Connect with others who understand.

sign up Log in
Resources
About DiabetesTeam
Powered By
See answer

How Good Boundaries Make Life With Diabetes Easier

Posted on September 11, 2019

There is an old saying: “Good fences make good neighbors.” Having healthy boundaries in relationships is important for everyone, especially for people with a chronic condition like diabetes. Setting and defending boundaries allows you to protect your physical and mental health and focus on feeling your best while living with type 2 diabetes.

Setting boundaries can be hard. Your friends and family may not be used to you saying no or establishing limits for when and how you are available to them. They may expect you to have the same energy you had before you developed diabetes and symptoms like high blood sugar or neuropathy. No matter what, you are entitled to establish the boundaries you need to maintain your emotional and physical wellbeing. Setting boundaries to take care of yourself does not make you mean or selfish – it helps you focus on what you need to do to care for your diabetes.

Here are a few tips for setting boundaries clearly and compassionately:

  1. Use clear, direct language. For example, “I cannot attend the birthday party” is clearer and more direct than “I’m not sure I’ll be able to attend the birthday party.”
  2. Use “I” language and avoid accusations. For example, “I go to sleep early. I am not able to take calls after 9 p.m.” is less accusing than “You always call late and wake me up!”
  3. Don’t try to justify or over-explain your boundary. “No” is a complete sentence. For example, “I’m not able to take on new obligations right now,” is better than “I can’t drive carpool because having so many kids in the car stresses me out, and stress can cause my diabetes symptoms to worsen.”

After setting boundaries, do not be surprised if you need to defend them. Some people will likely test your boundaries, especially when they are new. Expect some pushback and consider what a good response might be.

Here are some examples of boundary testing and possible responses:

  1. After saying you cannot attend a party, someone attempts to use guilt to pressure you to go. You could explain that diabetes isn’t taking that day off, so you will still be unavailable. You could point out that diabetes feels bad enough without adding guilt, so you don’t feel guilty about saying no to things that will be bad for you.
  2. After setting a boundary of no phone calls after 9 p.m., someone calls at 9:15. You could choose to let the call go to voicemail. You could answer and ask whether the call is about an emergency. If it’s not an emergency, ask them to call back in the morning, wish them a good night, and hang up.
  3. After saying no to one new obligation, you are asked to take on another. You can point out that diabetes is a chronic illness, meaning that it isn’t going away any time soon. Therefore your avoidance of new obligations applies to any new obligations, and if they ask again, the answer will be the same.

After testing your boundaries a few times, most people will understand that they are well-defended and learn to respect them. If you have allies who understand the challenges of diabetes, ask them to help you defend your limits with others. Remember, you don’t need to apologize for setting good boundaries that help you stay healthy, manage your diabetes symptoms, and feel your best while living with diabetes.

Here are some conversations from DiabetesTeam about setting and defending boundaries:

"I am back to work and controlling my diet gets a bit harder. I'm going to try to bring in my own lunch and snacks."

"It's really a struggle living with family members who don't have diabetes and really not having a desire to get healthy."

"I love bread, bagels, english muffins, biscuits, you name it. I can’t stop buying it as there are others in my household."

Have you successfully set boundaries that help you manage diabetes?
What tips would you recommend to help set healthy limits with others?
Share in the comments below or directly on DiabetesTeam.

Posted on September 11, 2019

A DiabetesTeam Member

So true it really takes a lot of discipline and perseverance, it can be applied. It's really up the individual to not get distracted and overcome these challenges. 🤗

posted February 17, 2023
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

We'd love to hear from you! Please share your name and email to post and read comments.

You'll also get the latest articles directly to your inbox.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

Subscribe now to ask your question, get answers, and stay up to date on the latest articles.

Get updates directly to your inbox.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Related Articles

If you have type 2 diabetes and are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it's important to be...

6 Facts About Type 2 Diabetes and Pregnancy

If you have type 2 diabetes and are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it's important to be...
In a recent survey of DiabetesTeam members, respondents discussed the impact diabetes can have on...

Survey: 64 Percent of DiabetesTeam Members Say Diabetes Interferes With Quality of Life

In a recent survey of DiabetesTeam members, respondents discussed the impact diabetes can have on...
Managing hunger when you have diabetes can feel like walking a tightrope. On the one hand, you wa...

Diabetes Hunger: 3 Ways To Manage

Managing hunger when you have diabetes can feel like walking a tightrope. On the one hand, you wa...
Pizza is a favorite meal for young and old alike. Whether it’s a birthday party or the end of a l...

Eating Pizza With Diabetes: 5 Tips

Pizza is a favorite meal for young and old alike. Whether it’s a birthday party or the end of a l...
Living with type 2 diabetes requires you to carefully consider the products you consume, includin...

Cough Medicine and Diabetes: 5 Things To Look For

Living with type 2 diabetes requires you to carefully consider the products you consume, includin...
Have you ever considered donating your blood to a local blood bank? It’s like giving the gift of ...

Can You Donate Blood or Plasma if You Have Diabetes?

Have you ever considered donating your blood to a local blood bank? It’s like giving the gift of ...

Recent Articles

When you’re living with diabetes, you may also experience other medical conditions. For example, ...

Can Type 2 Diabetes Cause Fatty Liver Disease or MASLD?

When you’re living with diabetes, you may also experience other medical conditions. For example, ...
Diabetes can affect your eyes and vision in a few different ways. Two of these conditions — diabe...

Eye Injections for Diabetes Eye Problems: 8 Facts To Know

Diabetes can affect your eyes and vision in a few different ways. Two of these conditions — diabe...
On DiabetesTeam, members frequently discuss eye symptoms like blurry vision and dry eyes. Sometim...

How Does Vision Change as Diabetic Macular Edema Progresses?

On DiabetesTeam, members frequently discuss eye symptoms like blurry vision and dry eyes. Sometim...
MyHealthTeam does not provide health services, and if you need help, we’d strongly encourage you ...

Crisis Resources

MyHealthTeam does not provide health services, and if you need help, we’d strongly encourage you ...
Welcome to DiabetesTeam — the place to connect with others living with diabetes. This video will...

Getting Started on DiabetesTeam (VIDEO)

Welcome to DiabetesTeam — the place to connect with others living with diabetes. This video will...
Diabetic macular edema (DME) can be categorized as center-involved or non-center-involvedCenter-i...

Center-Involved Diabetic Macular Edema vs. Non-Center-Involved: Differences and Management

Diabetic macular edema (DME) can be categorized as center-involved or non-center-involvedCenter-i...
DiabetesTeam My diabetes Team

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close