People like me have a problem with boundaries: we end up taking on other people’s responsibilities as our own. It can be obvious, like doing the housework when your partner, who had agreed to do it, does it in a way we don’t like – or not at all. It can be subtle, like speaking up in a sensitive situation when the issue isn’t one that belongs to us.

In either case, we do it because it’s easier than bearing the discomfort of the moment – of having to look at dusty table tops, or being with the discomfort of confusion or chaos. There’s a certain comfort in taking over – not in order to have control over others, but to have control over our lives.

In both cases, once we take over, everyone else sees us as the person responsible, which means that if anything goes wrong, we are rightly blamed. When that happens, we end up feeling that it’s better to be the target than the victim of someone else’s mess.

The problem is that, because it isn’t ours, anything that happens is out of our control. If things get messy, it really is someone else’s, and there isn’t anything we can do to make it better.

People like me need to clean up our boundaries, and that will ultimately help us, and everyone else.

Boundaries for wellbeing

Quote of the Week

We cannot simultaneously set a boundary and take care of another person’s feelings.”
– Melody Beattie


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