The Relationship Expert
Licensed Psychologist in Arroyo Grande & Los Osos
Healthy Relationships Start with Healthy Boundaries
When it comes to relationship counseling, one of the issues most clients struggle with is boundaries. Many of us find ourselves in relationships that are out of balance. There are no limits but an expectation to take responsibility for one another’s emotions. To do anything less would be seen as unloving.
Let’s imagine a moment in the life of Carolyn, who has an adult daughter, Jessica. Jessica has two children of her own. One morning, Carolyn was on her way out the door to go walking with some friends. Just then, her cell phone rang. It was Jessica. “Mom, so glad you’re there,” Jessica said. “I forgot I had an appointment, and I really need you to take the kids for a couple hours. I’m getting them buckled in, and we should be there in twenty minutes. Is that okay?”
Is it okay? Can Carolyn be a loving mother and grandmother and still say no? …Or would that be selfish? How about if it makes Jessica upset and stresses their relationship?
Boundaries in Action
We all want to be loving. We also want to be liked by the ones we care about. When it comes to our spouses, loved ones, children, and parents, we want to give them the things that will make them happy. What can be revolutionary is the idea that we can love someone and still say no.
When you set boundaries with someone who has grown used to you going along with them, it’s a big deal, and it is often hardest in the beginning.
Just for fun, let’s imagine what this would sound like if the person being confronted by a boundary were completely honest and self-aware. Maybe something like, “I don’t like your new boundary. Before, you took my problem, but now you’re not. Deep down it scares me that you are trying to change the dynamic of our relationship into something new and unknown to me.”
No doubt, setting a boundary is going to cause some ripples. If you remain consistent, the relationship may be tested, and it will probably change. But by allowing others to experience resistance from you, you are also allowing them and you the opportunity to grow.
To learn more about boundaries, I recommend reading the book Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud. Please note that the writers are Christian psychologists, and they use biblical references.
In our counseling sessions, clients learn how to deal with their own emotions. They also work through relationships in their life that are tying them up in knots. When it comes to relationships, it is not only okay to set physical and emotional boundaries, it’s healthy.
“Going through the process and having her support changed the way I was thinking…I think everyone’s needs are different but I also think that Dr. Lisa is willing to meet people right where they are.” Read more…
How about you? Are there any areas in your life where you feel like someone is tying you up in knots?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Your 15 minute phone consultation is free, and there’s no obligation.
Counseling Offices in Los Osos & Arroyo Grande
I’m conveniently located in San Luis Obispo County with two counseling locations to serve you. It’s easy to make an appointment.
Lisa Neuenschwander, Ph.D. Los Osos
900 Los Osos Valley Rd, Ste C
Los Osos, CA 93433
Lisa Neuenschwander, Ph.D. Arroyo Grande
1555 El Camino Real
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420