There is an old saying: “Good fences make good neighbors.” Having healthy boundaries in relationships is important for everyone, especially for people with a chronic skin condition like eczema. Setting and defending boundaries allows you to protect your physical and mental health and focus on feeling your best while living with eczema.
Setting boundaries can be hard. Your friends and family may not be used to you saying no or establishing limits for when and how you are available to them. They may expect you to have the same energy you had before you developed eczema and symptoms like itchiness, blisters, or bleeding. No matter what, you are entitled to establish the boundaries you need to maintain your emotional and physical wellbeing. Setting boundaries to take care of yourself does not make you mean or selfish – it helps you focus on what you need to do to care for your eczema.
Here are a few tips for setting boundaries clearly and compassionately:
After setting boundaries, do not be surprised if you need to defend them. Some people will likely test your boundaries, especially when they are new. Expect some pushback and consider what a good response might be.
Here are some examples of boundary testing and possible responses:
After testing your boundaries a few times, most people will understand that they are well-defended and learn to respect them. If you have allies who understand the challenges of eczema, ask them to help you defend your limits with others. Remember, you don’t need to apologize for setting good boundaries that help you stay healthy, manage your symptoms, and feel your best while living with eczema.
Here are some conversations from MyEczemaTeam about setting and defending boundaries:
"So far, still in bed, with plans of resting myself today."
"Very stressed due to my job. Seeing myself in the mirror and looking this way has made me even more stressed. Any recommendations on the stress/eczema combo?"
"Found myself so itchy today. Sigh! Involved in a stressful amount of conversations today, a flare happened."
Have you successfully set boundaries that help you manage eczema?
What tips would you recommend to help set healthy limits with others?
Share in the comments below or directly on MyEczemaTeam.