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Episode 91: How to Set and Maintain Boundaries with Carla Naumburg

Brief summary of show:

How do we set and maintain boundaries?

Why is it that we feel bad when we try to reinforce boundaries?

What even really IS a boundary? And how do they impact our values?

In this episode, Carla Naumburg joins me to talk about what boundaries are, aren’t, how to set them, and most importantly – how to maintain them.

Carla Naumburg, PhD, LICSW, is a clinical social worker, parenting expert, and mother. She’s the author of five non-fiction books, including her international bestseller, How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids (Workman, 2019), and the forthcoming You’re Not a Sh*tty

Parent and How to Stop Freaking Out, the middle-grade adaptation of How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids. Carla lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • [0:50] Do relationships really get damaged when we set boundaries?

  • [4:00] The boundaries you can set

  • [5:00] Why we overshare

  • [6:10] Internal vs. external boundaries

  • [9:30] How to set boundaries without coming across as ‘rude’

  • [21:20] Why it’s so hard for women to say no and set boundaries

  • [29:05] How to know what our values are

  • [34:50] Tips for teaching our kids about boundaries

Notes from Natalie:

Connect with Carla Naumburg

Connect with Me

View Transcript for this Episode

[00:00:00] Natalie: saying no isn't easy. Setting boundaries to protect yourself and to be more productive is the topic of today's podcast

[00:00:37] Natalie: Hi everyone, it's Natalie. As we wrap up 2022, I have learned so much from my guests. Hard to believe. We are nearing a hundred episodes of this podcast. I appreciate your feedback and your topic ideas. This is one today that I know so many of you struggle with. I've talked about it with many of you.

[00:00:57] I've received messages from you and we [00:01:00] might not get it perfect. But setting boundaries allows us to be more productive, and more importantly, it sets us up for success with work, our families, and in all of our relationships. I like to say that boundaries mean love. My guest today is a repeat guest and you all loved her the first time so much.

[00:01:20] She is back with more. In this episode, Carla Naumberg joins me to talk. What boundaries are, what they're not, how to set them, and most importantly, how to maintain them. Carla is a clinical social worker, parenting expert, and mother. She's the author of five non-fiction books, including an international bestseller.

[00:01:41] You're gonna hear about that today. She gives. Such practical advice that you can implement right away in your relationships and in your parenting. Carla lives in Massachusetts with her husband and her two daughters. So before we get started, be sure to join me on Instagram where I post almost daily. You will find me at.[00:02:00]

[00:02:00] Tisk and I have a free download I think that you'll enjoy. You can print it, you can check off the 20 ways to make your kids feel loved. A link to that is in today's show notes. In this episode, Carla and I talk about what boundaries are, again, what they're not, how to set them, and how to maintain them. So important.

[00:02:21] Here we go.

[00:02:22] Carla, let's get right into this conversation on boundaries. We, we hear a lot about boundaries, but I think it's one of the hardest things for us as women to really enforce

[00:02:32] Carla: for ourselves. Absolutely. And I think that's because we, as women are taught from. The first moment of our lives and through everything, all the cultural society, societal messages that are worth exists in our relationships, right?

[00:02:50] Women are taught that relationships, taking care of other people, having other people like us, being appealing to other people is really at the core of who we [00:03:00] are. And when we set a boundary, , either internally or externally in any way. The worry is that we are gonna damage our relationships and that I think for many women is one of the scariest things we can do.

[00:03:12] Have you

[00:03:12] Natalie: witnessed it damaging relationships or helping relationships?

[00:03:16] Carla: Oh, both. Absolutely. There have been times when I have found myself in what I would argue are pretty toxic dynamics when. I end up in relationships. This, this happens a lot less now. I'm a little bit older now. I'm a little bit wiser now, right?

[00:03:31] But whether it's with a family member or a guy I was dating or a friendship where something about that relationship wasn't bringing out my best self, right? It was bringing out behaviors in me whether it was the things I was talking about or the things I was doing that I didn't feel good about.

[00:03:47] Hmm. And so in some cases, me setting up boundaries ended the relationship altogether, right? I, I no longer am dating those men, and that was actually a good thing in some of them with friendships. The [00:04:00] friendship ended all together and that was painful, but. . I think looking back it was the right choice because there was no way that particular friendship was gonna evolve into something better.

[00:04:11] And then there are certainly family situations where I have set boundaries that I know the other family member didn't like and they weren't unhappy. But what I found is that setting those boundaries was really an act of radical self. An act of self-compassion, and when I did it, what it meant was I have more time and I have more energy for the other people in my life, for my spouse, for my children, for myself, for the friendships and family members with whom I can show up fully.

[00:04:42] And be my best self, or I can show up fully and be my worst self where I can absolutely fall apart and they will be there to support me. Yeah. And get me through those tough moments. So I'm not gonna pretend that setting boundaries is always easy and sometimes it does damage relationships, but I would argue when we do it [00:05:00] skillfully it's gonna make.

[00:05:01] Help us be our best selves. Yeah.

[00:05:05] Natalie: Boy, this is, this is just so valuable and I, and I think in this phase of, of my life, and we, we both have well,

[00:05:13] Carla: teenagers,

[00:05:14] Natalie: right? Mm-hmm. , you have 12 and 14, and I've got two in college and, and one who's 13 that at this stage in my life, I wish I could go back. No regrets, because we learn along the way, but I wish I could go back and learn these.

[00:05:29] And set some boundaries because at least for me in a time in my life, I loved having lots of friends and lots of people and lots of committees and lots of whatever, but I am so much more like you've just said. Valuing relationships that let me show up that I can just pour into and not trying to nurture these relationships that really aren't benefiting me.

[00:05:54] Someone said to me years ago, and I I love this, that if a relationship's not [00:06:00] making you a better person, why are you holding onto it? Be it a, a boyfriend, a husband, a, a friend, but if it's not bettering you, it's making, it's bringing out the best in. , why are you still there for it? and I think that's really valuable.

[00:06:15] And I tell my teenage daughters that in their dating lives, like, is that, is that relationship. Making you better. Right. I think it's a, it's a really

[00:06:24] Carla: valuable thing.

[00:06:25] Natalie: Can we talk a little bit more about what some of these boundaries might be? I love the word boundaries. Love the concept of boundaries, but let's, let's go into

[00:06:33] Carla: some examples.

[00:06:35] Yeah. So many are coming to mind, right? So there's boundaries around our time, what we're gonna spend our time doing, are we spending our time? Joining committees uh, volunteering for people hanging out with certain people, taking phone calls from certain people. Anything we do that we might spend time on, are we spending time staring at our phones?

[00:06:55] Right? Do we need to put a boundary around that so there's any way we might spend our time, whether it's [00:07:00] with other people, whether it's alone, whether it's a personal space or professional space. Those are things we can look at and try to set boundaries around. Um, There can be boundaries in our relationship and that may look like not only the time we spend with a person, but what we share of ourselves with that person.

[00:07:16] Oh, tell me

[00:07:16] Natalie: about that. Yes, yes. Well

[00:07:18] I overshare some people overshare where I feel like if I, if I share more personal than will be closer. And I've had to learn. . Not everybody gets that.

[00:07:29] Carla: Yeah. Look, a as anybody who's read my books knows I'm a sharer, right. I put personal anecdotes in my books and, and there's a lot I don't share in my books.