You might already know one of the reasons you are feeling drained and not getting where you want is a lack of boundaries.
If you don’t consciously know it, you feel it…
Somehow no matter what it is that you want, you find yourself doing what other people want and need….almost all the time. You feel tired and resentful about other people's “demands” on you.
Maybe you’ve even read about boundaries and clear communication and thought, “Sweet, if I just say it right, things should work” (I did this literally hundreds of times).
Or you have even set good boundaries, only to follow it up with undoing them again (I still fall prey to this one sometimes!).
The thing is, it's not really about your words, though they are important.
It’s about your nervous system.
When some body is angry or upset or has some intense emotion... This will activate a conditioned response in your nervous system to run away or try to make the person feel better (commonly known as rescuing).
When you realise that you have been conditioned to accommodate the needs of others in order to feel safe (which most of us have), and that feeling safe is the primary driver of the human nervous system (custom designed to protect us) then it makes complete sense.
And what is needed is new conditioning!
Building and MAINTAINING good boundaries is about learning to regulate your nervous system BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER a “threatening" event. Setting a boundary may result in someone being angry or upset and this will register as a treating event to your nervous system.
So. How to prepare and keep returning to safety while setting a boundary?
You need to do this through the body.
Draw a physical boundary around yourself with your hands and say to yourself “this is my space and no-one is allowed in unless I invite them."
Decide on who you will talk to and be around afterwards that you know will be safe and book in time with them (you might need a totally non-judgemental hug or to talk it through but you need somewhere to go for your system to calm down after facing the “threat”)
Imagine it first and practice staying calm with breathe or small physical movements that soothe you... while saying the words and seeing the person have their reaction.
Check in with your safe person and commit to not changing your mind about it for at least 24 - 48 hours to give your system time to return to safety. Continue to soothe with movements and slow breaths and allow the new behaviour time to integrate.
Does this resonate? How do you feel when you know you need to set a boundary?