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  • Writer's pictureGail Weiner


I spent most of my life without boundaries

Even though I enjoyed pointing out how others lacked boundaries, I failed to realize that the majority of my relationship problems stemmed from my own lack thereof.

Boundaries are important on both sides of the equation. You may not be able to say no, which is clearly a lack of boundaries on your part, but the person who is constantly asking also lacks boundaries in that they are unable to understand that you cannot keep asking others to do things for you.

Having a lack of boundaries allows others to take advantage of you by playing on your fear of saying no, gaslighting you, or shaming you into doing something. We can grow up in households where people pleasing was something we attempted to do to maintain the equilibrium in the house. These behaviors do not disappear; we recreate these relationships at work and with romantic partners, where we refrain from speaking for fear of being misunderstood or provoking an angry reaction. The person who is abusing continues to abuse as long as they are able to manipulate without any repercussions or consequences. It may make them feel powerful for the first time in their lives or it may be their modus operandi in the way they treat others. Boundaries allow you to identify these red flags as early as possible, stopping them before they cause significant damage.

Lets look at different examples of boundaries:

Emotional boundaries:

We all know that person you meet at a party or a colleague at work who overshares. Within ten minutes of chatting, they begin to tell you about their unhappy childhood and their uncle Bob, who held them too closely at Christmas dinner. It is believed by these people that it is healthy to be heard and that people will admire them for their honesty. Oftentimes, they form relationships based on trauma bonds where they can share their stories with others who have had similar experiences. Their belief is that this is a true connection, that sharing about themselves leads to a closer relationship. At the other end of the spectrum is the listener, the individual who spends hours listening to other people's drama, the friend who is always there as a shoulder to cry on, or the person at the party who does not know when or how to withdraw from a conversation. This is both physically and mentally draining. A listener assumes that people like them because they listen to their problems; they form a bond with them because they care.

Personal Boundaries:

The concept of allowing people to have their own opinions and beliefs encompasses this concept. We often see people ridiculing one another on social media for their opinions, to the point that people are reluctant to disagree. The act of going through someone elses mobile phone or journal is the act of overstepping a personal boundary. It is essential for someone to have a sense of self and of their own space for their own growth and development.

Physical boundaries:

Physical boundaries refer to our ability to respect our bodies and not allow anyone to touch us or force us to engage in activities we feel uncomfortable with.

Historically, women have not been able to exercise full control over their bodies. They have been told how to behave, how many children to have, and that sex must be provided on demand. As a result, we carry this into the next generation and have all experienced uncomfortable situations with a man we date, our partner, a coworker, or inappropriate behavior from an older man as a child. These have often been overlooked or ignored, or we are told that we need to dress differently, avoid getting into uncompromising situations, or to ignore Uncle Bob since we all know how he behaves after a few drinks.

Whenever we ensure that we have healthy physical boundaries in place, we do so for all of the women who have come before us, and for all of the girls that will grow up to be women. In order to communicate to the world that we have rights over our own bodies, we do not need to consent in order to please someone who stands before us.

Please remember that the boundaries go both ways. If you are in a room with someone who is standing too close, putting their hand in places that they should not, they are also exhibiting a lack of boundaries. No one has taught them that another persons body is their own and that they cannot just touch or take whatever they want.

Financial boundaries:

Both giving and receiving money require clearly defined boundaries. Many people give too much in order to feel needed and important. it Most people who give too much financial support do so because they are uncertain if the person will like them without the money. It makes them feel in control over the recipient. There is a lack of self-esteem that is hidden behind monetary wealth. The person who takes the money lacks the belief that they are capable of looking after themselves; they do not think that they are strong or capable of paying for things themselves. Their feelings of weakness and inadequacy lead them to believe that someone else must assist them. People who do not have financial boundaries spend too much on others, with very little emotional benefit, leaving the giver unfulfilled, and taking too much results in the receiver not being able to stand up for themselves, never growing to their full potential.

In co-dependency, an individual loses all boundaries, is obsessed with one person, and will do anything to be with this person although it may mean neglecting their own interests, friends, and family. If their object of affection is not paying attention to them, they become angry and fearful. In addition, the enabler of the codependent lacks emotional boundaries when he or she allows the codependent to become dependent on them emotionally, physically, or financially. Such behavior makes the enabler feel in control, important, and deserving of attention.

Are you able to see how boundaries are at play both with the giver and with the receiver? Understanding our own and others' boundaries (or lack thereof) is important so that we can identify what boundaries we need and when to use them.

Ultra Independents love to construct walls and call them boundaries. The purpose of these walls is to provide a sense of safety. By building these walls we are keeping anything out, which includes friendships and love. It is only in our desperate attempt to stay in control that we keep everything away from us.

Some examples of Ultra Independent Boundaries

· No one will help me

· Its better if I do this alone

· Everyone will hurt me

· No one can be trusted

· Don’t let anyone in

· Keep your emotions to yourself

· If you want the job done than do it yourself

When we establish boundaries, it is challenging for us as well as for the other person because this is a new concept. This will cause the other person to assume that you are being mean to them or don't care about them anymore. Similarly, as I noted, they lack boundaries and must also learn. We have to really look at how much we are prepared to give in order to keep someone around. If the friendship is strong enough, then the other may initially be surprised, but will recognize that this boundary is necessary and they will remain if they wish to. There is a risk of losing them, but in many cases it is better than someone who is not true to the friendship staying in order to gain what they desire.

While it may be uncomfortable for everyone in the beginning, if the bond is strong enough, then the friendship will adapt and endure.

Examples of healthy boundaries.

· It is okay to say No

· I am allowed to change my mind

· It is not my responsibility to make others responsible

· It is not my job to fix other peoples drama

· I am not obliged to pay for another persons bill

· It is not my responsibility to get someone else out of their own debt

· I do not need to fix others

· It is not okay to get angry with me

· It is not okay to insult me

· People must honor my personal space

· I am allowed to have my own opinion

· My body is mine

· No one has the right to physically abuse me

Establishing boundaries requires patience and an understanding of oneself, as well as a great deal of self-love and respect.

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