Boundaries – Episode 103

find meHave you ever set an ultimatum? What did you do when it wasn’t honored? How do you deal with unacceptable behavior from your loved ones? Spencer and Maria talk about boundaries.

Last week, we read an email from a listener who asked these questions:

  • Do any of you out there have any personal experiences setting ultimatums with your addicts that were not respected, acknowledged or met with insult?
  • How have you handled the negativity from your addict, and the anxiety and heartbreak of not knowing if the relationship will ever be restored?
  • What has it looked like for you to practice loving detachment with an intimate partner through a separation or divorce?
  • What is the next right thing to do once a boundary has been communicated?

So we thought, “maybe it’s time to talk about boundaries again.” We actually had a couple of earlier shows around this topic. Our very first episode was a 20 minute discussion of boundaries, and then in episode 44, we talked about setting boundaries without controlling.

Some discussion/thought questions about boundaries:

  • What is a boundary?
  • How does it differ from an ultimatum?
  • How can I set a boundary that involves someone else’s behavior?
  • What can I do when my boundaries are not respected?
  • How do I feel when my boundaries are not respected by someone I love?
  • How can loving detachment help me to maintain my boundaries?
  • What if I don’t want to follow through with the consequences of my boundary having been violated?
  • What happens (to me) if my boundaries turn out to be expectations?
  • How does a boundary with my own behavior differ from a boundary with someone else’s behavior?
  • How can I set up and follow through with consequences on a boundary with myself?

During the show, we referred to several earlier episodes, including relapse, face to face meetings, Tradition 1, and getting started in Al-Anon.

Our topic for next week is judgement. How does having judgement differ from being judgemental? Can judgement be both a character asset and a character defect? How do you judge others? How do you think others judge you? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

Music from the show

Tracy Chapman – Give Me One Reason

Ani DiFranco – Out of Range

AM – Boundaries


2 comments on “Boundaries – Episode 103

  1. Geri says:

    Maria, I just wanted you to know I don’t find it strange to put a boundary on myself (you’d asked in the podcast if anyone thot it was strange). I had heard this (boundary on self) at a meeting long ago, and found it so critically helpful when my beloved cat had died. I would go into these heaving sobs of grief, and I knew when I give in to my emotions, I can easily go spiraling downward into a depression, and then not have any energy or motivation to get up and get going again. So, every time I felt another wave of grief coming, I’d make a deal with myself (aka set a boundary) to fully feel this grief for 5 mins, or 10 mins, and then I’d have to simmer it down and come back to where I am so I can continue to function. There’s a reading in Hope for Today about emotional drunkenness and I’m so glad I can set a boundary on my feelings. This way, i still get to feel, but not get drunk on it. Thanks for listening!

  2. Ceci M says:

    Thank you so much for this episode about boundaries, and for all of your episodes. I went back to episode 1 and started listening to each one. I am currently dealing with a very difficult situation so I went looking for one that would help me and found this one. I am new to Al-Anon, having only attended 3 meetings. I am a single working mother and it is difficult to make it to meetings every week due to schedules. I do not have a sponsor yet nor do I really know anyone very well, making it hard for me to call someone, so your pods have been a virtual lifeline to me.
    I have a very hard time setting and enforcing personal boundaries and now find myself in a situation with my loved one that makes it absolutely imperative for my own sanity and serenity. I haven’t even been able to find the courage or the words to have the conversation regarding boundaries with him yet for fear of how he will react. (Yes, I know, classic co-dependency.)
    In this episode, I totally felt like your conversation with Julia could have been me talking. I’m trying to wait at least 6 months before making any major decisions regarding my relationship with my boyfriend. I don’t know that I will be able to wait that long, as things have become very strained after a major falling out due to me trying to practice detachment, probably very poorly and maybe not so lovingly, and have doubted my decision regarding that situation ever since. Of course, he has had a hand in reinforcing that doubt, in true alcoholic manipulative form. It is so hard to separate the person from the disease. I’m really struggling with that. Anyway, I feel as though I am rambling on and really just wanted to say thank you for all that you do. I’m looking forward to working my way through all of the episodes.


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