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Setting boundaries with family, especially when those loved ones are anti-cop, can be tricky – here’s how to do so guilt-free.
The idea of setting boundaries is kind of a hot topic lately, isn’t it? It’s largely in part to the book Boundaries which is all about – well, setting boundaries.
But with so much negativity toward law enforcement, you might be thinking about this more than ever. You probably find yourself faced with discovering more friends and family than you ever imagined hate law enforcement.
Maybe some of them qualify that hatred with, “But your officer is different!” But maybe not.
I’ve had way too many people email me to ask what to do if the people they’re closest to begin to hate their officer as well – even if they know them well – simply because they are in law enforcement.
It’s really hard, and can drain on you – and that’s why in this time, boundaries are more important than ever.
Whether you’re dealing with loved ones who are anti-cop or ones who just insert themselves way too much into your already complicated life, you can find ways of setting boundaries with family in ways that can protect you emotionally and help you live a happier life.
3 Steps To Setting Boundaries With Family As A Police Wife
Identify and get rid of your false ideas around boundaries.
Especially if you tend toward being more of a people-pleaser, setting boundaries with family can be tough. It can feel like you’re being mean.
I totally get it – I tend toward trying to be a peacemaker to my own detriment. It’s a good thing in small doses, but when overdone, it very negatively impacts my mental health.
Realize why you’re doing this. I know your family is important to you. You don’t want to do anything to harm those relationships. You’re not in the business of hurting feelings.
But remember: you are important, too. Your mental health matters. And if you allow people to worm their own issues and negativity into your heart, you’re the one who has to suffer with that.
On the other hand, if you make a point of setting boundaries with family who may negatively impact you, you have more energy for the stuff that matters – like the people you actually want to spend your energy on.
Healthy boundaries don’t mean you have to shun others – though sometimes it’s called for. It’s more about simply making sure they’re present in your life to the extent that you mutually benefit. In ways that you enjoy one another as much as possible.
If you recoil at the idea of boundaries and worry about what others will think of you, this is an important first step to enforcing healthy boundaries.
So repeat after me: I am not being a jerk by taking care of myself. I’m not a bad daughter/daughter-in-law/niece/etc. I’m being good to myself – and by doing so, also making more time for the people who uplift me.
Make sense? Good. Now let’s move on to the next step.
Determine what you’ll allow.
If you just don’t want to see anti-cop stuff on your news feed, it’s easy-peasy: just unfollow those that tend to post that kind of thing. You can do so without unfriending them, which means they’ll never even know – which means it won’t turn into some big dramatic thing.
If people insist on talking about things like this in person, is it something you’d like to stop discussing? Altogether, or just with certain people, or just in certain situations?
Whatever kinds of emotional boundaries you feel would benefit you most, make the determination about what you’d like to allow.
If this is a completely new thing to you and you tend toward being non-confrontational, start small. As you feel your confidence in setting boundaries with family grow, you can set more boundaries that further protect your heart.
Now to the trickiest step.
Enforce those boundaries.
Be polite, but firm. Tell anti-cop friends and family that you would like to avoid the topic of conversation in the future. Tell them how much you love them and respect them, but that this is something you will likely never see eye-to-eye on.
Telling someone you love that you love them too much to argue about something like this is a pretty gentle way to establish that boundary. It might still be uncomfortable, but truly – can you argue with a statement like that?
That being said, this may get sticky if you have family members who are militantly against law enforcement in general. You might have loved ones who even decry your husband’s affiliation with law enforcement, even if they should know better – and phew, that can hurt.
They might be too obstinate to keep their mouths shut, and you end up hit by the shrapnel from the most inane and disgusting arguments they can come up with.
In this circumstance, it might be enough to reiterate your request not to talk about it… but it might not.
Some people – even family members – can just kind of suck.
If people you love continue to violate that boundary, you may need to take more drastic action – like limiting contact with them. Possibly – in extreme cases – altogether.
Youch. I KNOW. That sucks.
Remember, though: this is about protecting your sanity and that of your immediate family. Protecting yourself, your officer, and your children emotionally comes first, before anyone else’s feelings.
If you tell someone you’re done talking about an issue and they choose not to respect your wishes, they are the ones who have chosen to be rude. Not you.
You can’t control how other people behave, but you can control how you respond to it. If you have to put your foot down and say “no more” to protect yourself, then that’s what you have to do.
Look, setting boundaries with family can be a total drag – but when you get more used to it, it’s life-changing.
You are not powerless to the whims of others. You can dictate how you’re treated, and especially when everything is so scary and negative in the rest of the world, there is no better time to make sure your family relationships are as peaceful as possible – which is exactly what establishing healthy boundaries allows you to do.
Do you have any other tips on setting boundaries? Feel free to share in the comments below!