In this episode, we’re joined by Terri Cole, a licensed psychotherapist, global relationship and empowerment expert, and the author of Boundary Boss-The Essential Guide to Talk True, Be Seen and (Finally) Live Free.
I liken this episode to a free therapy session that would otherwise be a 6-month waitlist to get into (and that would be well worth it!). Thousands of people sign up every year to learn from Terri, and we just got straight to the front of the line. She also gave my listeners a free gift. More on that below.
For over two decades, Terri has worked with a diverse group of clients that includes everyone from stay-at-home moms to celebrities and Fortune 500 CEOs. With a powerful gift for making complex psychological concepts accessible and actionable, Terri is on a mission to help her clients and students achieve sustainable change and has inspired over 450,000 people weekly through her blog, social media platforms, signature courses, and popular podcast, The Terri Cole Show.
Join in on the conversation as Terri talks about building up your boundary skills, learning to identify what your boundaries even are, and how to enforce them healthily and effectively with the people around you. Learn how to uncover your own boundary blueprint and show others how to treat you, how to love you, and how to be in a relationship with you. We also talk about how to set boundaries with your long-term partner, splitting emotional labor in your household, and ways to achieve balance and harmony in the boundaries you set.
In this must-listen episode, Terri guides you through the steps of discovering your preferences, limits, desires, and deal breakers. She highlights that boundaries are not about controlling others but rather inviting them to treat us with respect and love.
Drawing on her extensive experience as a psychotherapist, Terri shares her wisdom and insights on the importance of boundaries and how they can contribute to living a happy, healthy life.
- How Terri went from talent agent to psychotherapist [1:27]
- What are boundaries and what is a boundary blueprint? [4:17]
- The physiological costs of self-abandonment [8:13]
- What do I do if my boundaries aren’t being met? [12:54]
- Can boundaries be 50/50 in a relationship? [20:06]
- The dangers of focusing on the “rights” and “wrongs” in your relationships [26:27]
- Setting deal-breakers with your partner [29:50]
- How do I set boundaries with my long-term partner? [31:37]
- The importance of setting your internal boundaries first before setting boundaries with others [34:52]
- The best & worst advice Terri has ever received [37:50]
- Listen in on Apple Podcasts, any podcast platform, or simply click play below:
Get More from Terri Cole:
- Find free resources and more at TerriCole.com
- Get your own copy of Boundary Boss-The Essential Guide to Talk True, Be Seen and (Finally) Live Free at https://boundarybossbook.com/
- Here’s a free gift from Terri for The Elizabeth Rider Show listeners: https://boundaryboss.me/codependency/
Transcript: Terri Cole on Discovering Your Boundary Blueprint and How to Set Healthy Boundaries to Live the Happy, Healthy Life You Deserve
Elizabeth Rider 0:02
Welcome to the Elizabeth rider show where we talk about optimizing health, personal evolution and defining what true wellness means to you. I’m your host Elizabeth rider. I’m a certified health coach, longtime blogger and author of the health habit. On this podcast we dive deep into all things health and well being from physical and mental health, spirituality, relationships, lifestyle choices and personal growth. Each week, I bring you inspiring interviews with guests and thought leaders as well as solo episodes where I share my own experiences and insights. My mission is to give you practical insights, inspiring stories and transformative tools that can help you unlock your full potential and create a life you truly love. I hope this podcast serves as a valuable resource to develop your sustainable habits, mindful living and an overall state of health and happiness. Let’s dive in.
Elizabeth Rider 0:52
Welcome back, everyone to the Elizabeth rider show. We have such a treat for you today. We have my dear friend and boundary boss, Terry Cole. She’s a licensed psychotherapist, she is a relationship expert. And she is my personal go-to when I need to call myself out on my own stuff and get real about relationships. Terry, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for having me. I’m so excited. Terri, we met like a decade ago. I don’t know how long ago it was at a retreat at Gail Larson’s transformational speaking retreat, which was so much fun. And I remember when I met you, I was like, Wow, this woman knows what she’s talking about. Can you back up with us a little bit? Because you were also a talent agent. Is that right? Correct. You have such a cool story. So how did you go from a talent agent to psychotherapist and I mean, you don’t have to name names. But if you want to name names?
Terri Cole 1:49
Well, I was always on a therapeutic journey Personally, myself. So I got into therapy when I was 19. I stopped drinking when I was 21. I got really into self help. So my career was sort of happening over here. But at the same time, I was having this personal evolution going on and having all these realizations. So first, I was a talent agent for regular actors, for commercial actors and that type of thing. And then I became a talent agent for celebrities and supermodels, just negotiating contracts, basically, for a Pantene deal or movie deal, whatever it was.
Terri Cole 2:24
And I feel like I became too healthy to say in that industry, because it’s just not a hotbed of mental health. And I kept trying to change the industry itself, because acting industry is one thing, but then the modeling industry was a whole other ball of wax of toxic dysfunction. I mean, basically, where I kept going to the people who own the places and being like, maybe we could try calling the models, women instead of girls. I mean, they’re not girls, they’re all over, you know, like, I remember Katie Ford, who was running the Ford agency, when I was doing the TV department there. After a while after like my fifth time I was in her office being like, I’m only really concerned about the girls who are living in the models apartment, because the chaperones are all coke addicts, and whatever, you know, and he was like, Derek, do you really want to be in this industry anymore? And I had already finished grad school at that point, I just got sucked back in, somebody was going on maternity leave. And I was like, You’re right. No doubt, correct. I’m, I can’t, like the industry will. If you don’t, you can’t change an industry. It will eventually change you if you don’t leave. And that was my fear. So my own therapeutic process and change and the ability to create a life that I wanted, regardless of the hands that I was dealt in life made me go. Does everyone know that therapy can give you the skills like why isn’t everyone in therapy, and that is what inspired me to want to become a therapist, because at the end of my career as a talent agent, I only cared about getting people into eating disorder clinics and drug treatment clinics and therapy. And I literally didn’t care anymore about the thing I was supposed to be doing. I was like, Yeah, this would probably be a good time to leave.
Elizabeth Rider 4:16
Yeah, that’s amazing. So we’re here to talk about boundaries authentically expressing your preferences, needs and limits so you can live a happy, healthy life you deserve? And can we start off by talking about what is a boundary and defining it as a skill because we’re not born with understanding how to have boundaries. And I think most of us probably did not witness boundaries that we would like to have today.
Terri Cole 4:40
So let’s just look at I want you to think about your own boundaries as your own personal rules of engagement. It’s how we let other people know what’s okay with us and what’s not okay with this. Your boundaries, according to technical are made up with your preferences, your limits, your desires, and your deal breakers, the non negotiables for you in your life. It isn’t enough to just to know what your desired boundaries are. So preferences limits, deal breakers, you have to know and have the ability to transparently communicate them when you so choose. So you can see where all the inherent problems are there. I’ve been a therapist for 25 years, I can tell you so many people who come into my office don’t even know their preferences there. Like my preference is to just not have any problems. I don’t want any conflict. I don’t wanna have to confront anybody. Can that be my preference? And like, I mean, it could be but not really, I think we should start Elizabeth and why don’t we know? Let’s just start with that. Because I feel like there’s a lot of self recrimination and feeling bad about ourselves, like, my clients would be like, Am I just weak? My just stupid? How am I in this situation again, and you’re not weak or stupid? All of us were raised in praise to be self abandoning codependence? Yes, that’s what we learned. So nobody was there saying, hey, assert how you really feel. If I won’t like it. Right? We were raised to be good girls. Turn that frown around. They don’t have anything nice to say. Don’t say it at all. Exactly. So nobody was encouraging, at least not in my life. And I’ve been teaching this for many years. And I’ve had a course for many years. And I wrote a book about it two years ago, nobody said to me, oh, yeah, I totally learned that in school, I learned how to have boundaries at home, we are so profoundly impact what I refer to as your downloaded boundary blueprint. So this is in your unconscious mind. And it is how we learn to relate to boundaries, what we think about them, it’s the country you grew up in the culture, the family norms, the society, the gender, all all of those things come together, and they create the way that you relate in the world, when it comes to boundaries. And most people don’t realize that this is a paradigm in your unconscious mind, sort of think of it like an architectural blueprint for a house that someone else designed, like, decades, maybe even longer ago. And if that goes unexamined, or on observed or unknown, then we just do what comes naturally to us. It’s modeled behavior, like what we’ve seen. So if you were raised by, let’s say, a maternal impactor, who was a people pleaser, you’re like, Okay, there’s the instruction book of how to be in the world right there. When it comes to my boundaries. It’s more important that others are happy, or approve of what I’m doing, then how I feel that’s
Elizabeth Rider 7:37
amazing. I just thought of, you know, when you sent that about, can my preferences just be to not have any, I think it’s the comedian George Lopez, he says, he got so mad, you know, the, this man got so mad going to the doctor, because yesterday he didn’t have cancer. And today, he has cancer. You know, the doctor told him he has cancer, but he didn’t have cancer yesterday. So that’s what I think about going to therapy as well, I didn’t have any problems yesterday. But now I’ve gone to therapy, and I apparently have all of these problems. However, they were always there. And when you can start to unpack them with the tools like what what you teach with having boundaries, that makes such a huge difference, obviously, in your your overall wellness. But I talk a lot about physical health, and I you know, think we can have all the green juice we want. We can do the exercise programs, we can do all the physical stuff, but until we start to heal the inner things, what’s going on emotionally and mentally. And that blueprint that is inside of us, all of that other stuff isn’t going to amount to what we want in our
Terri Cole 8:33
true health. No, because the thing is our internal life, our internal boundaries, how we relate to ourselves how much we’re self abandoning, those things have a physiological cost. So it isn’t like you can just avoid conflict or not saying anything, as Cheryl Richardson would say, when we don’t say anything to keep the peace we start a war within ourselves. So what happens to us biologically, physically, when we start a war, well, cortisol, adrenaline, you know, we’re in fight flight, freeze fawn, this feeling very threatened state. Now, again, this is a physiological state that happens you don’t have control over that you can’t be like nobody you don’t respond, if you are feeling threatened. So part of the process of learning to be more fluent in the language of boundaries, is that you desensitize yourself to the fear of speaking up to the fear of talking true, as I call it in the book, where in the beginning, it’s so scary, you’re like, I’m gonna have that conversation with Betty, I’m gonna We’re Bob from accounting or whoever the hell it is. And I think that it makes sense that we start with lower priority folks. So maybe not your parents or your partner. Maybe they shouldn’t be the first people that we’re trying this out with. Where when you start to really recognize and understand that your preferences, your desires, your limits, and your deal breakers matter, right, what you think how you feel and what you want. That must matter to you more than what anyone else wants, thinks and feels. So the beginning process of teaching any group or anybody about boundaries, is we do a deep dive internally. Because you really have to work on your relationship with yourself, if you have a sort of low level of self worth or self esteem, because being willing to self abandon. Listen, we’re all team players, right? There’s nothing wrong with one, we take one for the team sometimes. But I feel like when we have very disordered boundaries, we’re taking one for the team, quote unquote, too much. And that’s not even what we’re doing. That’s what we tell ourselves what we’re doing. But what we’re really doing is avoiding conflict. But what we’re really doing is avoiding a confrontation. Because we’re so afraid of rejection, we’re so afraid of disapproval, we’re so afraid of being humiliated. And yet, you’re really, really not that fragile. Like, we’ve all right, we’ve all been embarrassed or humiliated in life. If you set a boundary with someone, if you say, Hey, I’d like to make a simple request that you let me know if you’re going to be late, so that I’m not sitting around like an idiot waiting for you. Right? That’s, I mean, maybe you don’t have to say that sarcastic part at the end. But I feel like that’s a perfectly legitimate request. If the other person says yes, great. If they do it, great. If they say, No, you’re not my mother, I don’t need to let you know about my comings and goings, you are still better. For having made the request your boundary requests and limits and expressing those things. Your healing is in that actual process of doing it. So boundaries are not a lever of control, to make other people do what we want. It is a way that we invite people to show people how to treat us how to love us how to be in a relationship with us. And if what is revealed, you know, Elizabeth, in that interaction, if what is revealed is the person’s limitation, their unwillingness to compromise their lack of emotional IQ. That’s okay. That’s all data for us to make decisions with. Yes, but it doesn’t mean that saying it is a mistake, you know?
Elizabeth Rider 12:54
Yeah, I think I got that question from one of our listeners, actually, I’m glad that this went this way. I think for a lot of people. The question is, once I’ve expressed my boundaries, but let’s say the person I’ve been married to for five years, or 10 years or 20 years, said that they’re not okay with that, or that they’re not willing to live within that boundary. I love that you said your healing is in the expression of it. It’s not a lover to control. What are some things? Is this where you would you know, guide someone to what are your deal breakers like? Or is this just something do we learn to live with? You know, not all of our boundaries are going to be perfectly met. What do you tell someone? When they’re saying, Well, I’m, I’m expressing my boundaries, but I’m feel like I’m not getting the same thing in return?
Terri Cole 13:34
I think it depends on the length. Not all boundaries are made equal. Yeah. So if something is a preference for me, and my husband says, I’d rather not do that. That’s not a big deal. Because we compromise all the time. If he’s like, I don’t really feel like having Japanese tonight, even though he would literally be so easy to go any further than ever say that, but let’s just say he did. Right? That wouldn’t be a deal breaker. Because it’s not a deal breaker. When I was dating, I was used this example because it’s true. When I was dating back in the day, I was already in recovering from alcohol. And I said to my friends, hey, I don’t want to date anyone else in recovery, though. And but one of my friends was like, why I’m like, because one addict in a relationship is enough. And it can only be me like, I that’s just my choice. And with anybody’s deal breaker, anybody’s preference, anyone’s desire, that is your right to have that. And I didn’t even need to give context to my friend, although I did because she was nice enough to try to set me up with people. You know, for me, I just don’t feel comfortable. I’m not just because she was like, What are you judging people in recovery? I was like, No, you idiot. I’m just saying there’s not enough room. Like I’d be too preoccupied with the other person’s recovery, if I was in a relationship with someone in recovery, and that is my right to have that as a preference or a deal breaker. So I think that what When we’re talking about relationships, and we have differing or conflicting boundary needs or desires, we have to make the decision about how important it is to us. And you have to have, hopefully you’re in a relationship where there’s cooperation, right compatibility, like in my marriage, we want to figure out whatever the thing is, together, it’s not a lot of, right, wrong, I’m trying to dominate you, you’re trying to dominate me, it’s like, how can we meet in the middle, they’re gonna have a thing that we do that if he wants me to do something, but it’s something I kind of don’t want to do? We have a scale of one to 10, how important is it to you for me to do it? And if it’s like an eight, that to me, 789 10 for if he ever says that, then I’m doing whatever the thing is, because that’s important to him. But we’re both generous and honest. If it’s something he doesn’t care, if I don’t go with him, he’ll say, oh, no, it’s like a five, I don’t even care. It’s if you don’t want to do it, turn over them. I say thank you, and I don’t do whatever that thing is. But you use that requires a certain amount of trust, that they’re not going to say that everything they want you to do is a nine, right? Right, there has to be trust. So I think that the person who is setting making the boundary request has to decide beforehand, which is why I always talk about having proactive boundary success plans, were just going into it cold, especially if you have not been a very active boundary setter in your life, probably won’t yield the best results. The best results come from, you know, the players in your life. You know, if your mother is difficult, you know, if your sister is a control freak, you know, if your partner is defensive as hell, like you know these things. And so we make all these choices about how we approach someone based on what we already know of them. If your partner is not a morning person, you’re not going to be like we need to talk at 6am before they have their coffee, because you’re setting yourself up to fail. So we make we make all the the decisions about when we’re going to talk to someone, but we also get the script together, like what are we going to say? What do we really want? Because a lot of times my clients will be like, I told him, he’s got to be more sensitive. And I’m like, okay, that’s super non helpful. I don’t even know what you mean, by that. Right? We have to be specific about what it is that we’re seeking, I would always say to my clients come up with an example of what was insensitive or something that hurt your feelings, and you would like to not have that experience again, or give him positive, or them positive examples of things that they could do. That would make you feel more seen, heard, understood, or whatever. If we just speak in broad strokes, we’re making this assumption that other people can read our minds, and they can’t. So anyway, that was a long way around the barn. I think I answered the question.
Elizabeth Rider 18:05
Yeah, absolutely. And I love there’s two things there. One, I love that you gave us this language, like a scale to us. How important is this to you on a scale of one to 10? Because it makes both of you think, in any relationship, whether it’s your significant other your, you know, sibling, a parent, child, whatever it is, and it makes you ask the question to help set your boundary but then they can answer honestly. And if the answer honestly, I agree, there needs to be this level of I want to cooperate in this. If it’s a 10. For you, honey, I’m going if it’s a two for you, thank you. I’m staying home. I love that. Yep.
Terri Cole 18:39
Because here’s the thing about that. I may not be interested in let’s say, classical music, but that is very interested in I see a ton of classical music, love. But the thing is, I’m really interested in Vic. I’m interested in his happiness. I’m interested in him. And so I’m not doing it. No, it’s not me being like, I don’t like classical music, when I know he loves it. And he still wants me to go with him. So then I go, You know what I mean? It’s about it’s about the person as opposed to sometimes we do, quote unquote, take one for the team. But I’m really not. Because it’s for the marriage. It’s for our closeness, you know?
Elizabeth Rider 19:22
Absolutely. And I want to let everyone know, I met Terry, I mentioned this earlier over a decade ago, and then I met you with Vic, a few years later at a friend’s wedding and we were staying at the same hotel and I hopped in the car with you guys to get a ride to the ceremony. And I remember thinking I whatever marriage I have in the future and whatever my life looks like I want it to look like this the ease at which with the you two are together is so beautiful, like so authentically beautiful. And the way you communicate it’s just you guys really are, you know couple goals and such an inspiration. So thank you for that because what you teach You to me are the women who I really want to learn this from. So thank you. It’s so thanks. Beautiful. I also want to mention, so something else that you just said, I think sometimes people start to feel, especially if they’re having relationship conflict like that they want their boundaries to be 5050. Like, why did that for you? So you need to do this for me. And I love that you said that boundaries are not, you know, a control lover, but what can we do like is can you speak to that have boundaries being 5050? Or not? 5050? Or how do we, if we really feel like this other person is maybe not meeting us where we are boundaries are? How do we do we make a decision to change a relationship? What do we what’s the next step from that?
Terri Cole 20:40
It depends on how egregious sort of the boundary violations are, or the lack of balance, there is because you know, we see this a lot with emotional labor, where you lose a lot, and it’s most of the time is very traditionally, the wife is doing more of the you know, in a, we would say a stereotypical gender situation, where the wife is doing more of the keeping the household running work, and more of the chores. And I mean, there’s statistics out there that are so depressing that working women now today are doing more chores and work at home than stay at home. Women were doing in the 1970s. Wow, that’s a statistic that is true. And I was like, wow, that is so friggin depressing. But okay. So I think that you have to look at it, because a lot of times people are coming and saying I’m really resentful that my partner is not. Pitt doesn’t pitch in more at home and feels like, they just need to make the money. And that’s it, because I’m also working. And I’m also making money. And so I think that, you know, there was this great article in Marie Claire a bunch of years ago, that that was really the first time I was exposed to the idea of emotional labor. And the woman both of these people in the marriage were, what were they they both have, like fancy jobs, like they’re both engineers. And she, the husband was working from home that day. And she was at work. And he was texting her saying, Can you text the dog walker? To tell her we don’t need her to come today? And then she just had an epiphany. She was like, Why the hell am I like, basically, the producer of our entire life? Why does he not know the dog walkers number? You know, like, and so I mean, she, she figured it out for that day. But then she came home. And on her next day off, she took a whiteboard. And she actually wrote down every single solitary thing that she does, to keep the both of their life together afloat, from shopping to food prep to kids to teach her presents at the end of the year to all the things to dog walker. And he came home and saw everything on the whiteboard. And she was like, here’s the thing. I, here’s the things you do. And he had his things, too, which was a very small list. And here’s all the things I do. And I want you to pick half of what I’m doing. And take it over. And at first he was resistant. And then she’s like, he’s an engineer. So it was in black and white. And he was like, damn, okay, that’s not fair. All right. So now I’m not saying everyone, everyone’s partner would respond well to that, or that they can even do that. But I think you have to know it for yourself, you have to be clear about what is frustrating you, you are over giving over functioning, overdoing, and then feeling super resentful. Now, sometimes you’ll find out that your partner has no idea how you feel about it. And they don’t know what it takes. No one does, unless you tell them. It’s like writing a book. If you haven’t written a book, you have no idea what it is like to write a book, it sounds like it’s friggin easy. It’s not. And this is the same thing, where more transparency around what is needed. And I know what you’re saying with the sort of the tip for tat, but I feel like been counting in relationships is not healthy. Now we want equity. Right? But when someone throws in your face, what they did for you that I can’t imagine that that ever necessarily makes the other person want to reciprocate. It’s coming right? It’s coming from more of the point of view of I want there to be more equity, let’s talk about it. Or at I don’t know what the person who wrote into what their boundary issue actually was. But you need to meet in the middle and sometimes it’s just naming it what it is. Okay, so let’s just make up a fake example. So, let’s say when in because this is a very common example, when couples fight. Sometimes one person He needs to figure it out right then and there, and the other person needs a little bit of space. I want time away, I want to think about it. So now we have conflicting needs, the person who needs to figure it out right away is super anxious. If this person, the other person needs to go away for two hours, or until tonight or until tomorrow morning, or whatever the thing is, this is something that because we have conflicting needs, there has to be a conversation where both needs are considered where you go, okay, so we find ourselves in a conundrum, you’re not wrong for needing space. I’m not wrong, for wanting to get it over with, so to speak, because of my anxiety. So can we agree that after a conflict, we will come back within two hours that two hours will be the if it’s physically possible, right? If we’re not at work or something? Can we make an agreement? So part of it is negotiating for your needs, but with both of you taking the other into consideration, because what ends up happening a lot is it’s it’s a right or wrong thing. Like, oh, you need time, you’re just avoiding, oh, you need to do it right now. You’re just controlling, right. And both are being triggered. And we’re in a, you know, heightened state of emotionality. At that moment,
Elizabeth Rider 26:18
you know, yeah, the right and wrong thing. That’s, I feel like that hits deep for me, certainly. And that probably hits deep for a lot of people who find themselves in conflict. And I think, is that something do you think we just were taught in society that someone’s writing someone’s wrong or what where does that come from? Is that just unhealed trauma is that unhealed boundaries? Like what is the how do we shift from someone has to be right here and someone has to be wrong here? Or is it true? Sometimes someone’s right and someone’s wrong?
Terri Cole 26:45
I mean, here’s the thing, looking at a relationship to that lens where anything is very short sighted. It’s looking at it in a very two dimensional black and white way. Listen, are there things that are definitely wrong? Sure. There are, right. But if we are actually trying to problem solve in a relational way, we, with someone we love, we actually need to care about their experience, we actually need to get to know our person, like what our I know, my husband’s emotional triggers. I know that the night before we travel, even though he’s traveled all over the world, he probably won’t sleep, he’s going to be incredibly anxious, he’s going to still forget something that we will have to have my sister FedEx to us, wherever we are, like, I know this about him. Yep. In the beginning, I’d be like, this is the weird, like, what the hell’s wrong with this guy, like, I don’t get it. I wouldn’t act that way to him. But I used to almost feel compelled to stay up with him or whatever he would never ask me to. But I mean, 25 years later, I just know, this is how it is for him. When he travels no matter what. So I’m just gonna leave him the hell alone. And I’m still going to bed when I’m going to get two hours of sleep, because tomorrow is gonna be rough if he doesn’t, but like, I accept that this is the way he is. And I have all of my own peculiar or neurotic ways of being in our life. And so there has to be some consideration. I think a conversation about emotional triggers are the things that bother us the most, about what or hurt our feelings the most about what the other is doing, can be really helpful. Because when you really think about it, even if you’re mad, do you want to hurt your person? Like I really don’t, even when I’m at, like, it doesn’t take any rocket scientist, to say the meanest thing that you can think of to the person that you’re closest to in the world. It is so lazy and pedestrian and such bullshit. I would highly recommend not doing it. Because you cannot unring that bell. Yeah, right. You can say I was just angry. I’m sorry about that. No, no. Those words that you said they last. So be mindful because words have wings, but they’re also weapons. And it’s important. You know, when people are like, well, we just fight and then we say mean things we don’t I’m like, okay, fix that. Like let’s have some fair fighting rules in the relationship, because neither one of you has the power to not have it do the damage that it will do to the relationship.
Elizabeth Rider 29:48
Absolutely. I had a conversation with my fiance very early on and it was easy because we were both divorced and had gone through our own therapy before we met. And it was at a very calm On stage, we were not in a fight. And I said, I need to let you know that I’m not willing to fight and shout, and scream back and forth. And what I’m definitely not willing to do is threaten. And just and he had never done this, I was like, and this isn’t this isn’t me threatening you, this is just being very clear about one of my boundaries. If you ever threaten to leave, or to end this relationship, not leave the room, but you know, and the relationship abruptly, I will take you up on that threat immediately. I’m not going to be in a relationship where we constantly threaten each other that the relationship is over. Because I had been in a relationship like that before and it was torture. For a long time, it said, Thank you for telling me. And we have never once been in a shouting match, and never once threatened to end the relationship. Abruptly
Terri Cole 30:46
amazing when you have that’s called setting proactive boundaries. Yeah. And letting the person know. It’s funny. I did a show with Lisa, Bill, you do you know her, she has women of impact on her show. She was talking about Tom and she was saying, I told him to deal breakers, if you ever lay a hand on me. Or if you ever step out of the marriage, have you ever cheat. And he had never done either one of those things. But it’s so smart to be like, this is a real deal breaker, like I won’t be able to come back from that either one of those things, and he wasn’t offended. And he wasn’t like, like, just like, your guy wasn’t right. Like, why are you saying that? I didn’t do anything. He said exactly what your fiance said, thanks for letting me know. I had no intention of doing either one of those things ever. But I appreciate you telling me.
Elizabeth Rider 31:37
Yeah. And it’s easier to have those conversations early on. And obviously, when things are calm, but many people will find themselves in situations where maybe they’ve been in a relationship for a long time, and they’ve never set those boundaries. Or maybe they didn’t realize that those were their boundaries at the time, or maybe they’ve changed or grown and developed into new ways. Do you have any recommendations? Because a lot of the people in this audience have been in relationships for a long time? How can we introduce that to a long term relationship? Is there you know, a specific way to do that? Or is it just, you know, having the courage to say, hey, we need to talk?
Terri Cole 32:16
Well, I never suggested we say we need to talk because nobody wants to talk when you do. That’s right. I think that there’s a lot of people in my my world as well who are in long term relationships. So how do we change these long established boundary dances? That’s the question. Well, first of all, the expect to get some pushback, you’re not that fragile, you will be okay. And expect to have to say, you will most likely have to repeat the boundary request more than once. And you maybe you will need to have a conversation. But let’s just say you’re the person who always and we’ll make it just simple. Like, maybe you did all the cooking. And maybe you don’t feel like doing that anymore. And your partner is capable of cooking just doesn’t because you’ve been doing it. You could say hey, I actually would really love it if you would take over some of the cooking duties that if we could just split the week in half, that would be great. I’ve been doing it nonstop for 15 years. And I gotta say I’m tired of doing it. I’m bored of figuring it out. Like I mean, of course, I go to Elizabeth rider site all the time to get ideas and great, that’s helpful. But it would be more helpful. If you would pitch in or whatever. The your person may say. Yes. And your person may say no. Right? And so if they say no, then you can say okay, well, what I’m willing to do is I’m willing to cook three nights a week, which means on the other nights, we’re going to be ordering in, like there’s other, there’s other ways of getting around it. But you can make a simple request that they help. Or maybe they take the weekends or whatever it is, you need to compromise. And so if I find that it’s helpful to acknowledge, like, if someone says, Well, what changed? Why now and you could say, well, for years, I was willing to cook every night and I enjoyed it most of the time. I know I’m no longer though, willing to do that. I feel like I’ve done I’ve done my time. We had little kids. That’s why part of why I was doing it. So now that’s why. Right? And that’s providing context, not convincing them that you have a right or to change your mind about something
Elizabeth Rider 34:32
or justification. Sometimes people simply need context and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Terri Cole 34:37
Yes, but you don’t need to write a dissertation.
Elizabeth Rider 34:41
Thank you for that reminder. Yes,
Terri Cole 34:44
because it’s easy to want to end even with nose so you know sometimes no is just a complete sentence. You know what I mean?
Elizabeth Rider 34:51
Before we go a question that has come up a lot, do boundaries come with ourselves first before we can have boundaries with other people or other people And then ourselves? Or is it really dependent on the individual,
Terri Cole 35:02
I have to say your internal boundaries, how you relate to yourself, you can do it in sort of either order, but it’s more powerful and will stick more. If you have figured out your relationship with yourself, meaning you become someone who you can count on. When we have disordered internal boundaries, we may over commit, we may fall short on the things we say we’re going to do for ourselves. Because a lot of times we’re busy doing things for others. So I think that the internal boundaries when you start to become more solid, where you become someone who can keep your word to yourself, and keep your word to others, because keep in mind when you’re a people pleaser. You’re not keeping your word to others. You’re if you’re saying yes, when you want to say no, under the guise of being nice, quote, unquote, that Chit is not nice. That is dishonest. And it’s misleading the people in our lives and don’t think that people don’t know what if you’re a people pleaser. And you like bail at the last minute or you suddenly get a migraine in the morning of because you committed to some shit you do not want to do. People know it. I have people pleasers in my life. I love them. But I know I don’t count on them though. You know why? Because people pleasers are not emotionally trustworthy people.
Elizabeth Rider 36:21
So if you find yourself being a people pleaser, my recommendation would be to go to Terry cole.com. Read everything that Terry Cole has ever done. Get her book boundary boss. But for real for everyone. I think that Terry’s book is a fantastic place to start interior. I think you mentioned sometime in the future, you have a workbook coming out that can actually help people work through some of this because not everybody obviously has direct access to Terry cool.
Terri Cole 36:47
That is correct. I do have a workbook coming out at the end of October. And it is the boundary boss workbook, but I also have a gift for your audience.
Elizabeth Rider 36:56
Yes, please, please give us the gifts. Yes, so
Terri Cole 36:59
you can get it at boundaryboss.me/ER for Elizabeth rider. And this is actually a it’s a lesson like a video and a PDF on codependency because it is so directly related to disorder boundaries, and I feel like it’ll help people understand where they are on their own journey boundary wise.
Elizabeth Rider 37:20
Oh my god, we will record a whole second episode in the future about codependency because we are out of time today. I could talk to Terry forever. We’ll do a codependency episode in the future because everyone I was one of these was like, obviously, I’m not codependent. I don’t even really know what that means. But I’m obviously not that. Then I learned what codependent actually means. And I was like, oh, I need to make some changes in my life. So oops, that’s me. I’m the problem. It’s me the Taylor Swift thing. I’m the problem. Terry, I end everything with asking all of my guests in either order. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? And what is the worst advice you’ve ever received? If there’s one piece that was both or if you can think of either of those things?
Terri Cole 38:05
The worst advice was to lie about my age when I was dating, which I didn’t do, but I was like, hey, stop projecting your agent security onto me, please. So I thought that was really crappy advice. The best advice my mother has given me so much good advice in my life. Alright, maybe the best advice from Jenny Cole is stop saying no. When people are trying to do nice things for you. Stop turning down help and stop being so particular about the way everything has to be. Because if you don’t, those offers will stop coming. And you will end up like me doing everything for yourself by yourself.
Elizabeth Rider 38:45
Oh, wow. Beautiful advice from Terry’s Mom, thank you for that. We will link everything that we talked about here. In the show notes. Go get that free gift that Terry is giving us that’s so generous. Terry, thank you for being here. Come back any time. I love you so much.
Terri Cole 39:00
Thank you for having me. I love you, too.
Elizabeth Rider 39:02
All right, everyone. I’ll talk to you next week. Thank you so much for joining me on today’s episode of the Elizabeth rider show. I hope you caught something today that helped you uplevel your mind, body and or health. If you want more episodes, insider notes, recipes and resources, then make sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter over at ElizabethRider.com/list. Or simply go to the website and hit the subscribe button and enter your email address. Thanks for being here. I’ll talk to you next time.