Marja Bergen

author, mental health activist, follower of Christ

14. Healthy relationships with our supporters

Taking control: creating our own boundaries

What can a person like me – a person who sometimes feels rather “small” – do when no boundaries are given?

I wonder how many of you who are reading this feel “small’ like this? Small in your eyes. We too often forget that God does not see us that way at all.

So, as “not-so-small” persons, what part can we play in a relationship when there are no boundaries in place? What can you and I do? You need to believe that you are people like others and have the right to take responsibilities in the same way others do. We too can develop boundaries, using the personal wisdom we all have and can access.

I find it painful to think of people needing to create boundaries to protect themselves from us. Makes me feel like we’re considered individuals to be avoided. Individuals to be kept behind fences. And who wants to be thought of that way?

But there’s no reason we ourselves can’t be the ones doing the protecting. We ourselves can take charge of setting many of the rules and the limits needed for healthy relationships. Think of the improved control we would have over our lives if we did that! Our relationships with supportive friends would be bound to improve. On top of that, I believe we would gain respect. Respect for ourselves and respect from others.

Here are some ideas that could help manage our needs and maintain healthy relationships with our supporters.

  • Create a plan for when you have a crisis. Line up a good friend or family member who will agree to be available. Keep the crisis line phone number handy. They are trained and good to talk to.
  • Instead of leaning on one friend for support, find several who’d be willing to be there for you. Don’t go to the same person each time.
  • Ask about the needs of your supporters. Return kindness for kindness. Pray for them.
  • Do something for others. You’ll find it will boost your spirit and help you forget your problems.
  • Find a good way to limit your emails and phone calls to friends. Keep track in your day timer so you don’t call too often. Be strict with yourself. If this is a problem, think of what you could do to fill the time instead of calling?
  • Be mindful of supporters’ time. Consider their lives and the many things they do. Before approaching them, ask for a few minutes or half an hour and respect what they say.
  • When you meet with someone, don’t spend all the time talking. Listen as well. In fact, making listening a priority would do wonders with friendships.
  • Don’t forget your journal. Great for personal reflection.
  • And, of course, don’t forget God. He’s always there.


NOTE: This is the last post in the series about maintaining healthy relationships with your supporters. I’m sure there’s a lot more to say, but in the next while I want to move on to another topic: A PERSON LIKE ANY OTHER: Believing in Yourself. I hope you’ll come back and join me for that.


  1. Jeannette Hrescak

    January 9, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Your Monday comments are most informative and I do employ them
    as I go about my daily walk with God.
    Thank you for your continued postings. In the meantime, Happy New Year 2018

    Love in Christ

  2. Jeannette Hrescak

    January 9, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    I alway left a comment above

  3. Jeannette Hrescak

    January 9, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    I already left a comment above

  4. marja

    January 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Thank you, Jeannette.

  5. Your writings sure hit head on & are one of many gifts the Lord has given to u! Miss u Marja

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