Why is it so hard to set boundaries with other people?
This is something that I have struggled with most of my life. For me, setting boundaries gets all mixed up with religious teachings about loving other people, societal values, and the general admonition to be nice. Intellectually I know that one can set boundaries without being mean. Emotionally, it usually still feels mean. Try this tapping.
Setup (tapping karate chop point): Even though I find it hard to set boundaries with other people, I deeply and completely accept myself and all of my feelings. Even though I have found it hard to set boundaries with other people in the past, I accept myself and all of my feelings about this. Even though I find it hard to set boundaries with other people, I deeply and completely love and accept myself and am looking forward to feeling better about this in the future.
Eyebrow…I find it hard to set boundaries with other people
Side of Eye…I get all nervous
Under the Eye…And I feel it in the pit of my stomach
Under the Nose…And my jaw tightens up
Chin…Even worse, sometimes I stutter
Collarbone…When I do set boundaries, I’m usually very mad
Under the Arm…Then I’m more aggressive than assertive
Top of Head…Or a total basket case
Eyebrow…That’s not really setting boundaries with others
Side of Eye…That is just reacting
Under the Eye…I want to learn more about why it has been hard for me
Under the Nose…I think I’m afraid they won’t like me
Chin…There have been times when I’ve said no
Collarbone…And sometimes it works well
Under the Arm…And sometimes people react badly
Top of Head…I can’t really control other people’s reactions
Eyebrow…And by not setting boundaries, I’m attempting to feel like I’m in control
Side of Eye…But it is really false control
Under the Eye…Because my needs aren’t being met
Under the Nose…I’m looking forward to catching myself in this unhealthy pattern more often
Chin…So that I can observe it and change it
Collarbone…I am open to understanding my motivations in each situation
Under the Arm…I am open to learning new ways to set boundaries with other people
Top of Head…I am looking forward to respecting my own needs while still respecting other people.
This tapping sequence is just a jumping off point. One way to take this further is to tap while telling the story about a specific time that you had trouble setting boundaries. Include what happened, the thoughts in your head at the time if you remember, the feelings that were present during the event, the feelings that you have now when you think about the event, and even how you wished you might have handled it differently. The more specific you get, the better the result.