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Archives June 2012

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What To Do When People Do Not Respect Your Boundaries

16.06.2012 09:35:11

Throughout the first sixteen years of my marriage my husband, Dean, struggled with his addiction to alcohol, prescription pain pills, and crack cocaine. As his addiction continued to get worse, my ability to set healthy boundaries failed. This didn’t happen overnight -- it was a gradual process that eventually left me feeling powerless.

In the beginning of our relationship, I was a confident young woman. Unfortunately,  I had failed to recognize the signs of Dean’s addiction until we were married and I was pregnant with our son. As Dean began to take on addictive behaviors, I attempted to ‘lay down the law’. We were married now, and it was time to act like grown-ups. I would make threats to leave if he didn’t change his ways -- and he would make empty promises that helped me feel better in the moment.

Each time I allowed Dean to pass a boundary -- rather than standing my ground -- I would allow my boundary to get pushed further. I was stuck in a cycle of making threats even when I knew I didn’t have the courage to follow through. Dean quickly learned that my boundaries didn’t really exist, and, as a result, my self-esteem was slowly chipped away.