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Boundaries, Assertiveness, & People-Pleasing

Finding Simplicity and Fulfillment by Tending to Your Desires and Needs

Drained, burned out, dissatisfied, confused. 

You wonder how it’s possible to pursue your desires, maintain strong but flexible boundaries, and maintain relationships. 

Sometimes you try so much to satisfy others and avoid discomfort that you are not even sure of your wants and dislikes. In between those times, you long for a contentment you cannot quite put your finger on. You feel you will always lose a tug-of-war. You wish others would just automatically climb the rope together, instead of trying to grab it all for themselves.

In your hard-working silence, you feel untrue to yourself, but stuck in that. Eventually, you can’t keep it up but you try desperately harder, leading to exhaustion or a tense meltdown.

Others seem surprised or even displeased by your burnout. That leads to more anxiety, anger, shame, or guilt for you. However, you still feel paralyzed and unable to reveal your truth. Believing it is impossible to honor your needs and be with others is a silent trap.

You might wonder:

  • What is the formula for being happy just by keeping everyone else happy?
  • I play nice, do things right, and don’t complain. Why am I so unsatisfied and stressed? 
  • I am proactively sensitive to everyone’s needs. Why doesn’t someone help me like that?
  • How can I stick up for my truth when I’m just not meant to win? 

Why speak up for me, when it feels like everything will go to everyone else?

Because the long-term price of not being appropriately expressive and assertive is dissatisfaction, disconnection from your true self, and a load of chores. The truth is that comfortably saying ‘no’, being openly expressive, or genuinely asking for something, does not have to be a fairytale. 

With the right guidance, you can find the root of your avoidance patterns. You can develop new responses that are truer to yourself, and develop the confidence to stick with them. 

Why do you have trouble with boundaries, assertiveness, and pleasing everyone? 

People look for ways to feel more control than they have.

When the method of people-pleasing no longer works,  your unhappiness keeps increasing, or both, you wonder, “Now what am I supposed to do?”

In this unknown, uncertain situation, you feel an anxious conflict between flawed, previous learning and asserting yourself. It can be conscious, hidden, or a bit of both.

And the more you avoid assertiveness and boundary-keeping, the more anxious you get about them. It is a loop that is hard to escape by yourself.

How therapy can help you with boundaries and assertiveness

In my practice, I specialize in helping those who focus too much on the needs of others, as well as people who have trouble being assertive for other reasons.

Assertiveness is drawing boundaries and making requests without being passive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive. Therapy can help by repeatedly increasing your awareness of times when you tried too hard to please or wanted to hold firmer boundaries.

Detailed, deep listening and awareness about why you try so hard, helps to defuse anxiety. Feeling compassionately heard makes it safe to recognize, explore, and say the things you ‘wish’ you could assert with others. That is an important, in-between step to doing it with increased confidence outside of therapy. 

In and after therapy: recovering hope, motivation, and forgotten parts of you

With therapy, the unknown becomes a space for hope and faith in yourself, instead of a pit of dread. You begin to look forward to sharing yourself and enjoy others in a more relaxed way.

You see that others can be temporarily dissatisfied and still love you–but if they can’t, someone else will. Eventually, thorough insight about original causes, and a full strengthening of new habits, keeps negative cycles stopped.

You see new options and opportunities. There is a clear, new confidence you can make things work when you know what you want and how to pursue it.

If you are ready to discover your desires, manage your boundaries, and be more open with those around you, I can guide and support you.

I recognize and appreciate that reaching out to me is a hard, first step in learning to do these things for yourself. I would be honored to foster your learning and development in this area. 

Click below to schedule a consultation or call me directly at 909-766-2221.