Can you think of a time when you gave or received an ultimatum? Describe what happened.

I haven’t experienced ultimatums in my relationships or seldomly experienced them I can’t remember them.

If I ever received them they were at school or work and I felt frightened by them. They were given by a person in authority and I acted out of fear and obligation not love.

What could have been said to state a boundary with a consequence instead of an ultimatum?

Say directly that what you are setting is for yourself, to protect yourself, and not to hurt them.

When my father told me they will leave the house if I continue to shout at them, he was expressing consequence and he was doing so not to threaten me. I can still feel the love, sincere love from him even if he said something difficult to hear.

How can you avoid giving ultimatums?

Check tone of voice.

Do not try to limit the other person’s freedom to choose actions. Always give them that freedom.

When giving boundaries always be motivated by love for that person.

Focus on expressing your feelings and needs as clearly as you can. Avoid emphasizing the person’s attitude or bad deed. Focus on the boundary crossed, how it was crossed, and how it made you feel.

How does it feel to accept that you can’t make people do what you want—even when you set boundaries?

Honestly, liberating. It gives you an idea of who they really are as a person and whether it is worth keeping them around. It frees me from the impossible pursuit of changing someone’s feelings or behavior and focusing on my behavior.

Have you experienced setting or receiving boundaries as mean? If so, what do you think made the experience feel unkind?

I can’t remember. Either my friends and loved ones are poor in expressing their boundaries or they expressed it but they didn’t come across as mean.

Can you imagine setting or receiving boundaries as an act of kindness? What would that sound like or what would the situation be?

When we are entering something new, we really appreciate guidelines. This helps us approach uncertainty. We feel helped by these rules (as long as they’re reasonable, of course), not threatened.

Thinking about it now, I guess it would also be kind for us to know our friends’ expectations early on in our relationships.

What would make the difference between a boundary feeling mean and feeling kind?

I think the delivery of boundaries will be kind depending on our motivation. The motivation determines it all. If we feel love for the person and we still want to have this person in our life, we will deliver the boundary kindly. But if we no longer want this person in our life, it will show.

Do not try to limit the other person’s freedom to choose actions.

Think of a time when the fear of being selfish kept you from setting boundaries. Did you consider other people’s needs or wants even if you weren’t able to meet them? Describe what happened.

I hesitated for a long time to put that physical boundary to prevent the neighbor’s dogs from pooping on our front yard. I felt it was selfish as the neighbor’s are freely using the space for their needs. I didn’t want to bother the peace. But the result was that I was feeling more resentful by the day.

On Claire.

I continued helping Claire and loosening my boundaries on her because she was going through something. But I extended my arm too much. I miscalculted the efforts needed to help her. I couldn’t juggle helping her and helping myself. I was going through unemployment, own grief, was writing an essay to be workshoped that triggered my own grief. It was too much.

In the situation you described, what would be the middle ground between selfish and selfless? How would it feel?

I could’ve talked to Tito Jun and say I still want to offer the front yard for when they need it for parking. And Luffy can take a shit there as long not at our doorstep and that take clean it up immediately. I could’ve done this.

On Claire:

Not completely leave her at this tough time but be clear about what you can or cannot do. And set limits to the problems you can concern yourself with.

Try writing your own affirmations for the situation you identified earlier.

It’s healthy, not selfish, for me set the most comfortable limits to when and how I help Claire.

It’s okay to prioritize my own needs.

I’m not responsible for Claire’s feelings.

It’s okay to take all the time I need to process my feelings and set strong boundaries before I re-engage with someone who broke them.

It is healthy to decide to keep my distance from someone who threatens my peace of mind and who crosses my boundaries, which I have articulated.

How will setting boundaries and prioritizing your self-care have a positive impact on your loved ones?

I will model how it is done correctly esp to those who need to learn more of how to do it like Lea.

I could have more time and energy for the right people in my life.

Do you tend to have boundaries that are too rigid or too weak? Describe your boundaries.

I would say both. But right now, I feel like I’m having more trouble with avoiding weak boundaries. I have more issues with resenting people for crossing my boundaries than feeling isolated because I have too rigid boundaries.

Some boundaries I maintain:

  • morning routine as sacred
  • focus on a few projects at a time
  • Prioritize my peace of mind and well-being
  • Protect my sleep
  • Would like to go home when I want
  • Would like my no to be honored
  • Be well or fairly compensated with my services

What kinds of problems have boundaries that are too rigid or too weak caused?


  • inability of others to meet my preferences
  • Reinforced my perfectionism
  • Distanced loved ones


  • overextending myself: too tired
  • Misunderstandings with friends
  • Allowing people to mistreat me
  • feeling resentment to the person violating my boundary
  • Feeling inauthentic

Identify two or three situations where it would be helpful for you to have flexible boundaries.

  1. For the most important people in our lives, for those who have been good, supportive, and we 100% know and sure are good for us and want to keep, we must be willing to bend our boundaries if needed to help and accommodate them when they are really in need.
  2. When a reasonable and nonviolent adjustment could be beneficial to me or my loved ones now or in the future.
  3. When it is my fault that communicating my boundaries was unclear.

Chapter 3

Who modeled healthy boundaries for you? (If you can’t think of anyone that you knew in person, there might be a character from a book or show.) Describe what these boundaries were like.

I honestly can’t think of anyone. I know I got some from my parents. But I didn’t have a perfectly healthy model.

Avoiding people or actions that could give me headache later.

Not really modelled but because they didn’t micromanage us, we were able to build inner lives and discover a relationship with our selves and personal spaces.

There was also a lot of boundary setting at church. I that is where I picked up the idea of a life guided by rules that would prevent you from experiencing certain unwanted consequences and maximize happiness.

Who modeled unhealthy boundaries for you? Describe what these boundaries were like.


  • not taught how to express our needs, preferences correctly
  • Not taught to express contrarian opinion


Did your childhood family have rigid or weak boundaries or a mix of both? Were boundaries and rules consistent or inconsistent, flexible or inflexible, clear or confusing? What was that like for you as a child?

My parents did not micromanage us. They were more of the kind that avoided taking a close intrest in their children. This is unhealthy because they didn’t model how to express our emotions correctly and how to assert ourselves. But somehow, it had some good effect. All of us children were able to develop some measure of solidity and understanding of who we are as individuals. And that became the foundation for articulting our boundaries. We just weren’t able to protect them the right way.

How have the boundary problems in your childhood family made it difficult for you to set boundaries now? Did they impact your communication style, self-esteem, sense of safety, or ability to trust?

Mainly communication

  • I find it difficult to be comfortable with confrontation.
  • It’s not easy to express my dislike to someone.
  • I’m afraid to destroy peace.
  • Instead of being diplomatic and negotiate I resorted to expressing anger in the past.
  • Expressing my boundaries and my needs could be unloving. They sound like ultimatums and threats. They sound like ultimatums and threats.

But because I am unable to communicate my boundaries, my self, the way I want, this has also affected my self-esteem.

It is difficult for me to trust people to respect and protect my boundaries. I develop a tendency to be perfectionist and therefore rigid in my boundary setting today. This tension between a tendency to be rigid and finding a healthy way to be flexible in my boundaries I think is also causing me some problems. Therefore I picked this book up to learn how I could navigate this situation.

Identify your fear. If I set boundaries,

My neighbor will get mad and I will have an awkward stay in this compound.

Identify the underlying belief. I believe

That my neighbor is incapable of maintaining peaceful coexistence and negotiating with me.

Identify the cognitive distortion(s).

  • Discounting the positives
  • Overgeneralizing
  • Mind reading
  • Catastrophizing

Record evidence for or against the underlying belief that you identified in the previous exercise.

Tito Jun cleans up the shit but irregularly. He said sorry in the past. So he is aware of the trouble this is causing us and wants to do good.

He never expressed anger. If I tell it calmly and in the right way, he will understand.

Rewrite your fear as a more accurate and supportive statement.

Some people may get angry when I set boundaries with them. But some people respond favorably well when you make it clear to them what you need and expect from them in a friendly, calm, and peaceful manner.

Have you ever thought that you don’t have the right to set boundaries? That you don’t deserve to be treated with respect? Or that you’re not worth the effort? If so, where do you think these beliefs came from?

I can’t recall feeling this. I was always self-preservative.

Are any of these personal rights difficult for you to accept? Why do you think that is?

None. I agree and accept all of them.

For each personal right, describe how it looks like in your daily life.

  • I have the right to be treated with respect and kindness.
  • I have the right to say no.
  • I have the right to change my mind.
  • I have the right to be physically and emotionally safe.
  • I have the right to have my own thoughts, feelings, values, and beliefs.
  • I have the right to happiness and pleasure.
  • I have the right to rest.
  • I have the right to privacy.
  • I have the right to share or not share my possessions.
  • I have the right to decide what’s best for me.
  • I have the right to distance myself from or end relationships with negative or hurtful people.
  • I have the right to pursue my goals.
  • I have the right to set boundaries.