June 4, 2018

How to Detach and Set Boundaries

Written by Alex Thompson

We sat with St. Christopher’s COO, Brandy Klingman, LMSW, BACS, to get her opinion on this.

What is a healthy way to detach and set boundaries?

I think it’s a good idea to detach in a way so that your life doesn’t depend on this other person. That your happiness, security, spiritual health, psychological health doesn’t depend on this other person. It’s important for us to detach essentially from everyone around us in a way that we cannot put all of our eggs in one basket.

Think about two bubbles, you don’t want them to be stuck together. They can independently go up together, one can go off one way and the other another way. But if you are stuck together, if one goes down, so does the other. To have a healthy boundary is to say I am me, you are you, we are different, but I love and support you. I want to be with you and I am here to help you up, but I am not going down with you. It’s absolutely okay to feel sadness when you see your loved one suffering but to have your loved one pull you down and you start to decompensate, it’s not healthy. You need to detach and be your own person but also be their support.

Is there one main boundary that should be set no questions asked or is it a case by case basis?

I think it’s case by case. You have to figure out in your family system what the boundaries are. I know in my house, we have boundaries that we set. For example, some family members yell or curse at each other. In my house, it’s just not something we do. I don’t like it personally, so it’s a strict boundary in my house. I use that as an example because every family is different.

I think one of the firmest boundaries people need to have is your health and my health. I can be healthy even if you are not. That is something that comes with therapy and support of your own.

If you are completely attached and meshed with someone else, then you can’t be healthy if that person isn’t.