Gosh, I think you are in a tough situation, but you are right in asking her to establish boundaries. The thing that you may try is explaining to her what you hope can be gained by establishing the boundaries with them. She may just hear criticism and less of the positive possibilities, and therefore feel defensive. Try thinking about what can be gained by these and explaining this to her. Tell me a bit more about your situation so that we can be more specific :)
I havent heard back from you, so if it is okay, I am going to send you some further information with additional links to help you with your situation. I dont want to bombard you with emails so please let me know if you are still interested or you can update me with more information if you would like!
I was looking over some of the questions that I still have on my list. I wanted to go ahead and send you some information. I have some books in my office related to boundaries and one specifically is called, "Boundaries in Marriage." It is by John Cloud and Henry Townsend. They discuss the "Ten Laws of Boundaries" and applying these to marriage.
The Law Of Sowing and Reaping – Actions have consequences. If someone in your life is sowing anger, selfishness, and abuse at you, are you setting boundaries against it? Or do you reciprocate this in some way?
The Law of Responsibility – We are responsible TO each other, not FOR each other.
The Law of Power – We have power over some things, we don’t have power over others (including changing people). We can’t change or fix anyone – but we do have the power to change our own life. However, how you respond to the situations can change the behavior.....
The Law of Respect – If we wish for others to respect our boundaries, we need to respect theirs.
The Law of Motivation – We must be free to say “no” before we can wholeheartedly say “yes”.
The Law of Evaluation – We need to evaluate the pain our boundaries cause others. Or in the case you have described, it could be the lack of boundaries and your wife may need to hear from you how you are hurt.....
The Law of Proactivity – We take action to solve problems based on our values, wants, and needs.
The Law of Envy – We will never get what we want if we focus our boundaries onto what others have.
The Law of Activity – We need to take the initiative to solve our problems rather than being passive.
The Law of Exposure – We need to communicate our boundaries. A boundary that is not communicated is a boundary that is not working. Boundaries are often "invisible" so we have to make sure we discuss what we need from others.
Also, another chapter in this same book is "Resolving Conflict with a Boundary-Resistant Spouse." In this chapter, it talks about helping our partner's establish boundaries so that you help them to understand that you feel compassion for her needs, desires, and hurts also. You will have to demonstrate self control and patience and be willing to be humble in communicating with her what you desire. You may have to let her react, but demonstrate self-control and don't try to be "correcting" in your statements. Try to validate the importance of that relationship but also, express why the relationship can benefit from the boundaries.
She may be resistant to boundaries because she has a "split" in her desires. She may feel indebted for some reason to appeasing them. Make sure she knows how she can rely on you....
I also wanted to send you a few links to look over.
I hope that this is helpful and that you will consider providing a positive rating. Best wishes, Jules
Also, I really like this quote and it could be useful if you mention it to her, "Boundaries are about protecting love, not about changing people, beating them up, punishing them, or showing them their wrongs." When talking to her, make love the goal..... You can say, "When you dismiss my feelings about boundaries, I cant feel the love that I have for you. I feel more disrespected and I don't want to feel that way. I want to feel close to you and fix things because my life with you matters and I want to work on things."