From Nancy A.: I want to set boundaries with my addicted son, but I know he’s going to get angry at me if I do. I feel scared because that has not gone well in the past. How do I stop saying “yes” all the time and set boundaries with him anyway?
Hi Nancy – you are asking one of the best and most common questions ever! So many loved ones of addicts are scared to set boundaries for this very reason. Please know that you’re not alone in this.
When we know that someone can be abusive or violent when we try to speak our truth, that can be very difficult. It’s quite tempting to keep saying “yes” under those circumstances. But when we do that, our self-respect takes a hit every time – and our self-respect is, in my opinion, the most important thing we either have or don’t have. Not having it keeps us in a victim stance for far too long, in many cases.
I believe what needs to happen is for you to get some help around increasing your self-awareness, so that you can understand yourself better and begin to heal. It will be important for you to know the reasons that you allow others to dominate and manipulate you. Once you have that understanding, you’ll be able to make different choices and begin (or continue) your own healing journey.
For now, until you feel you can set the boundaries with your son ahead of a difficult incident, know that you can call the police if he begins to act in a violent way toward you or anyone else in your family. That kind of behaviour is simply not okay for any reason – and no one has to put up with that. I’m wishing you all my best and hope you’ll reach out if you need some help learning how to love your son – with boundaries.
All my best
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