Comparing to extreme examples, describing how it could be much worse or making their use relative to others. “I hear you saying that you don’t drink as much as Jon, but my concern about your drinking has nothing to do with Jon. I want to stay focused on what’s going on with you and how your drinking is negatively affecting me.”
Turning the topic back to you, changing the subject or using humor. “I appreciate you trying to lighten the mood, but this is a serious topic. When you joke, it makes me feel like you aren’t taking my concerns seriously.”
Pretending they didn’t hear you or saying that you worry too much. “I am worried because addiction is a serious disease. As much as you may not want to be hurting me with your drug use, you are.”
Using words like probably, possibly or maybe. “When I hear you say “maybe,” I feel like you really mean ‘no.’ I prefer you say ‘I will’ and make a real commitment to do what I’m asking.”
Explaining why something that’s clearly not OK is OK. “I hear you say you only drink to be social, but last week I saw you sleeping with an empty vodka bottle in your bed. I’m worried that your drinking is no longer social. And, I hope you can remain open to hearing my concerns.”
They may not say “I’m feeling ashamed.” But, if you see that in their body language, you can adjust your approach or even address it directly. “I notice you’re wringing your hands. Are you feeling anxious? Is there anything I can do to help you feel more comfortable while we talk?”
A boundary is ignored.
Boundaries are continually ignored.
They won’t let you talk.
- Talks about their behavior, not them as a person.
- Gives the impact of the boundary being broken.
- Asks for the boundary to be respected instead of demand or avoid it.
- Is open, honest and direct.
- Is balanced between saying what is difficult and what is liked about the person.
- Sets out clearly what the boundary is and the consequences of breaking it.
- Gives them responsibility for their behavior and the choices they make.