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    • #9624

      Hi all,
      Just looking for advice/tips on creating healthy boundaries, the only relationships (friends, family etc) have been abusive, or lead to people taking advantage of me. I know counselling is the best way, but are there hints and tips to try myself, things to look out for etc?

      Right now I have no friends or family at all and anyone who tries to get close gets pushed very firmly away. I don’t feel able to let people in anymore, I can’t see these patterns repeat anymore and I guess I’m just looking for ways to break the cycles.


    • #9627

      Hi Alone,

      It is so hard when you have had your own very boundaries ignored and transgressed for years to even begin to know what those boundaries should be.

      I was like that. When I went on the Pattern Changing course offered by my local DV services, one of the sessions was about our rights. They gave us a print-out of the Bill of Rights.

      These are:

      I have the right to be me
      I have the right to put myself first
      I have the right to be safe
      I have the right to love and to be loved
      I have the right to be treated with respect
      I have the right to be human- not perfect
      I have the right to be angry and protest is I am treated unfairly or abusively by anyone
      I have a right to my own privacy
      I have a right to my own opinions, to express them and to be taken seriously
      I have a right to earn and control my own money
      I have a right to ask questions about anything that affects my life
      I have a right to make decisions that affect me
      I have a right to grow and change (and that includes changing my mind)
      I have a right to say no
      I have the right to make mistakes
      I have the right not to be responsible for another adult’s problems
      I have the right not to be liked by everyone
      I have the right to control my own life and to change it if I am not happy with it as it is

      It was suggested to us that we pin the list to our fridge or somewhere prominent, to get acquainted with them, as many of us said we hadn’t even been aware these were our rights!

      I think it’s a good place to start to really get acquainted with these rights. Ask yourself why they are important. If you don’t agree with one, think of why, and what would happen if this right was abused ( sometimes we hold unhealthy self-beliefs and we need to face these).

      Once you’ve got to know these rights and understand their importance, and have them ingrained in your memory (!) then you can measure others’ behaviours against this list. If someone is ignoring one of these rights, then they are not behaving in a good way towards you.

      How you feel with it is what is hard for us as victims/ survivors of abuse: not swallowing our voice and opinions but learning to assert them in a clear way. Assertiveness is the healthy method, inbetween passive aggression/ passivity and aggression.

      Going on an assertiveness course or simply reading about assertiveness might be helpful. Even wiki know how has some good, clear and simple stuff on this!

      In terms of being alone, so many of us have been isolated through abuse. Reaching out to others is so important for our well-being. We need a sense of connection.

      Maybe when you go through the list and get to the Right to Be Me and to have an Opinion, you can think a out what your opinions, values and beliefs are about life. Write them down. You might then be able to draw a mind map with ideas about the kind of things you want to be involved in – groups, type of work, hobbies, causes- and slowly going out of the home to attach yourself to any of these things will help you to become truly who you are and find like minded people.

      Hugs x

    • #9647

      Hi Alone

      I don’t really think it is you who is making mistakes. You are in a situation where you are restricted in how you behave towards every person you meet. To truly break the cycle you have to leave the abuse behind.

      That said I will leave you with skills I have learnt from being exposed to an introductory course on Managing Emotions via DBT, Dialectal Behavioural Therapy. A core section is Interpersonal Effectiveness.

      Here is a link to the website if you want to know more.

      Maybe you can look back at previous situations to see if you behaved appropriately using this part of the handout:

      Interpersonal Effectiveness if most effective if practiced with Mindfulness, Emotional Regulation and Distress Tolerance. In the new 2nd edition DBT handbook there is a section on how to end relationships starting at page 280 and it does mention abusive relationships.

      DBT Skills Training Manual By Marsha Linehan 2nd edition published 2014. the book is written for therapists but the handouts are for self help and education of clients, patients and practicioners. Most DBT Therapist have to complete a DBT course themselves and practices the handouts to get an understanding of the therapy.

    • #9886

      Thank you for the responses, I am working on this, I feel very strongly that I never want patterns to repeat, or to end up in the same positions ever again! Losing everyone I care about has been really difficult, I suffer from nightmares about them, and the strongest thought in my mind whilst I was reporting the abuse and trying to keep up friendships at the same time was that I wished I had dealt with it all before meeting these people. That they were the ones I trusted more than anything and wanted to be able to give back as much as they were giving me. I don’t know whether I’ll attempt to make new friends at some point, but I want to be aware and working on the skills as much as I can. It’s shocking how far reaching the effects of abuse actually are!


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