As you continue down your path of OCD recovery and/or treatment, you will begin to learn that the road is not perfectly linear nor consistent. Everyone’s path and treatment plan is different, and there is no “ideal” timeline. The goal of anyone’s recovery journey is to make OCD symptoms more manageable. Beyond the walls of treatment, there are components like boundaries and interpersonal relationships that can impact experiences around OCD. It’s important to recognize how obsessive-compulsive disorder and personal boundaries can go hand-in-hand to help guide your journey to recovery. 

What are personal boundaries? 

Simply put, personal boundaries are any limits, communications, or guidelines that help us navigate our relationships with ourselves and others in our lives. Boundaries are a way for your needs to be met while still maintaining relationships with others. 

There are already established boundaries in our everyday lives, in the relationships we have with people like teachers/professors, caregivers, therapists, etc. However sometimes boundaries can feel a little bit trickier for relationships between our friends or loved ones. An example of a healthy boundary is you ask your sibling or parent to not look over your shoulder to try to read your phone. Another example could be that one night a week you ask your partner to give you alone time. 

Why are boundaries important? 

Establishing personal boundaries are important to develop and maintain healthy relationships. Some of the many reasons include: 

  • Create better structure 
  • Help you feel safe and secure in your relationships 
  • They challenge OCD or black and white thinking
  • Protect you from over extending, feeling burned out, needs feeling unmet, etc 
  • Establish a sense of self/independence from others 

Ways to set boundaries 

Here are some steps you can take to start setting better boundaries in your recovery journey. 

  • Determine which boundaries need to change or be established 
    • For example: 
      • Communicate your needs with the individuals, including any consequences of breaking boundaries
      • Stand by your boundaries and reevaluate when necessary 

Boundaries for OCD Recovery 

It can feel really hard to keep to boundaries, especially when OCD thinking gets in the way. In fact, it can almost feel wrong to stick to them – but that’s part of dealing with the uncertainty. SomWhen you learn to set better boundaries in your life, you will continue to make strides in your recovery journey. As always you can join an OCDPeers group to hear from others on their experiences with personal boundaries!