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  • Meet the Educator Q&A: Anna Guthrie presenting on personal boundaries.

    Lhiver
    Community Builder
    Posts: 716
    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 9:59 am

    Meet the Educator Q&A: Anna Guthrie presenting on personal boundaries.

    Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:59 am

    Meet the Educator Q+A: Anna Guthrie presenting on personal boundaries.

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    Are you a family member or a close friend supporting a loved one through their recovery?
    Supporting a loved one in the midst of addiction can be very difficult and challenging.
    A common theme and recurring question that people have is about how to set healthy boundaries.

    We want to do what is best for those that we love, but the lines of a boundary can easily be blurred and extremely difficult to put into place.
    Often family, partners, and close friends are the last ones standing, and it may be that they are the only person who continue to stick by the person with a substance use disorder.
    It can feel extremely difficult and isolating for family members and friends.
    So we are here to answer any questions you may have around boundaries and the supports that are available for you.

    Meet the Educator: Anna Guthrie. Anna is an Education Officer at Turning Point with over 20 years’ experience in the area of alcohol and drugs. Anna’s work involves supporting family members and friends of people living with addiction. Anna is a key educator in the Breakthrough program, which offers family, friends and partners practical strategies for managing challenging behaviours, setting boundaries and developing self-care as a priority.

    So let’s discuss boundary setting. Feel free to ask any question you’ve been wanting to know more about.
    This thread will be open for 1 week until Friday 8th July for any questions you may have.
    Anna will then answer these questions at the end of the week and tag you in the response.

    Remember that you can remain anonymous, and no question or thought is a wrong one. Everyone is welcome to contribute.

    Just simply hit post reply.

    @cazzo @rlines @ConfettiMoon @Got to fix this @luigi2906 @NachoCowBoy @dizzyrhino @Becoming cynical @MoodyM00 @Xena9492 @PnorkelPW @ScorpionPW
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    Lhiver
    Community Builder
    Posts: 716
    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 9:59 am

    Re: Meet the Educator Q&A: Anna Guthrie presenting on personal boundaries.

    Sat Jul 09, 2022 2:20 pm

    Boundaries are such an important but far too often overlooked aspect of recovery for everyone involved. I'm wondering, how can people recognise that they're boundaries are being crossed? And What is the best approach to take with a loved one when trying to set boundaries?
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    chenille
    Junior Member
    Posts: 26
    Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:17 pm

    Re: Meet the Educator Q&A: Anna Guthrie presenting on personal boundaries.

    Sat Jul 09, 2022 3:02 pm

    I often find it difficult to set boundaries with others, as it sometimes feel mean, even though I know I'm protecting myself. How can people frame setting boundaries without making the other person feel like it is a punishment?
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    Lhiver
    Community Builder
    Posts: 716
    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 9:59 am

    Re: Meet the Educator Q&A: Anna Guthrie presenting on personal boundaries.

    Tue Jul 12, 2022 1:02 pm

    Meet the Educator Q&A: Anna Guthrie presenting on personal boundaries

    Thanks @Lhiver and @chenille for getting the discussion going. Boundaries are the bane of most people’s existence – mine included! We make them (or try to) and then break them (and try not to) depending on what’s happening on the day. They’re designed to keep us safe – both physically and psychologically – but sometimes they need to be broken if we feel unsafe, i.e. we’re worried the person we’re setting the boundary with (or for) will become angry and upset, we’re pushed to our limits in terms of the demands put upon us, and we feel it’s easier to just keep the peace by agreeing to something we don’t really want to do.

    How do we recognise when our boundaries are being crossed?
    We mostly feel it – by getting angry, upset and hurt. We’re frustrated by being “played” once again, and we’re resentful of the other person for being “selfish” and “manipulative”. We give in and agree to things that make us uncomfortable, or we turn our backs and ignore the person. All of this is simmering away for us, while the other person probably knows nothing of it, because we don’t have the energy or nerve to tell them.

    It’s exactly this – not telling the other person – that contributes to the breakdown of the boundary. It’s actually not the end of the world if a boundary is crossed because when everyone’s in a calmer frame of mind, we can address the issue by saying, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about that argument we had the other day and I’ve decided blah, blah, blah.” We can use these so-called failed attempts at trialling and maintaining boundaries as impetus to try a different approach.

    How can people frame setting boundaries without making the other person feel like it is a punishment?
    The thing about boundaries is that they’re really complicated if we’re lacking confidence about speaking our mind and/or discussing difficult and awkward topics. And let’s face it, there’s probably nothing more difficult or awkward than addressing someone’s alcohol and drug use and/or mental health, and the behaviour that goes along with it. It’s incredibly shameful for the person involved, and they’ll do everything they can to hide what’s really going on behind the scenes, or not acknowledge when they’ve lost control of their use. Rather than seeing them as selfish and manipulative, it can help if we reframe our thoughts and beliefs – the person is trying to protect us from the truth (which hurts), their addiction is driving them to do things they wouldn’t normally do, and they may not remember previous conversations we’ve had, so we can do our best to remind them.

    As family and friends, we find it just as hard to ask for help. Admitting the truth and accepting we don’t have the answers means we have to surrender control to someone or something else, and this makes us feel incompetent when we can’t do things on our own. You may recall when you were a kid getting annoyed at a parent or teacher who tried to tie your shoelaces for you. The idea that we have to get things right on our own terms starts from a very young age.


    What is the best approach to take with a loved one when trying to set boundaries?
    At the end of the day, boundaries aren’t just about safety, they’re about effective communication. The best way to approach these difficult conversations is with honesty and sincerity. It’s normal that we don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings, or like Chenille says, make them feel like we’re punishing them. And perhaps this is something we can keep in mind when it comes to our communication strategy and the approach we take, e.g. “I don’t want you to feel like this is a punishment and it’s really awkward for me to have to raise this with you, but at the same time, I’m very worried and fearful about your health, and I’ve decided I’m not comfortable doing things unless they relate to your recovery. What are your thoughts about this?”

    There may be push back, tears, tantrums, etc., especially if the boundary is new and the person isn’t used to hearing no. But if the message stays consistent, it comes from a place of love and care, it’s communicated without criticism and we’re prepared to listen to the other person and consider their needs, they’ll realise we’re not being mean, we just want a different result and a better relationship.
    Boundaries are very personal and in my opinion there’s no right or wrong way to make or break them. I think of them as changeable, revisable, works in progress. We try something, it fails, we try something else. What’s more important is that we work on our communication skills to get our body language, speech and tone right, we realise when we’ve made a mistake and apologise, and we keep reminding ourselves that we’re doing the best we can. If we’re still getting push back, it may be helpful to let the person know you need some time to consider your options, and ask for extra support from a friend, family member or professional.

    All the best! :D

    If you would like more support around anything discussed in this Q+A please visit breakthroughforfamiliies.com
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