Posted on June 13, 2016 in Blog
Early relationships often shape of our sense of our ability or rights to set boundaries. Depending on our upbringing and past experience, setting boundaries in current relationships may be easier or more difficult depending on circumstances. Often, if we have had a parent, guardian or other person in our life during childhood who didn’t know how to set boundaries with us we find we are unclear or confused about how to set boundaries in relationships.
Reinforcement from others in social interactions where others benefit from you not have boundaries can also influence your patterns. Lack of strong positive connection can make you feel vulnerable with setting boundaries with an individual. The good news is we can learn how to set boundaries at any stage in our lives and reap the benefits!
With awareness, attention and practice we can learn this skill that is crucial for having healthy relationships. As we grow in this skill we learn when it is the proper time to set a boundary and how to find a balance in setting boundaries so they are not too weak or too strong.
Here are four styles of boundaries defined by Nina Broan, PhD. Which resonates with you?
Soft – A person with soft boundaries merges with other people’s boundaries. Someone with a soft boundary is easily a victim of psychological manipulation. They have little sense of their own feeling s and overwhelmed with a need to be accepted by others.
Spongy – A person with spongy boundaries is like a combination of having soft and rigid boundaries. They permit less emotional contagion than soft boundaries but more than those with rigid. People with spongy boundaries are unsure of what to let in and what to keep out.
Rigid – A person with rigid boundaries is closed or walled off so nobody can get close to him/her either physically or emotionally. This is often the case if someone has been the victim of physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, or sexual abuse. Rigid boundaries can be selective which depend on time, place or circumstances and are usually based on a bad previous experience in a similar situation.
Flexible – Similar to selective rigid boundaries but the person has more control. The person decides what to let in and what to keep out, is resistant to emotional contagion and psychological manipulation, and is difficult to exploit.
Why Don’t We Set Boundaries?
Symptoms of poor boundaries can include weight gain, health issues, emotional extremes, financial problems, and even emotional dysfunction. Finding it difficult to say “No” to ourselves, such as maintain a healthy diet, is an internal boundary issue. Saying “No “ to others, such accepting a drink we don’t want, is an external boundary issue. Both our inner and outer world requires that we be ”the deciders” and set healthy boundaries – other wise others will set our boundaries for us! When we don’t choose for ourselves, we settle for the crumbs of life instead of the cake!
We all desire the affirmation, acceptance and love of other people. However, as long as we deny our inner truth and needs to gain the approval of others we are held captive and are not free. Ultimately we don’t set boundaries because of three things:
Lack of Awareness: We have lived so long at other’s requirements and rules we no longer can access what we truly want.
Low Self Esteem: We believe we cannot have what we need or because we have accepted other’s opinions of us or we have chosen victim point of view.
Fear: Fear of punishment, being judged, or separated from others and ultimately abandoned.
Love Note: Relationships in which we deny our integrity about who we are and what we need creates relationships built on lies. Our true nature is built on Love and Truth. When we see ourselves from Spirit s perspective we see that we are never abandon by GODLOVESPRIT and that when we focus on eternal values of goodness, kindness, and spiritual principles we can step forward setting boundaries with confidence because our path, protected by GODLOVE and SELFLOVE, will lead us to higher and better relationships. Faith in this power greater than ourselves, and keeping our eye on the higher perspective, can give us the courage to set boundaries and allow us the freedom we gain from doing so!
How Boundaries Help Us More Forward. They:
- Clear your path forward by knowing what you need to succeed and change will be honored and protected.
- Allow you to choose for you, unencumbered by false agreements with and manipulation by others.
- Release you from the past by no longer allowing yourself to cater to guilt or the whims of others that keep you from taking care of yourself and living your dreams.
A few signs you need to set a boundary:
- You say no when you mean yes or yes when you mean no.
- Feeling guilty when you do say no.
- Acting against your integrity or values in order to please.
- Not speaking up when you have something to say.
- Adopting another person’s beliefs or ideas so you are accepted.
- Not calling out someone who mistreats you.
- Accepting physical touch or sex when you don’t want it.
- Allowing you to be interrupted or distracted to accommodate another person’s immediate wants or needs.
- Giving too much just to be perceived as useful.
- Becoming overly involved in someone’s problems or difficulties.
- Allowing people to say things to you or in front of you that make you uncomfortable.
- Not defining and communicating your emotional needs in your closest relationships.
Love Note: Whatever you do, don’t compromise your values, integrity, and self- respect simply to keep someone in your life. Your soul, made of Love and Truth, can’t sustain that. It will weaken your spirit and eventually lead to physical symptoms.
Are you suffering from exhaustion, lack of sleep or confusion? It could be you need to set a boundary in order to have the space you need to grow, change, or just be your self.