Boundaries In Brown Families

Boundaries In Brown Families

Boundaries in brown families is a subject of importance. In this article, Sanam Naran explains why it can be very difficult to implement boundaries in brown families. Though this is possible, it becomes important that a family adopts a supportive structure such as Conscious Psychology to maneuver through the difficulties. 


Why Enforcing Boundaries In Brown Families Are Difficult:

You feel guilty for putting yourself first. Self-sacrifice is common in brown culture.

You want to be liked and accepted. Saying “no” feels like you’d be seen as unreasonable or difficult.

You may have grown up learning to abandon your own needs, which is a result of intergenerational trauma.

You’re taught to never speak back and if you do, you’re seen as disrespectful. (Although, enforcing boundaries does not equate to “speaking back”.)

Boundaries require you to speak up. It’s not often acceptable that you have a voice, especially if you’re female.

You may feel indebted towards your parents.

Your family or parents have struggled with their own boundaries.

Disclaimer: Enforcing boundaries can be difficult in any culture.


How Do I Enforce Boundaries In My Family?

  1. Well, start with smaller boundaries. If you’ve never set boundaries it may come as a surprise to them. Explain to them what boundaries are, why they are important to you and how they will help all your relationships.
  2. You can’t expect them to read your mind. Be clear about your needs, even if you think they should just naturally know. You need to be clear when a boundary has been violated. Communicate this politely. Getting angry when a boundary is violated is completely normal. It’s how you express that anger that is important. Be polite, yet firm.
  3. Keep enforcing your boundaries, even if you have to constantly repeat yourself. Expect and pre-empt that you will feel guilt, which is normal. Make space for it but recognize when you feel shame. That’s something that needs to be reflected on a bit deeper.
  4. You need to respect their boundaries too. Enforcing boundaries is not easy, especially if you’ve never done it before. It’s a skill that takes practice and involves a great deal of emotional work. You may find that they start to guilt-trip you when you set boundaries. Set them, anyway, they will still love you.

You can read more articles by Sanam Naran on Families and Boundaries here.

Disclaimer: This can be helpful to all cultures & families. Not just brown. Should be applied tentatively in abusive families.

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