Boundaries Blog — Boundaries Q&A
Boundaries Q&A with Dr. John Townsend: How to Handle Conflict with In-Laws
Question: I am experiencing conflict with my in-laws about the way I raise my children. They tend to nit-pick every decision that I make. Do you have any tips for setting boundaries with in-laws?
Answer: I know it's no fun to feel conflict with your in-laws. Here are some ways to address the sensitive issue. Begin with a positive and vulnerable conversation. Simply wait until there is a quiet moment, where there's not a lot going on....
Boundaries Q&A with Dr. John Townsend: Adult Child Who Refuses to Pay Back a Loan
Question: What kinds of consequences are appropriate for a 39-year-old daughter who refuses to take responsibility for paying a college loan that her father and I co-signed in good faith?
Answer: First, let me say that I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I know that it can feel uncomfortable to be at odds with your adult child.
In this situation, your first decision is to approach your daughter in a vulnerable way and describe how her behavior is impacting you. You could say something like ...
Boundaries Q&A with Dr. Townsend: 4 Tips for Dealing with a Narcissist
Question: Dr. Townsend, can you give advice for someone who thinks they are married to a narcissist? Everything seems to revolve around my spouse's wishes and demands.
Dr. Townsend: I'm sorry to hear about your situation. First off, the label of "narcissism" is not very helpful unless you are talking with a licensed therapist who has actually done an interview and diagnosed the person. People throw around the term, "narcissism," a lot and it gets confusing. It's much more helpful to talk about specific attitudes and behaviors that are problematic. For example, your second sentence, about everything seeming to revolve around your spouse's wishes and demands, is clear and specific. So let's deal with that aspect and get you some relief. Here are four tips ...
Boundaries Q&A with Dr. Townsend: How to Love Without Enabling an Adult Child
Question: Dr. Townsend, I have a 35-year-old son in jail for possession of a controlled substance and thievery. How do I love him without enabling him, yet letting him know that I care?
First, let me say that I am sorry for you and your son's situation. I'm also very glad you want to help him. Jail is a lonely and difficult place to be, even if the individual has committed acts that justify him being there.
To answer to your question, in a way, you really don't have to worry a great deal about enabling him. To "enable" is to remove someone from the consequences of his behavior ...
Boundaries Q&A with Dr. John Townsend: Handling Guilt Comments from a Parent
Question: Dr. Townsend, my mother makes snide comments that she will threaten to harm herself if I don't come home for every major holiday and her birthday throughout the year. How am I supposed to respond to her comments?
I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It's not funny, and is actually troubling, for a mom to make these sort of comments, even if she says she is joking. A part of us will always wonder how serious this is. The great majority of the time, these "guiltifying" statements are actually indirect expressions of disappointment, sadness or frustration that the person does not feel safe admitting....