Boundaries & Communication
MDRC Kids Ministry Staff
Heidi Vermeer-Quist, Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Vermeer Quist Consulting
Basics of Healthy Boundaries
What do you feel responsible for?
How do you feel when you think of all of these responsibilities?
Why do we feel what we feel?
Simplifying Responsibilities: I can only be responsible FORoneperson: myself. I can only be responsible FOR myself in one time frame: NOW.
- In my own backyard I have three FAB-you-lous treasures (which are God’s gifts):
- Feelings (managing them)
- Attitudes (directing them)
- Behaviors (choosing them)
- The airplane/oxygen mask analogy – I must be responsible for myself before I can be responsible to others.
- I am NOT responsible FOR Others, Outcomes or Old Stuff (the 3 O’s).
- I am responsibleTO others by “Speaking the Truth in Love.”(Ephesians 4:15)
- Start by asking, “What’s in my back yard?” or “What’s my focus?”
- Old Stuff? (past losses)
- Redirect myself to addressing my FAB (use prayer journaling tips below)
- Watch out for the 3 O’s – Others, Outcomes, and Old Stuff. Focusing on those and trying to change those is a losing battle. Don’t’ get stuck in the “O” zone!
- Being responsible TO other people and not FOR other people.
- Speak the truth (owning my perspective) to the other person in a loving and respectful way (i.e. calm voice, eye contact, listening to their perspective too).
- Matthew 18, Ephesians 4 – Go to the people I’m concerned about and speak the truth (as I understand it) in love (respecting that they likely have a different perspective/truth).
- “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12: 18) – don’t forget the “if possible” and the “as far as it depends on you” phrases. Remember your limits and respect other people’s limits!
As we learn to manage our own FAB (my “FAB-you-lous” treasures), we are energized to connect well with others. We are able to give and respond freely in relationships. In other words, when I am responsible FOR myself, I am free (and much more capable) to be responsible TO others.
A Prayer Journaling Exercise (writing out your FAB with God):
- F - What am I feeling?
- A - What am I reacting to?
- the situation:
- my interpretation (subjective):
- the truth (objective):
- B - How did I (or how am I now) respond(ing) to my interpretation of the situation? What is my typical knee jerk response?
- What other options do I have? (really listen to yourself, God, what others have taught you)
- What do I choose to do?
Truth in Love Communication
- Write it out first. Pray over it and pray as you write.
- Think Sandwich Approach:
- Use “I messages”
- Don’t go it alone
For more info on Boundaries & Communication refer to Chapters 2 & 8 in the “Grounding” book.