Set a boundary or change a thought?

Hi Brooke,

Listening to your Boundaries 2.0 episode on the podcast got me thinking, especially with the example you used with your mother wanting to come to all the soccer games. How do you decide when you need to set a boundary vs change your thinking? In the example with your mother, rather than thinking that you need to set a boundary with her, could you not have decided to stick with the alternative thoughts you came up with that went “it’s lovely that my mother wants to come to my son’s game, it’s nice spending time with her…etc”?

How do you decide when to set a boundary versus change your thinking? In my mind, it almost seems like there is no need for boundaries if you change your thinking. What delineates one from the other for you?

I ask this partly because I went through a similar situation with my brother last night and I decided to set a boundary with him, but when I discussed the situation with my mom, she told me it was my thinking that needed to change. (For reference: my brother called me drunk 5 separate times in the middle of the night to drive 2 hours to pick him up and then everytime I started out to get him, he would call me back and yell at me and tell me to turn around and go home. By the 5th call, I told him that I loved him but that his behaviour was not appropriate and that I would not be dropping everything again and that if he asked me to pick him up again, I would say no. He called a 6th time, I said no and he hung up on me. Hence my mother’s comment).

It’s interesting because each of the 5 times I went to help him, I was angry and bitter and resentful and when I set a boundary (lovingly), he ended up being mad initially and then apologizing later. But I wonder, in what situation would changing my thinking from angry, bitter and resentful and going to help him be the right option? When would setting the boundary like I did be the right option?