Author : Kad-Um- Bree
After talking about, https://www.myavtar.com/blog/victim-of-exhausting-bug-time-to-beat-it/ let’s see “How to Set Boundaries?”
In India, “getting kids married” marks the end of the paternal responsibilities. And life looks complete as everyone gets their “happily ever after”.
Unfortunately, like a huge black hole, this is one grey area that no one knows anything about.
The new dynamics of the family disrupts the old thriving hierarchy. Before one realizes anything, honeymoon is over as reality shows up. That “happy ending” you expected morphs into “sacrifices” in the name of adjustments. Someone has got to be smarter to take the first step and fix the problem. After all, for a family to function like a well-oiled machinery working in tandem, change/s is the key.
Believe it or not “healthy boundaries” needs healthy communication. People say family that eats together, stays together, but it is “the family that talks to one another” that stays stronger and together. How does one get there? Well, here are the pointers to help you out.
- Be ethical depending upon your tolerance –
The best way to start adjusting to the new house rules is by observing and studying the existing rules with a fresh perspective. So go ahead make those notes. If there are any areas you can bring about the change – do so with great sensitivity with your spouse on the same page. My friend’s in-laws are very religious. They pray for hours, make 5 types of offerings every day that could feed many people. With rising costs, my friend tweaked the quantity to manageable portions. Pandemic also cut the supply of fresh flowers, so she bought the fake ones. True it doesn’t give the same satisfaction. But at least traditions weren’t compromised.
- Be clear, direct, concise and stand firm on your beliefs –
Voicing your opinions takes time but consistency and politeness makes it easier. Another friend in her younger days had the enthusiasm to do all the chores by herself. Pandemic taught a lesson. She spent hours in the kitchen alone cooking different things for specific person and people barely offered help. In about 8 months due to sheer emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion, she fell apart. Upon physician’s recommendations, she enforced new meal plans and stuck to it despite all the guilt. Mother-in-law and teens whined showing their displeasure at limited menu. She politely pointed them to “doctor’s advice” and insisted on getting help.
3. Nip it at the bud –
Sometimes, people unknowingly intrude or invade your personal space despite being told. My friend’s sister-in-law would waltz in, and go through my friend’s closet to take whatever she needed leaving it all messed up. After a few “messed closets” incident, my friend started locking the door. The sister-In-law made a huge scene, but my friend asked her to stop invading her privacy. There were mini wars but eventually, those intrusions stopped. So, build the wall when needed. Reward good and correct the bad behaviour with kindness.
4. Learn to say No in about a million new ways and turn yourself into a broken record player –
When someone pesters you or are way too intrusive then, don’t bring out the blazing guns awakening your fire spitting inner dragon. Rather keep repeating your stance like a broken record. When I get asked “Mom, can we have pasta for lunch today. Can we?”, my responses are “Sorry Honey, I am done cooking for the day how about tomorrow?” Or “Oh sorry Sweetheart, try to give me a heads-up next time.” Or “Oops if only you told me a few hours ago, we could be <insert activity>. How about tomorrow?” Saying “No” leaves little room for confusion spelling out the clear expectations. So, “NO” is a useful word to set boundaries. Sooner or later people will back off.
We all want to have relationships built on respect, trust and love. But it starts with respecting boundaries. So go ahead and establish a healthy and open communication with people. It’s never too late.