Dug and Heidi McGuirk Answer “How Do I Set Boundaries?”
A few weeks ago, we covered the dangers of enabling discussed in the Revolutionary Growth video, “How do I know I’m Enabling?” Dug and Heidi McGuirk explained enabling and how to stop doing it. The best way to stop enabling is through setting boundaries with your addicted loved one.
Furthermore, in the next video, Dug and Heidi McGuirk, who run the Revolutionary Family program for Palm Healthcare, answer:
How Do I Set A Boundary?
After you have made the decision NOT to enable your addicted loved one, the next step is to set clear boundaries. At this point, you have decided to no longer support their addiction. Instead, you are determined to support their recovery and beyond.
To do this, you must set healthy boundaries, but how exactly does one set healthy boundaries?
First, it is important to remember you are setting boundaries, not ultimatums.
“It’s all about you. You can’t set a boundary to manipulate another person. That’s called an ultimatum. We aren’t doing an ultimatum. Those don’t work,” Heidi McGuirk says.
“We are doing a boundary which is people are going to do what they’re going to do, and you need to decide how you are going to experience what they’re going to do, and that’s it.”
It is crucial to take steps to ensure your addicted loved one knows where you stand. Do not become upset and argue with them if they do not abide. Do not tell them to simply stop their behavior. Instead, commit to your boundaries.
Dug and Heidi McGuirk’s steps to creating clear boundaries:
- Be Clear:
Let your addicted loved one know what it is that you won’t tolerate and what your plan is if they do not abide.
- Use Direct Assertive Language:
No “wishy-washy” behavior. Use very few words and let them know the consequences.
- Make Consequences You Will Follow Through On:
Try not to make consequences that are unmanageable. Make consequences that you can commit and follow through on consistently.
- Check for Understanding:
Make sure that they have heard you. If needed, have a cheat sheet to communicate more effectively.
How to Create a Boundary “Cheat Sheet”
If you struggle with communicating boundaries and consequences, Heidi and Dug McGuirk recommend carrying a cheat sheet that will help guide you through the process.
Cheat Sheet Example:
“When you ___, I feel ___; I want___ If you___, I will___.”
Here is how the cheat sheet can be applied when communicating boundaries:
Cheat Sheet Applied for Drunken Behavior:
- “When you come home drunk, I feel nervous, scared and violated. I want to have a sober, healthy and safe home to live in. If you come home drunk again, I will leave for the night; lock the doors, ask you to get treatment, etc…”
Cheat Sheet Applied for Verbal Aggression:
- “When you speak to me that way, I feel assaulted, attacked, upset, frustrated, scared, and violated. I want to be able to have a rational discussion with you. I want to feel safe in our conversations together. I want to not be around that anymore. If you continue to speak to me that way, I will walk away, leave, hang up the phone, etc…”
The key is to follow through with the boundaries you set:
“You might have to leave, walk away, hang up the phone 25 times, but the key to this is to follow through because that’s really how you teach people how to treat you so make sure you’re prepared to do what you say you are going to do,” Heidi McGuirk says.
After some consistency, your loved one will know what you are going to do and when you are going to do it whenever they mess up. Eventually, all you will have to do is give them “the look, ” and they will know exactly where you stand.
If you want to read more about boundaries, download our free E-book “What is the Difference between Helping and Hurting?”
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The Importance of Commitment
Dug McGuirk explains this concept of “the look” using their toddler, Ellie, as an example. Often, toddlers know exactly what you are going to do because the boundaries were followed through with many times in the past.
“There’s sometimes the look or the countdown or the whatever. You do that a few times, and they know what’s going to happen because it’s been implemented,” Dug McGuirk says.
However, this awareness will only happen if you follow through with the consequences consistently. Do not become lax with your boundaries. It is important it is to commit to boundaries even in weaker moments.
Heidi McGuirk describes how their toddler Ellie would receive a time-out every time she smacked her. It was important Ellie knew this behavior was inappropriate. One night, right before bed, Ellie decided to smack her again.
Heidi McGuirk knew she was tired, in bed, and knew giving their daughter a time-out would be a major inconvenience. However, she realized this is exactly why enabling behaviors happens.
Often, the loved ones of addicts do not follow through with their boundaries because they are constantly tested during these inconvenient moments. It is important to follow through when tested during weaker moments so that your addicted loved ones knows you are serious.
“What I’m saying is the more that you practice your chops at holding your line, the less testing they’ll be” Heidi McGuirk states.
“Patience and Discipline are the parents of execution,” Dug McGuirk affirms.
Overall, setting boundaries is a matter of knowing what you need and knowing how you want to experience your loved one’s addiction. The next part is committing to the boundaries you set. We know it is not easy. Therefore, if you have a loved one struggling with addiction, of if you are having trouble dealing with your loved one’s addiction, please reach out to us. We want to help. Do not wait. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
By Cheryl Steinberg
The New Year is all about making resolutions that will improve your life in the coming year, with the intention of establishing healthy habits for years to come. That’s what life is about: growth, change, bettering yourself, and creating your own source(s) of happiness.
That said, this is the perfect time to identify and establish which of your relationships are healthy and which ones are not healthy. It’s time to stop putting up with the stress and strife that comes from dealing with certain individuals. Here are 8 types of toxic people to ditch in the New Year.
#1. People who make your life more stressful
A good rule of thumb is this: being stressed by situations is normal; being stressed by people is unhealthy. If you have people in your life who manage to stress you out on a regular basis, that’s your mind telling you – and motivating you — to cut them out of your life.
#2. People who use you
First of all, everyone uses everyone and that can be OK. We use one another for company, support, and so on. That’s normal in relationships. This type of ‘using’ either maintains or improves our wellbeing.
But then you have the parasitic friend, you know the one – who uses you, sucking you dry and feeding off your energy until you have none left. This kind of toxic person needs to be left behind in 2014.
#3. People who don’t respect you
Another good rule of thumb: Have enough respect for yourself to never allow others to disrespect you. If there are people in your life who have don’t give you the respect you give them, remember that the best way to respect yourself is to get rid of them.
#4. People who always seem to hurt you
Sometimes we hold onto friendships for too long. Perhaps this is someone you’ve been friends with since you were in elementary school. But, if it’s dawned on you that this friend or friends end up hurting you more often than helping you, it’s time to let go.
Pain is only good if you learn a lesson from it. In this case, the lesson is to stop allowing others to hurt and use you.
#5. People who lie to you
Everyone lies and most lies are harmless, but that all changes when the people who are lying to you are the same people you trust. Only allow trustworthy people to be close to you and you’ll be better off for it.
#6. People who talk sh!t behind your back
Backstabbers. These people are the absolute worst. They are cowards that don’t have the courage to speak their minds and their truth. These toxic people actually enjoy pretending to be your friend while talking mad sh!t behind your back.
These people are your “pseudo friends” — a lot of fun to hang out with, and more than willing to accept help, but when you need their help they’re nowhere to be found.
This type of toxic person is especially harmful because they give you the a false sense of security; that you can trust them.
#7. People who drag you back into your old lifestyle/hold you back in life
You’ve heard it plenty of times: change people, places, and things. There’s a reason for that. Even if you’ve changed those things when you decided to get clean and sober, it’s good from time to time to reevaluate the people you’ve let into your inner circle.
Are they holding you back in life? Are they a bad influence? Do they have you questioning or sacrificing your own set of values?
As time passes, we change as individuals. Our hopes and goals change, which can lead to your current relationships growing stale. If your goals aren’t aligned, your lives aren’t either.
#8. People who just take up space
It’s important to be very careful and choosy with the kinds of people you let in. You can only maintain a handful of strong relationships at any given time — you just don’t have the time, energy or mental focus to handle more.
If someone isn’t adding to your life, then they’re taking away from it.
Ditch these space-hogs in the New Year and start fresh.
Setting healthy boundaries and maintaining them can be a difficult practice to learn. People with a history of substance abuse and/or addiction also tend to also struggle with codependency. If you have one or a combination of all three of these, or you know someone who does, help is available. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today.
Sometimes our loved ones like to play the ‘Blame Game’ when they find themselves with a little more clarity and have a little bit of clean time. They want to start throwing around reasons why their addiction ended up the way it has, and often put that blame on others, including their family and close friends instead of opening up and being honest about their own involvement in their behaviors. This typically happens when the individual has not attended a treatment program or has not taken other active steps toward recovery, and there are ways to address this behavior.
Blaming the Family
Some people recovering from addiction or alcoholism who have not completed a treatment program or worked a program of recovery at all will blame their family. The parents or other close relatives often get this kind of reaction from younger addicts or alcoholics with a little time away from the drink or drug. Sometimes in extreme cases it can even turn out that people will blame their own children for their behavior.
Common excuses pushed on the family may sound like:
- Mom and dad fight too much
- My parents do not support me
- My brother/sister bullies or abuses me
- My children get into trouble and stress me out
- My family neglects me
All these excuses for an individual are just that, excuses. Now this is not to say that the family dynamic may not have issues that should be considered, but to blame an individual’s addiction on trauma or stress brought on at home is not sufficient enough explanation.
To answer this concern, there is family programs available specifically designed to address these issues as they become relevant in the course of treatment. There are support groups for family members to attend, and there are family therapists that specialize in addressing matters as they pertain to everyone involved. However, the under-lying reason for an addiction is not the trouble at home. Families should not let themselves be held hostage by an addict who is just coming out of the fog and looking for someone to put at fault.
Blaming Your Relationship
Spouses and intimate relationship partners make a pretty common escape goat as well. People very early in recovery tend to try and re-evaluate their relationships and start picking apart the subtle differences and disputes, or even the larger problems, and make them out to be their motivation for continuing down the path of drinking and/or drugging.
Common excuses pushed on the partner may sound like:
- You’re not supportive of me
- You fight with me too much
- You have hurt me too much in the past
- I can’t trust you
- You’re smothering me
- You stress me out
- You don’t treat me right
Any of these accusations can be made, and again it’s not to say that there is no reality between any of these statements and the way they feel about the relationship, but it is essential to recognize that this is NOT the reason they used or drank the way that they did.
The same family therapy and support groups are available for the spouses and intimate partners of someone struggling with addiction. These will teach you ways to identify their behavior, to tell the difference between legitimate concerns and alibis, and ways to effectively address these issues without throwing the blame on the person getting help. It is important to address some of these accusations head on, because it is important not to be guilt-tripped into believing their pain is entirely your fault. The affliction, and the solution, begins from with the individual.
The ‘Blame Game’ is in no way effective for anyone. Of course there are stresses, concerns, and issues that should be acknowledged and resolved to the best of your ability, but to assume responsibility for the actions of an addict who uses drugs and alcohol to solve everything is not fair to anybody. The addict or alcoholic can quickly manipulate and turn the tables on anyone they are close to, especially to get what they want or avoid the more negative emotions. Remember that the pain, fear, and responsibility attached to THEIR actions are all usually part of the reason they use, to avoid the truth behind their own involvement.
Put an end to the ‘Blame Game’ by setting healthy boundaries, and by getting involved in the recovery process to learn more about how you can help them address the problems head on together instead of pushing them back and forth onto each other’s shoulders.
Addictions and alcoholics find it easy to blame anything and everything external for their drinking and drug use. However at the core of the problem is the individual and what they are willing to do to get a resolution and obtain recovery. Accepting blame only keeps the ones we love sick. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Codependent people are dependent on the needs of, or control of, another person. Someone who is codependent usually makes themselves and their own needs a lower priority than those of others and can even become obsessed with the needs of others. Codependency can occur in any type of relationship: family, coworker, friend, and of course romantic. The term codependency was first applied to the spouses of alcoholics in early research on alcoholism and its effects on the family, which is telling because it seems that people who have or have had issues with substance abuse and addiction often struggle with codependency issues, too. Here are 5 things only codependent people understand.
#1. You struggle with low self-esteem.
this is codependent on so many levels, actually
Low self-esteem means that you think you’re not good enough or you constantly compare yourself to other people. And, even if you think highly of yourself, this can still be a sign of low self-esteem because this is just a front; you may actually be overcompensating for feeling unlovable or inadequate. Usually feelings of shame, guilt, and perfectionism are at the root of low self-esteem.
#2. You don’t set boundaries with others.
Boundaries are sort of an imaginary line between you and others. Setting boundaries is important when it comes to physical, tangible things (i.e. your body, money, belongings) but just as important is establishing – and maintaining – boundaries when it comes to your feelings, thoughts and needs. This is particularly difficult for people who struggle with codependency. They often feel responsible for other people’s feelings and problems and even blame their own feelings and problems on other people. Then again, some codependents have rigid boundaries. Others have a combination of both weak and rigid boundaries, reacting to everyone’s thoughts and feelings. If someone says something you disagree with, you will either adopt it as your own belief or become overly defensive.
#3. You’re a caretaker – and way too into it.
This stems from having poor boundaries and shows up like this: when someone else has a problem, you want to help them to the point that you lose yourself in the situation. Now, it is totally natural and human to feel empathy and sympathy for others but, codependents take this way too far, putting other people’s needs ahead of their own. In fact, they need to help and might take it personally if the person they are trying to help declines their offers of help.
#4. You’re a “people-pleaser.”
It’s okay to want to make someone you care about happy but, someone who is codependent might actually feel like they have no choice in the matter, and instead feel obligated to please that person and/or others. In fact, saying “no” causes anxiety to the person who is codependent. You might be codependent if you sacrifice your own needs or go out of your way to accommodate other people’s needs.
#5. You’re uncomfortable with intimacy.
By “intimacy” we don’t just mean sex, however, having difficulties with and around sex are often an indication of an intimacy problem. But here we mean being able to be open and close with someone when it comes to an intimate relationship. Because people with codependency issues have both feelings of shame and weak boundaries, they might fear being judged, rejected, or abandoned if they are “themselves.” On the other hand, they might also fear being smothered and losing their independence when it comes to being in an intimate relationship. Codependent people might start to believe that they simply don’t need closeness and intimacy for quality of life.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
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When I first got sober, and probably (by probably I mean definitely) still today I have been a very co-dependent person. For me, I have always had co-dependency within friendships as opposed to with my boyfriends. But I wrote this blog to help you see within your friendships or any type of relationships if there are signs you are co-dependent.
7 Signs You Are Co-Dependent: Seeking Validation or Low Self-Esteem
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Having low self-esteem and seeking validation from others can be a big hint that you may be co-dependent. If you use your relationships with people to define and validate yourself and how you feel about yourself, you may have a co-dependency issue.
7 Signs You Are Co-Dependent: Can’t Do Anything without Your BFF or Significant Other
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Some people have a problem even going to events or everyday places without their BFF or boyfriend or girlfriend. If you literally feel like you can’t do anything without this person by your side, this is a huge sign you may need to take a look at your co-dependent issues.
7 Signs You Are Co-Dependent: Pleasing Others
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A very common form of co-dependency is simply based on always having to please others. For me, a lot of my happiness is dependent on if I can make others happy or not. Through sobriety I’ve learned that to make others happy, I have to be happy with myself first. Pleasing others ultimately won’t make you happy.
7 Signs You Are Co-Dependent: Poor or No Boundaries
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Creating healthy boundaries is a part of everyday life; people who are co-dependent really have trouble with this. You can take on the feelings and problems of others and also have a hard time with money, belongings and emotions and separating them from other people. I’ve always had a problem with over-trusting people when it comes to certain boundaries.
7 Signs You Are Co-Dependent: Obsession
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Due to being dependent and all the anxiety and fear that comes along with it, co-dependent people spend a majority of their time focusing and obsessing on other people. They can end up become overly obsessed if they think they’ve made a mistake or on the approval of another person for the simplest of things.
7 Signs You Are Co-Dependent: Taking Care of Others and Not Yourself
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Co-dependent people typically are always being caretakers of others and end up lacking taking care of themselves. If you are helping someone to the point that you have completely given up on yourself and putting others needs before your own then this is a problem.
7 Signs You Are Co-Dependent: Reactivity
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A negative side effect of co-dependency is you react to others feelings and opinions. You either believe the opinions or thoughts of others or you argue with them on whatever your firm beliefs are. If you had proper boundaries, you would be able to realize that this is a just someone’s opinion and not a reflection of you.
Overall, being in a co-dependent friendship or any kind of relationship can end up potentially not being good for your sobriety. In some cases, it can lead to relapse. In recovery we learn to be god-dependent (or higher power) and not people dependent anymore. People are only humans and at some point or another they will let you down. Don’t put all of your faith in another human, re-direct that energy towards your program and don’t hold onto those expectations of others. Whether you’re a parent, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, sibling or whatever of someone and you have a co-dependent relationship with them, you have to focus on you and make sure you are healthy first! If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.