Boundaries bring about order in our life, where do I end and you begin? How do I keep myself safe physically? How do I know when my boundaries have been breached?
If you have ever walked away from a conversation, meeting or a visit and felt violated and not understood why then there is a very good chance that your boundaries have been breached.
Here are seven key points to help you understand boundaries:
- It is not my job to fix others. If we have weak boundaries we can often feel with people close to us that we have to sort out all of their problems. Your son asks for money because he can’t pay his rent. A friend continually asks you to collect her child from school, because she is ‘working’ and you know she is taking her time in a coffee shop. Jumping in to help or the inability to say ‘no’ may be a sign that your boundaries could do with a re-think.
- It is OK if others get angry. Anger is a perfectly legitimate emotion, however if you find you are dismissing anger and saying it is OK, then this excusing behaviour can be a warning sign that actually it is not OK.
- It is not my job to take responsibility for others – do you sometimes jump in and take responsibility for other people? Do you find yourself saying, ‘I can do that… ‘‘let me sort that for you..’ lack of boundaries often puts in a place where we take responsibility for others, this is also closely linked to the ‘disease to please’.
- I don’t have to anticipate the needs of others. ‘Oh I will pick up a phone top up card for my daughter’, ‘maybe my neighbour would like me to always sort the bin collection?’ ‘I will make sure I bring in the tea and coffee into the office’. Similar to taking responsibility, we can begin to make assumptions about what others may need or want from us, another example of the disease to please.
- It is my job to make me happy – when we accept that happiness is our job are able to allow other people to have their boundaries too. We begin to accept that we are ultimately responsible for our own happiness. Knowing where we end and the other begins helps us to accept our responsibility to self. Emotional boundaries define the self.
- Nobody has to agree with me – we all have a right to our own opinions, each of us can respect this with clear boundaries. It helps when we own our feelings. ‘when you said this XYZ, I felt..’ Owning our feelings is another indicator of a healthy understanding of self and the boundaries with others.
- I am enough – your ability to know you are enough in any given circumstance will help you to understand your true self. The real authentic you is composed of a complex of ideas, feelings, values, wishes, and perspectives that are duplicated by no other. Emotional boundaries protect this. You are always, always enough.
When we deny our true self through a breakdown of boundaries we know it. How? We feel uncomfortable, a sick feeling in the stomach, we are amazing humans, we have an inner sat nav, it’s called the body and it doesn’t lie.
Agreeing with someone to keep the peace. Engaging in activities that we don’t enjoy, pleasing others at the expense of our needs. Using compulsions to avoid yourself, eating, starving, exercise, work, shopping, spending, TV, gaming. All of these denials eventually chip away at us. We begin to lose ourselves, joy is hard to find, and we get ill.
Often in therapy a client will say ‘I feel lost’. My response is always the same, ‘let’s find you, let’s work together to find the real you’.
Finding the real YOU can be done with a check in on your boundaries.
Talking helps…where would you like to begin?
If you need help or advice, our counsellors at J&P are here to help get you back to health. Contact us to book an appointment, get advice or to find out more.
0151 345 6823 – Office Number firstname.lastname@example.org – Office email