There is an old saying: “Good fences make good neighbors.” Having healthy boundaries in relationships is important for everyone, especially for people with a chronic condition like fibromyalgia. Setting and defending boundaries allows you to protect your physical and mental health and focus on feeling your best while living with fibro.
Setting boundaries can be hard. Your friends and family may not be used to you saying no or establishing limits for when and how you are available to them. They may expect you to have the same energy you had before you developed fibromyalgia and symptoms like chronic pain and fatigue. No matter what, you are entitled to establish the boundaries you need to maintain your emotional and physical wellbeing. Setting boundaries to take care of yourself does not make you mean or selfish – it helps you focus on what you need to do to care for your fibromyalgia.
Here are a few tips for setting boundaries clearly and compassionately:
After setting boundaries, do not be surprised if you need to defend them. Some people will likely test your boundaries, especially when they are new. Expect some pushback and consider what a good response might be.
Here are some examples of boundary testing and possible responses:
After testing your boundaries a few times, most people will understand that they are well-defended and learn to respect them. If you have allies who understand the challenges of fibromyalgia, ask them to help you defend your limits with others. Remember, you don’t need to apologize for setting good boundaries that help you stay healthy, manage your symptoms, and feel your best while living with fibro.
Here are some conversations from MyFibroTeam about setting and defending boundaries:
"Changing my life, demanding respect. Oh, and I actually slept last night."
"Fighting depression, putting boundaries that are not to the liking of others, fighting a virus lasting 10 days, and having to look for a place to live. I'm trying to make my life easier and less stressful for me."
"Being kind to myself. I am having a flare and really exhausted. Thanks to all of you I am learning to protect myself from emotional disaster."
Have you successfully set boundaries that help you manage fibromyalgia?
What tips would you recommend to help set healthy limits with others?
Share in the comments below or directly on MyFibroTeam.