting ultimatums with no intentions on following through
It won't work. Ultimatums don't work. They will call your bull shit every time. They will stare you in the face and watch you crumble. It's as simple as that.
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