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Establishing Boundaries Even if You are a Natural Doormat

With holidayBoundaries, holiday season fast upon us, there will be myriad family gatherings to attend.

Have you noticed that personal boundaries seem to be more easily crossed at those times?

Because there are usually more people and stress levels are higher, it seems to be… 

Personal Boundaries that Get Crossed

  • Over indulging in food and alcohol (crossing your own personal boundaries)
  • Comments on people’s financial or employment status
  • Weightist comments “You’re too fat. Don’t eat that” or “You’re too thin.  Eat something!”
  • Responsibility for the main celebration thrust onto one person’s shoulders

Even if someone doesn’t intentionally cross your boundary, it hurts.  My mother-in-law from my first marriage was a lovely woman.  She unfortunately had some very negative beliefs about weight.  Her idea of helping me and my then husband was to WEIGH us after holiday meals!  

She thought she was helping us.  She had NO intention of hurting our feelings.  My feelings were hurt, though, very much.  Needless to say, that only happened a few times until I finally mustered up enough Courage to tell her that NO WAY was she going to WEIGH me ever again!

How Do You Set Clear Cut Boundaries?

Refuse to be a victim or a doormat

Find your voice; don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.  You don’t need to be mean, just firm about how you expect to be treated

Come from a place of integrity-know that you have a right and an obligation to protect yourself

Know that you deserve respect. It is a basic human right and you do deserve to be treated with respect, don’t you?

I was talking to a client the other day, who expressed concern about even planning a Christmas dinner. She was not able to ask for help in any meaningful way that would result in her actually getting the help she needed. She was overwhelmed. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

A Simple Strategy to Take the Stress Out of Holiday Meals

If you are the one hosting the family party, the entire preparation does not need to be your responsibility.

1. Make a list of foods that you are comfortable having other people bring (potluck all the way, less work and easier on the wallet!)

2. Use paper plates if it is going to make the clean up easier (especially if you are hosting more than 10 people).  Paper tablecloths and napkins fit in here, too

3. Post a roster of clean up duties and invite your family matters to sign up before you serve the meal

4. Use disposable foil pans that you can throw out afterwards

5. Position your garbage cans and recycling containers in easily accessible locations

6. Prep the food that you can, (safely), ahead of time by a day or two.  You can even freeze some dishes

If your family is used to you doing everything, you might find some resistance to change from them.  Be firm and accept that it is important for you to make that change.

When you have a deep seated belief that you are deserving of love and respect, it will be simpler to set boundaries for how people treat you.  In fact, once you have that belief, and act on it, people will treat you differently, you’ll see, won’t you?  

As a completely reformed natural doormat, I am telling you it can be done…..You will enjoy the holidays more when you allow yourself to.

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?”  Sherie Venner


**Photo by Slideshow Bruce

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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Susan Preston November 26, 2011, 11:07 pm

    Thank you, Sherie for a great article. I couldn’t believe my eyes and had to reread the part about your ex mother-in-law wanting to weigh you and your husband at the time after holiday meals. Wow! I am proud of you for setting boundaries and saying No! I love reading your articles, they are very inspiring. I appreciate you 🙂

    • Sherie November 27, 2011, 12:45 am

      Thank you, Susan, for the lovely comment, I appreciate you, too! Yes, those days were definitely interesting and I am glad that they are over! LOL

  • Solvita November 25, 2011, 2:40 pm

    Great ideas Sherie for people who need that encouragement to stand up for themselves. It is good to hear that you found your way. It was funny to read about your ex mother in law, I think this could be a reason why she is ex 🙂

    • Sherie November 25, 2011, 8:11 pm

      Lol, yes, Solvita, that is one of the reasons!

  • Deborah Turton November 24, 2011, 6:37 pm

    Sherie, such a great article and wonderful advice! I can so relate to you on this topic as I have struggled in the past maintaining my boundaries in the ‘business’ arena! However no more lol. You are a great gift Sherie, thank you!

    • Sherie November 24, 2011, 8:32 pm

      Thank you so much, Deborah! : D

  • Dr. Daisy Sutherland November 24, 2011, 5:55 pm

    Wonderful tips! Umm…can’t believe you were being weighed after every holiday meal!! Crazy!! So glad you stood up and said, no way:)

    • Sherie November 24, 2011, 8:33 pm

      Silly, wasn’t it?? LOL

  • Nancy Olson, The Celiac Warrior November 23, 2011, 8:00 am

    I love your advice on taking stress out of the holidays, #1 is a biggy for me! Thanks

    • Sherie November 23, 2011, 8:24 am

      Thanks, Nancy! #1 is a biggie for a lot of people…..: D

  • Lorrie November 23, 2011, 7:40 am

    What a perfect blog post for the week’s we are entering. I hope that everyone takes gentle care of their selves and their loved ones during such a high-energy time. With this advice we can be a little more prepared.

    • Sherie November 23, 2011, 7:48 am

      What a beautiful wish for everyone, Lorrie……and thank you!

  • Edwina Parker November 23, 2011, 6:25 am

    Very nice, Sherie. I have an aunt who is well known for overstepping boundaries. It has finally become a bit of a family joke over the years. We all just nod and smile, nod and smile. Thank you for sharing such great tips.

    • Sherie November 23, 2011, 6:32 am

      Nod and smile,,,,,that is perfect, Edwina!!!!……and you’re welcome! Thank you for the comment!

  • Edmund Lee November 23, 2011, 5:57 am

    Well put Sherie. Everything starts from our belief system and what goes on in our head. It is true. Once we BELIEVE that we are deserving of love and respect, that’s when the true change occurs. It’s at that point that we see ourselves in a different light. And when we see ourselves in a different light, others follow suit.

    • Sherie November 23, 2011, 6:13 am

      Exactly, Edmund! Thank you for your comment!

  • Stephanie November 23, 2011, 5:31 am

    Thanks for the post! I’ll be using the points to practice my roar…lol. I think my family can’t get past the fact that, I’m a grown woman and not five anymore.

    • Sherie November 23, 2011, 6:14 am

      They do take some training, sometimes, Stephanie! LOL

  • Lorii Abela November 23, 2011, 5:22 am

    Definitely, this situation is really common during holiday season especially those about weight. Thanks for sharing great advice Sherie.

    • Sherie November 23, 2011, 6:14 am

      Thank you, Lorii, it is really common during the holiday season!

  • Rob Hodgins November 21, 2011, 9:05 am

    “She was not able to ask for help in any meaningful way that would result in her actually getting the help she needed. ”

    This is so common around the holiday season! It’s great that there is a way out.

    • Sherie November 21, 2011, 10:45 am

      It is, isn’t it? : D Thanks for your comment, Rob!

  • Eva Blaskovic November 21, 2011, 6:55 am

    Good advice. Great title. Timely article.

    • Sherie November 21, 2011, 10:45 am

      Thank you, Eva!