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 endometriosis. Setting and defending boundaries allows you to protect your physical and mental health and focus on feeling your best while living with endo.
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 endometriosis and symptoms like pelvic pain, bloating, or 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 endometriosis.
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 endometriosis, 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 endometriosis.
Here are some conversations from MyEndometriosisTeam about setting and defending boundaries:
"Every single breath you take every single morning you wake up and keep going is a fight won against endometriosis. So today, take a moment and give yourself praise because you are an inspiration, you are a fighter, and you are fighting back to endometriosis."
"Only you know what you're going through and understand how it affects you. Do not let ANYONE make you feel bad for taking care of yourself. Do not ever sacrifice your peace to try and please someone else. You simply cannot pour from an empty cup. Do what you need to do for you first."
"I'm learning my new limits, setting boundaries, and taking one day at a time. The new me is a snail, not a hare. Have a good day and more to remind myself, be kind to yourself, as much as you can."
Have you successfully set boundaries that help you manage endometriosis?
What tips would you recommend to help set healthy limits with others?
Share in the comments below or directly on MyEndometriosisTeam.