This mom was ready to crumble.
She had come to me looking for help for her adult son who refused to go to treatment, and we determined that an intervention was the best course of action.
For the first couple weeks of working together, she would call me upset after just talking with her son on the phone. He would call her up drunk, and without fail the conversation would turn into a disaster.
She’d hang up feeling angry, terrified, guilty, or confused (often all of them at once). The phone calls would consume her to the point where she no longer focused on anything else going on in her life.
You know what I told her to do?
SET A BOUNDARY.
The #1 misconception that people have about boundaries is they think boundaries are about someone else. They see boundaries as a wall to keep someone else out or as a form of tough love, and they fear having one means they’ll lose connection with their loved one.
But that’s not what healthy boundaries are.
Healthy boundaries are about protecting you from something harmful so that you can maintain your relationships without getting sucked into the chaos.
To borrow an analogy from my friend Mike Wilson, a boundary is like an emotional hazmat suit—the point of it isn’t to keep you away from another person; it’s to allow you to still be close to them when they’re sick while preventing you from getting sick as well.
When families like the mom I mentioned above lack healthy boundaries, they remain caught in the cycle of addiction right alongside their loved one, and no one wins in that situation.
You’re probably thinking, “Okay, so then how do I set a healthy boundary?”
I’ll walk you through the steps tomorrow.
P.S. If you’re wondering about what is involved with an intervention and want to know if it might be right for your own family, we offer a free consultation to help you determine just that. Feel free to connect with me here.