I am very sensitive to the energy of other people. I was also never taught about boundaries or speaking up for myself. Seriously, I had no idea what a boundary even was until about two years ago, and the concept blew my mind. No wonder I was so exhausted! I always gave away my energy to anyone and everyone, with no idea how to take care of myself. I let the energy of others invade, overpower, and squash my own. Poor Baby Me had no idea what to do to protect myself from frustration, burnout, and resentment.
It’s really hard to reverse years of people-pleasing. There’s a lot of fear involved in the reluctance to set boundaries with others: fear of being rejected, fear of conflict, fear of being ridiculed, dismissed, or ignored. If you resonate with anyone of this, there’s nothing wrong with you! We become people-pleasers because of dysfunctional relationships and childhood trauma. It’s not something that happens out of thin air. You are not crazy.
Once you realize your patterns – and your super leaky boundaries – it is very important to begin learning to protect your energy, and therefore, yourself. When your boundaries were denied, disrespected, and trampled on growing up, it can be incredibly frightening to try and stand up for yourself now. When you don’t feel safe, you run – and this definitely doesn’t feel safe. But, if not now, then when? The sooner you begin working on this, the sooner you can heal your boundary trauma, take back your power, and learn to take care of your precious energy.
It’s great to work on this sort of thing with a knowledgable therapist, especially when you’re just beginning. You can practice boundary work with them and also get suggestions for how to practice in specific ways in your life. When you start to put it into practice, see if you can find any relationships in your life that feel relatively safe. If you begin practicing with those people, you can start to rebuild your confidence and trust in yourself. Be gentle with yourself, go slow, and try not to get discouraged by setbacks. Healing is never linear. You can do this. Keep it up! Sending you love.