Holidays are great celebrations of boundary breaking! Holidays are like the national “boundary breakers free-for-all.”
Family dysfunction is at an all time high and these are the things they make movies out of. Foods are brought to your home that you may not want or object to for some reason. People who are difficult enough to deal with on the telephone may now be staying in your home for a few days. If you’re a parent, gifts may be given to your children that you don’t approve of. The intruders are telling you and your children things you don’t want to know, and they’re asking you about things that you don’t want to share. Plus, they’re giving you advice on running your life, home, etc. Worse than that, you may have family members or in-laws who are downright insulting or verbally abusive. If you are already dealing with depression or anxiety these are the times that your symptoms can go through the roof.
If you grew up in a dysfunctional home or one that lacked boundaries it is likely that you may not be comfortable with or even understand the importance of them. Boundaries protect and take care of you, they define how you will behave and how you want others to behave around you.
You may feel that the moment you are all back together every dysfunctional pattern that you grew up with replays itself. And if you haven’t worked these things out or made boundaries for yourself around them it is probably true. You may feel like a child again reliving hurtful or stressful patterns that you dread.
When you honor your own boundaries you are living true to yourself and it feels good! When others refuse to pay attention or do not honor your boundaries it feels terrible. Many of you probably understand very well what it feels like to have your feelings and thoughts invalidated or ridiculed, to feel that any love coming your way had many conditions put upon it or even that nothing you did was good enough.
Here are a few tips for holiday boundary setting:
1. It is your house, you set the rules.