An adult with ADHD can often have difficulties with setting boundaries; either with their own boundaries or respecting others. Boundaries are rules that you set for yourself based on your own values or priorities or both. However, not all boundaries are easy for a person with ADHD. Sometimes the person with ADHD don’t know what they are so you can’t enforce them, or you know that you have crossed a boundary but you need to develop assertiveness or confidence so you can enforce it. Even if it feels comfortable at first, it is worth to strength your boundaries because they are very important for you to feel happy, health and to have good relationships with the people in your life. Read more to learn strategies to find good balance in setting boundaries.
Know what your limits are- Take time to figure out what your boundaries are with strangers, work colleagues, friends, family and in your personal relationships. Then create a boundary chart which you can outline each of your boundaries per your relationship category, and then fill it in with the boundary criteria you feel most comfortable and safe with. For example, a boundary can be something like “You don’t feel comfortable when your work colleagues ask about your childhood illness or parents divorce. By creating this chart, you will have something to go back on when someone may be overstepping your boundaries and your boundaries will change over time so make sure that you update your chart as you grow.
Learn to be assertive- Creating and setting your own boundaries is great, but it the following through that really counts. The only way to let other people know that your boundaries have been crossed is to be direct with them. It can be scary to be assertive if you never been accustomed to doing so, so I suggest starting with something small and manageable to build up your assertiveness skills to larger tasks such as
-Did the waitress get your order wrong? Ask her for what you ordered.
-Did the cashier over-charge you? Ask for a correction to be made.
-Are unwanted romantic suitors messaging you? Explain that you are not interested and would appreciate it if he or she stops.
-Is a distant cousin intruding on your dating life? Say that you’d rather talk about something else.
-Is a work colleague pushing his or her work onto you? Remind them that it isn’t within your scope, you are busy with your own work, and direct them to someone who will be of better service.
Practice makes perfect- When you start acting assertively other people may see you as being mean or rude. But this is not the case, being assertive doesn’t mean that you are unkind, it means that you are being fair and honest with them but maintaining your own peace, dignity and self-respect.
If all else fails, delete and ignore– If and when you have asserted yourself and made it clean to a family, friend or ex-partner that they are not respecting your boundaries it is ok to ignore all contact with that person. Because you need to remind yourself of your own worth and no one has the right to make you feel uncomfortable or take away your self-defined space away from you.