When you have a loved one struggling with substance misuse or addiction, you know firsthand that relationship boundaries become blurred. As you try to help your loved ones, they may see your efforts as controlling or manipulative. You may take their actions the same way. That’s why establishing boundaries in addiction is not just important; it’s beneficial to both you and your loved one.
Setting Boundaries In Addiction
Boundaries are simply limits that we all have for ourselves that define our values, self-worth, and actions. The boundaries we create tend to be what protect us both physically and emotionally.
Boundaries are not about controlling another person or manipulating them to behave in a manner you want. Instead, they’re limits we all set personally to encompass what feels comfortable to us.
Typically in healthy relationships, boundaries are respected. We feel safe with others and supported. When we have healthy boundaries, we generally feel valued and that our self-worth is strong enough to put up guardrails for our comfort and the comfort of those we love.
But when it comes to boundaries in addiction, it’s often a different story. At the core, boundaries are about protecting yourself and having a healthy self-image and sense of worth. For your loved one struggling with addiction, though, this may not be the case.
Often, your loved ones may desperately want to have boundaries they abide by, but they slip up and then feel worse about themselves. Past trauma and boundary-overstepping may creep up in their current adult behavior and allow them to manipulate and attempt to manipulate you as they struggle with their addiction.
Who Needs To Set Boundaries
Your loved one AND you need to set boundaries. With boundaries in addiction, you can have healthy relationships even if your struggling loved one isn’t fully fit yet.
You and your loved one both need to have boundaries for psychological protection. Establishing limitations with your loved ones doesn’t mean you’re trying to manipulate them. On the contrary, you’re trying to protect yourself from manipulation and maintain a relationship with them.
Firm boundaries are good for you both. Your loved one knows where you stand in what you will and will not accept. Healthy boundaries show your loved ones that you love them but that you love yourself too. Establishing firm boundaries in addiction recovery with a loved one gives them an example of self-value and self-love. They help to protect your emotions and make many grey areas black and white. Keeping boundaries clear is good for you and your loved one because guilt and shame don’t have to come in to play and trigger either of you.
Most importantly, setting boundaries with a loved one struggling with addiction is likely to encourage them to seek help. Too often, someone struggling with addiction will try to walk over your boundaries to keep their addictive behavior going without sacrificing the relationship.
When you set healthy boundaries that will come with consequences they’re aware of, they’re more likely to seek out treatment so they can recover your relationships as well.
Boundaries In Addiction Protect Everyone
The most important thing to remember about boundaries in addiction is that you’re not trying to control your loved one’s behaviors or actions. They may accuse you of doing so, but that’s likely only because you may be cutting them off from something they previously had (money, time, shelter, etc.).
And that hurts. When you put up firm boundaries, your loved one may take it personally. They may not see you protecting yourself from more hurt as you watch addiction hurt them. They also may not see it as you protecting them and helping them have clear expectations so you can have healthy relationships.
At Clear Life Recovery, we understand that boundaries are essential in your relationship with your loved one struggling with addiction. We work with both you and your loved one to help you establish boundaries that make you both feel safe, supported, and loved.
Boundary setting isn’t about creating a list of rules to live by; it’s about establishing parameters for healthy relationships for you both as your loved one goes through addiction recovery. We are committed to helping your loved one on the path to free and sober living, and we focus on doing so with boundaries that allow you to both feel vital and valued.
If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, you know how hard it is to feel you’re making the right choices. Let us walk with you and help you and your loved one get back to a loving relationship. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you love them without sacrificing yourself in the process.