My Boundaries Turned into Walls


Wikipedia defines Claustrophobia as “the fear of being enclosed in a small space or room and unable to escape.”

Boundaries are meant to make us feel safe but they can often close us off in ways that make us feel trapped. The walls we put up to protect ourselves can start to look like they are closing in on us.

I have set some really strong boundaries with my family that I am not budging on and there have been repercussions.

I do not know how my mom has been doing the past few weeks. I haven’t seen my family since the holidays. I can’t answer the question “How’s the family?” because I don’t know. It makes me feel lonely, selfish, and a little scared.

Don’t get me wrong, setting these boundaries with my family has been freeing at the same time. I am not basing my day around if my mom is sober or not. I am not feeling responsible for her or their well-being. I have let go of the “ball and chain” that I felt her alcoholism was for me.


I also feel like I am not needed. Even though it is completely wonderful to not be responsible for taking care of my family, it was nice to be needed. I had an important role. They depended on me. I felt…special? Does that make me insane? Maybe. Who is normal these days anyway??

As I continue down this path of letting go of taking care of my mom and shaking the guilt off that I know I don’t deserve to feel, I am going to make mistakes. The topic of Boundaries is my favorite subject because it is something that everyone who loves someone struggling with addiction has to adjust, break down, and rebuild.

I hope that wherever you are in your journey, whether you have no boundaries, boundaries made of steel, or somewhere in the middle, I hope you know that we are not supposed to be perfect at this. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Move on. AND love yourself every step of the way.

Thank you for reading! If you would like to read more, please subscribe. You can find me on Facebook @ Grumpy Sunshine, Twitter @grumpysunshine4 and Instagram @grumpy.sunshineblog

-Grumpy Sunshine



10 Replies to “My Boundaries Turned into Walls”

  1. Working on setting boundaries myself which I never have done in my past. It’s hard with certain people, I just keep trying.

    1. Keep at it! It is challenging but worth it!

  2. Hi Grumpy, I’m so glad that you have put up those strong boundaries. I’s not unusual for “normal” families to go for extended periods of time without communication. But for a family who is hog tied together by the rope of addiction it’s a huge deal. I think the longest I went without talking to my parents was 3 weeks. I was so racked with guilt thinking I get up one morning to read the headlines that something horrible had happen to them and they couldn’t locate the next of kin. Meanwhile they were perfectly fine cocooned in their little snare of addiction and codependency. They liked to bring up the fact that I was the selfish self serving one- for years after. In the words of one of my favourite musicians, Tom Petty, “Don’t back down.” Whom, btw was also an ACOA. You’ll now have that tune stuck in your head for the rest of the day. lol You’re welcome. 😉

    1. I did not know that about Tom Petty! The guilt is definitely real but it does feel more freeing each day. Thanks for your response!

  3. Sounds like many and many an AlAnon meeting I’ve been! Before we learn, it’s easy to cast(igate) the alcoholic as the selfish one and cast ourselves in the role of the long suffering martyr/the heroic one. It’s a tough role to give up. Stay strong and fill the times you would’ve spent playing hero doing some nice self care. Yoga. Make yourself a glass of iced tea and look at the clouds awhile. Take time to read a book you’ve meant to read.

    May I say that your writing gets better and better?

    1. Self care is huge! Trying to put that first more each week and thank you for the kind words! I always enjoy hearing from you!

  4. Been down this road and back a million times..I relate..

    1. The rollercoaster of guilt hopefully slows down with time

  5. How do you set boundaries and not feel guilty? I’m struggling with this right now. My elderly father is a recovering alcoholic. My mom passed over 20 years ago. My sister passed over a year ago. Even though Dad has remarried, sometimes I get the feeling that he thinks I’m all he has left. He gets upset if we don’t talk or see each other once a week. And seriously, I have forgiven him for my crappy childhood. I do love him. But I just don’t feel the need to talk every week. I have to yell because he is hard of hearing. And also it’s just plain uncomfortable because I have nothing to say. And yet, I feel guilty when he makes comments about not getting to see me much. And here comes the bad part, because I think to myself that it didn’t matter whether or not he saw me when he passed out all of the time, or living in another state, supposedly working, all while I was a child that needed my parents. Do we ever get over this?

    1. I feel guilty when I’m angry with my mom when she’s doing well. I feel like I should be grateful for the peace. But we were hurt. We saw our parents use bad ways of coping and we had to figure out how to cope without a good role model. I feel guilty all the time. Some days it’s easier than others. I just always constantly remind myself it is not my job to make someone else happy. It’s my job to make me happy. Don’t feel bad. You aren’t alone.

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