- Spending time with other people until we are exhausted;
- Not being upfront about our physical and emotional limits;
- Giving more of ourselves in a relationship without having our own needs met;
- Not making our opinions, desires, or emotions a priority.
When we suffer from a chronic illness such as fibromyalgia, we are more vulnerable. What people say, and the things they do or don't do, can have life-altering effects on us. I believe we need to learn to set boundaries. We need to decide what we will and won't accept, and what to do to keep ourselves from being unnecessarily hurt — even by well-meaning people. What are boundaries and how do they work? Picture a fence around your home. The inside of the fence keeps good things in, and the fence is a barrier to keep bad things out. Your personal boundaries (your fence) can keep out things like guilt from saying no. Having boundaries keeps you in a healthier place mentally and emotionally. We might have difficulty establishing them if they weren't instilled in us growing up. When we're afraid of conflict or losing an important relationship, it can keep us from setting boundaries. That opens the door for people to harm us. Not only do we allow others to violate our boundaries, but we might be sabotaging our own by doing things such as: