Moderator Note: This post mentions navigating conflict with family members along with an update from the author after a few weeks. If you feel you are in crisis, please see our Crisis Resource Page for local and national resources
This post is going to dive into the importance of setting boundaries for yourself. This is a topic that I have struggled with for years and just recently had an incident happen to me where I now feel a lot better about setting them, especially with people that are close to me.
Just a few weeks ago I had a situation occur where my sister shared information I had told her in confidence to my family. This is something I did not think would happen because of the trust I have in her as we are sisters, but also good friends. I expressed my concern to her about invading my personal space and life and let her know that I felt disrespected as well as hurt that she could do something like this to me. Mind you, I am always someone who is willing to help people who are struggling or who need an extra hand when doing something to make it easier on them and found myself doing that for my sister quite frequently. This is especially why it hurt my feelings because aside from disrespecting me, it also seemed as if she did not appreciate the other things that I do for her as well. After letting her know I was upset, she then decided to turn the situation on me and say it was my fault.
Deep down, I know that it wasn’t my fault and that if I were at fault for anything it would be for telling her something I thought I could trust her with. The issue turned out to create more family problems and arguments that could have all been prevented had she not said anything. Her logic for saying something to my family was because she said she was concerned for me and wanted what was best for me.
Anyways, this situation made me second guess my feelings with my family and with her. It made me realize that one of the main reasons I don’t share personal things with family members is because it usually creates more harm than good. One of the takeaways I took from this incident was that I need to be better at setting boundaries. Had I not been spending tons of time with her and letting her into basically knowing every detail about my life, this might not have occurred. That being said, I was able to recently send a message letting her know that I will be setting more boundaries and will not be telling her any more personal information either. It is honestly sad that it had to happen this way but honestly it is very much out of my control and does not help me from feeling disrespected and betrayed by someone that I trusted with everything and loved very much.
I am sure once this situation blows over that our relationship will eventually mend to the way it was before. For now, however, I am keeping my distance from her, and I know she can definitely tell. All of the instances where she has reached out to me since this happened have been extremely negative, combative and confrontational. All things that I have been trying to avoid to make my mental health better.
After a few weeks this situation has gotten better with time and hope it continues to get easier for myself to deal with also.
How do you think setting boundaries is beneficial? How do you set boundaries?