Boundary Issues with Family-Part 1 of 5

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Boundary Issues with Family

This is part 1 of a 5-part series on Boundaries by Megan Coggins.


The holidays are a time of family, togetherness, and making memories. This can be a time of year full of magic and wonder, pure exhaustion and burnout, and everything in between. Beyond the busy schedule and attempts to make the holidays the perfect picture of joy, add in the differing dynamics of family and cue the emotional fatigue.


Imagine yourself at a family gathering. Have you ever been asked, “So anyone ‘special’ in your life’”, “When are you planning on having kids”, “Hmm, still doing that job…”?  Do any of those comments sound familiar? While they may seem harmless, these questions can become bothersome and annoying when you feel that your family or your spouse’s family do not respect the decisions you are making in your life.


How does the word ‘boundaries’ sit with you? Does it resonate positively with you or does it remind you of a prickly barbed wire fence? Our society has painted a picture of boundaries as one that shows coldness and distance, but boundaries can be healing and empowering when used correctly.  Boundaries in families can empower couples to work together as a cohesive unit, strengthen an individual’s concept of their ability to make decisions, and actually make families stronger and closer.


As a psychotherapist, I work with many individuals and couples who have found themselves in a situation in which their family members are operating without boundaries and experiencing boundary conflicts and damaging boundary violations. This can lead to spousal conflict, frustration, distancing from family, and bitterness.


The concept of boundaries may seem cold and unloving, but done in the right way they are healthy and empowering. As Cloud and Townsend say in their book Boundaries, “The best boundaries are loving ones. The person who has to remain forever in a protective mode is losing out on love and freedom.”


If you would like to further explore how boundaries are impacting your life and how to create boundaries, counseling can be a helpful tool in discovering what needs were not met and how to get them met in a healthy way.  For more information on how to begin therapy or learn more about boundaries, please give us a call at 971-808-2686 or email

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