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Rose C Jiggens

Do You Find It Hard to Set Boundaries?

Posted by Rose C Jiggens Tension and Trauma Practitioner 64 Days Ago


If You Find Setting Boundaries Hard, You Are Not Alone:

I am a bit of a search engine geek, which means I like finding out what kinds of questions people type into Google. Search engine numbers reflect collective concerns: things we humans struggle with and are trying to find answers for. The numbers below show how many individual people type a phrase into google (on average) in one month in the UK alone:

  • Setting boundaries – 1000
  • How to say no politely – 1000
  • Setting boundaries in relationships – 390
  • Setting boundaries at work – 170
  • Setting boundaries with friends – 110

So as I said above, if you struggle to set and communicate boundaries, you are not alone! By comparison, only about 20 people per month ask google “how to ask for what you want”. Is it the case that many of us are so concerned with how to say no to requests (or demands) from others, that we don’t stop to consider what we actually want? The best approach for working with these concerns is very individual and depends upon the circumstances, it might be that you need:

  • support dealing with difficult circumstances
  • therapeutic enquiry and trauma healing
  • psycho-educational support to build empowerment and skills
  • a combination of all of the above

Here is a little more information on each of these approaches and the therapies (individual sessions and workshops) offered by Rose C Jiggens of True Self Systems in Hackney, East London UK and online everywhere. If you have come to this page because you have difficulty setting boundaries, see if you can discern as you read which approach might be most relevant to your situation?

Help With Setting Boundaries – Assessing the Situation:

The context in which we are having difficulty setting boundaries, is important to consider before doing anything at all. Sometimes there is a wisdom in our reluctance to set boundaries, because doing so might have adverse consequences. This can be particularly so in regards to tense family situations, unsafe partner relationships or places of systemic power imbalance (e.g. an unsafe workplace).

In these situations, the priority will be assessing what can be done to limit harm and build safety. This includes developing the resources and resilience required – both internal and external – to move towards more sustaining environments.

Help With Setting Boundaries: Embodied Therapeutic Approaches:

Embodied and talk therapy combined, can help us understand and overcome the origins of difficulty with boundary setting. Underlying these difficulties may be an earlier time when setting a boundary would have had adverse consequences.

These memories live in the body; a past neuroception (inner felt sense) of danger can be recalled when a boundary is required in the present. At a vulnerable earlier time, not setting a boundary may have been an essential survival skill, neural pathways recall and repeat the survival strategy even if its maladaptive to the present situation.

TEB: Transforming Touch® therapy supports the healing of developmental trauma and of these body memories from the past. Using co-regulating touch (or visualisation online) little by little we guide your body back to a place of feeling safe.

We do this by using gentle focused attention (touch or voice) on key areas of stress physiology such as the kidney adrenals or brain stem. Through a combination of talking and nervous system healing, you can come to understand and overcome the maladaptive survival strategies.

I also offer Trauma Sensitive Breathwork, where you can learn self-regulating skills to build greater resilience including:

  • Caring for the part (our inner child) who is scared to say no.
  • Learning to interrupt survival strategies with a well timed breath.
  • Support to fully embody your no.

Receiving a family constellation may also help you shed light and gain a new perspective on this issue. A constellation is a good place to start to understand the origins of a pattern in a wider intergenerational contexts.

For example: if there are many choices available to us in the present but we feel unable to reach towards them, we may be unconciously replicating the experience of someone in previous generations. If our ancestors had few choices due to the inequities that they faced, it can feel hard for us to have more than them: almost as if it might be disloyal.

Once seen we can internally create a new contract with our ancestors: one in which we will honour their experiences by fully embracing the opportunities we have.

Setting Boundaries Through Empowerment and Skills:

As well as the therapies that I offer, I teach an awesome embodied consent practice and theoretical model called The Wheel of Consent. After therapeutic concerns are addressed, the Wheel of Consent offers a theoretical model and embodied practice zone, which can thoroughly overhaul your boundary setting skills. You can learn and practice the Wheel of Consent through individual sessions, or in workshops with a group.

Through solo and optional partnered touch practices (limited to the hand and arm at first), you will gain an embodied sense of your limits and boundaries along with practice communicating them. The practice is supported by a theoretical model that applies to many situations: work, family, intimate relationships and friends included.

Conclusion:

If you have come to this article because you have difficulty setting boundaries, I hope the search engine statistics will help you feel less alone. As you read through the different options for healing and transforming this pattern, I hope you may also feel hopeful for change. Do reach out and get in touch if you want to know more about any of the approaches listed in this article!