How’s Your Hula Hoop? Healthy Boundaries
By Debbie Tudor, LPC-S
“My mother is always telling me what to do, and then she wonders why I don’t call her more often,” my client sighed as she wiped away tears of frustration.
“Do you tell her that you’d prefer her not to do that?” I prodded gently.
“No! I can’t talk back to my mother,” she replied, shocked.
All of us have personal space that we must protect from invasion by others and most of us are aware that our bodies belong to us. This is why we recognize that it’s not OK to force or coerce our children into hugging or kissing people against their will. Our bodies are ours alone.
We realize we should protect our physical space from those who get closer or more physical than we’d prefer, but do you know that you have emotional space that belongs to you as well? I use the hula hoop as an illustration of healthy boundaries.
My feelings, my decisions, my consequences…
As an adult, it’s my right to determine my own life. Imagine a hula hoop worn by each of us. Inside that hoop are decisions such as when you sleep, what you eat, whether or not you exercise, take care of yourself, whether or not you attend worship, have hobbies, political or religious beliefs, how you raise your children-well, you get the idea.
When we start to tell people our opinions about how they choose in these areas, we are jumping their hoop and getting into the space that rightly belongs to them. When we allow others to criticize or lecture us about our choices, we allow invasion into our hula hoop as well. This causes insecurity, resentment, and the presence of control. This is VERY common when dealing with a narcissist.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me…
Keeping our opinions to ourselves about the life choices of other adults is part of respecting the freedom we all have to live our lives the way we see fit. Saying a firm but friendly “hey, that’s my call about how I live my life, so let’s talk about something else” is essential to taking care of YOU and setting healthy boundaries with narcissists.
I can help you with assertive and kind answers designed to keep others out of your hula hoop. Let’s get started!