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  • Writer's pictureSakeena Mihar

How Setting Boundaries Can Enable Your Recovery

Boundaries are basic guidelines that individuals create to establish how they would like others to behave around them. Setting boundaries are especially important in PTSD recovery because it will challenge the negative opinions trauma survivors have about themselves.

Dealing with PTSD symptoms can take a toll on your personal and professional life. The people around you may not know how they can help you. When personal boundaries are crossed, it can leave you feeling triggered and set back your recovery. That’s why it’s vital to set boundaries with others as well as yourself.

In this blog post, we will be talking about: identifying your boundaries, setting boundaries with loved ones and yourself as well as respecting boundaries.

1. Identify and set boundaries on your journey of healing

When you have PTSD, certain things can set off your symptoms. That’s why identifying your emotional triggers, setting boundaries pertaining to your journey of healing, and managing your environment to create a safe place are all critical steps in your recovery. Here are some ways to help you set boundaries on your journey of healing:

  1. Triggers can be divided into two categories; internal and external. Internal triggers are emotions or sensations your body experiences whereas external triggers involve situations, places, people, etc. Try to think of when your PTSD symptoms usually arise and identify what your triggers are.

  2. Take your time to find a specialist who works best for you and your needs; speak up if it isn’t a right fit.

  3. Set boundaries for those in your life by communicating and putting your healing along with your safety first.

A professional will help identify the problem areas and will walk you through a course of treatment that works best for your situation. Healing isn’t always easy, but know that it is always an option.

2. Set boundaries with your loved ones

Oftentimes the people around you might not know what they can do to make you feel comfortable. This is why it is crucial for you to set boundaries in place with them so they know to stay within the limits you create. Setting boundaries with your loved ones can be a difficult process but here are some tips to help you with it:

  1. Take some time to create a list of boundaries and communicate those boundaries with people around you.

  2. If you feel uncomfortable being direct at first, know it’s completely normal. An easy approach to this is talking about how you feel rather than stating someone else’s behavior is the problem.

  3. You are allowed to say “no” and allowed to avoid things that could trigger feelings of panic or set you back on the progress you’ve made.

Set boundaries that allow you to put your safety first.

3. Set boundaries with yourself

Trauma is different for everyone, recovery from trauma is something that also varies. On your journey of healing, it is important to find that fine line between what's okay for you and what isn’t; this allows you to set boundaries with yourself. Some things you should keep in mind when setting boundaries with yourself include:

  1. Invest your energy in making sure you feel safe.

  2. Ensure your loved ones understand your boundaries.

  3. Make your journey of healing a priority and focus on yourself.

There will be some days where things might be easier than others, but keep in mind that you are allowed to take a step back when you don’t have the capacity to be around others. Know what you are capable of and listen to your mind if it is telling you that you need a break.

4. Respecting boundaries as a loved one of someone with PTSD

When a loved one has post-traumatic stress disorder, it can also affect you. It’s not easy dealing with PTSD, and it can take a heavy toll on relationships and their family’s life.

Seeing someone close to you struggle and not being able to help them can be overwhelming.

Here are some tips to help guide you through this process as a loved one:

  1. Educate yourself about PTSD: Do your own research so you are fully aware of your loved one’s situation. This will show them that you care and are willing to build their trust so they feel safe.

  2. Ask your loved ones what their boundaries are: Be a good listener, remember their boundaries along with their triggers, and always respect them. Discuss having a plan in place for when boundaries are crossed.

  3. Offer them support: Let them know they can lean on you. Offer them patience, a sense of normalcy, and guide them to a professional who can help them.

  4. Set boundaries for yourself: Be realistic about what you’re capable of giving. Make sure you know your own limits and that you stick to them. Don’t forget to communicate your limits to your loved ones and others involved.

By making an effort to respect their boundaries, you are fostering a healthy support system for a loved one with PTSD and this can help them reach a sense of normalcy again. Use these tips to take a step towards moving on from a traumatic event and be an active participant in their journey of healing.

Although boundaries can be difficult to set, it’s vital for you to draw lines in life in order to prevent burnout or setbacks on your journey of healing. Be honest with yourself and the people around you so that you have the freedom to take steps forward with the proper boundaries in place. You set boundaries because you love and respect yourself. This will help keep you safe, healthy and help others to better support you on this journey of healing.

If you find this blog helpful or think it might be helpful for someone else, please share it with them. Stay safe and stay tuned for more content like this!

FOR SUPPORT: If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call the Ontario support line (1-866-797-0000) or look up your province's support line.

*In the case of an emergency, please call 911.

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