#15 – When Boundaries are Successful . . . or Not (Step 5 of the 5-Step Boundary Solution)


This is the fifth of a five-part series taking a deeper dive into each step of the 5-Step Boundary Solution process. If you haven’t heard the episodes covering the first four steps, go back to Episode #10 and start there so that you can get a firm foundation for all five steps. Today, you’ll learn how to evaluate the results of your boundary work, and what to do if the boundary you attempted to set wasn’t as successful as you had hoped.

Biggest Takeaways From Episode #15:

  • If the boundary you created as a result of working Steps 1-4 has been successful—even if it wasn’t 100% perfect—it’s time to celebrate! If the boundary didn’t turn out as you planned, or the person you established a boundary with broke an agreement, there are almost always more steps you can take.
  • If your boundary didn’t work, ask yourself three questions:
    • Did you follow through on what you committed to in Step 4?
    • If you made a request of another person, was the agreement clear?
    • Was the agreement broken, or was there a boundary violation?
  • Your response to a broken agreement should be in proportion to the importance of the issue to you. In other words, you wouldn’t immediately file for divorce if your spouse forgot to take the trash out one week.
  • It’s important to understand the difference between punishment, consequences, and self-care, and to not allow someone else to cause you to believe that you are “punishing” them with your boundaries, when in fact the boundary was a natural consequence, an act of self-care, or both. 

Highlights from Episode #15:

  • Vicki offers a quick overview of the four steps of the 5-Step Boundary Solution. [01:34]
  • Step 5 is about evaluating the results of your boundary work, and making course corrections if needed. [06:42]
  • If a boundary didn’t work, start by asking yourself three specific questions. [10:06]
  • We hear about some potential mistakes that one can make during this step. [14:38]
  • There are several options in cases of broken agreements or boundary violations. [16:45]
  • Vicki makes a distinction between three concepts: self-care, consequences, and punishment. [23:04]
  • One option when you’re working through Step 5 is that you need to return to Step 1 to work the 5-SBS around the new issue or problem. [27:46]

Links and Resources:


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