What are personal boundaries?
Boundaries indicate to others how you would like to be treated and respected within the relationship. It is a way for you to express more understanding with one another.
Because each and every one of us is different, the way we wish to be treated or shown care will vary.
We should not expect others to know what we want without communicating it with them.
It is a mistake to give others the benefit of the doubt. They ‘’know better’’, as they ‘’should know’’ the difference between right and wrong… Big mistake! Especially if you run into people that have toxic personalities and their moral compass is impaired.
bound·ary (noun): something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent.Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Why is it important?
Boundaries within any relationship are needed to maintain a balance of healthy mutuality.
They also help alert and warn us that a relationship might not be healthy for us to keep or to continue.
When boundaries are maintained and followed through, it perpetuates more love, trust, and respect in relationships.
These guidelines are the fundamental foundations of any relationship.
We are all responsible for our own emotions and feelings.
It is our right to show people how we wish to be treated.
Do not be afraid to put distance between those who have trouble accepting or understanding your boundaries.
How to know if you have weak boundaries:
- Others feel that it is okay to repeatedly mistreat you
- The need to save people/ take responsibility for them
- You have people-pleasing tendencies/ trouble saying no when needed
- Giving more than receiving
- You give into other’s unreasonable/unrealistic demands
- Letting others determine how you should dress, talk, think, and act
- As an adult, you are still not allowed to make decisions for yourself
- You feel physically and mentally drained by the people around you
- Pretending like everything is okay when it is not
- You stretch yourself too thin because of other’s needs/ burned out
- Disapproval gives you anxiety/afraid of being viewed as the ‘’bad’’ guy
- You have patterns of being abused, used, or mistreated in your personal relationships
- You resent the people in your life, but find it hard to speak up about your feelings
- Everyone else comes first, you come second
- You let others get away with inappropriate behavior towards you
Can you tell where the lines have been crossed?
What boundaries are needed here?
Boundaries in friendships
Trish and Eva are close friends. Trish recently met a new friend that she admires and respects. They have a lot of things in common and share the same sense of humor.
Trish knows that if Eva met her new friend, then she would like her too.
Eva and Trish’s new friend meet. Eva feels insecure, that she might lose her only close friend to another person.
During the interaction, Eva is rude to both Trish and her new friend. Eva abruptly leaves without saying goodbye to anyone.
The next day Trish calls Eva to ask what happened and to see if there is anything wrong.
Eva tells Trish that she dislikes her new friend and gives Trish an ultimatum of picking either Eva or her new friend.
Boundaries in relationships
Sam and Amy have been dating for 2 years now. In the first year, Sam was a great guy to be around. He was funny, kind, and easygoing.
One day Sam tells Amy that he demands to look through her phone because he suspects her of talking with other guys. She is confused by his accusations and proceeds to give him the phone anyways.
A week later at the grocery store, he accuses her of flirting with the cashier because she made friendly, small talk with the cashier while checking out.
When they get home Sam proceeds to tell her that she acted inappropriately in public causing him to feel humiliated in front of others.
Sam tells Eva that she needs to learn to respect him in public and that he refuses to date, shameless women.
Boundaries at work
Dave is a model employee to his coworkers and at his work place.
He is helpful, experienced, and takes the initiative.
Unfortunately, his boss is quite difficult.
Dave’s boss is demanding, and no amount of effort is ever good enough.
There are times Dave has to bring work home on the weekends and misses out on family time because of his boss’s demands.
Other times Dave is forced to work through lunch breaks and stay extra late at work due to his bosses heavy demands.
When there are important family events, Dave tries to ask off and immediately gets rejected and reprimanded by his boss.
His boss then punishes him with an even heavier workload.
Dave is confused, his other co-workers can ask off when they need. Some coworkers even come in late to work and leave early, yet their workload is not the same as his?
Boundaries with family members
Tina comes from a very strict and controlling family. Her parents only focus on her achievements and little about anything else.
Throughout her childhood, she was told to acquire the best grades and was punished and humiliated when she got anything lower than an A grade.
She couldn’t have friends or dates because they said that would only distract her.
Tina’s parents set a plan of her going to an ivy league school to study and become a doctor.
Secretly, Tina wants to be an artist, her passion is drawing and painting.
She is scared to tell them in fear that she will disappoint her parent or that they will disown her.
When your boundaries are being tested:
Addressed the crossed boundary immediately.
Speak in a way that is clear, precise, and easy to understand so that there is no room for more misunderstandings about the situation.
Depending on what boundaries have crossed we might have to remind them of the consequences if it were to happen again.
Unintentional Mistakes happen, intention starts to set in if the same things occur repeatedly.
If they start to get dramatic or raise the intensity level, walk away.
We don’t need to defend ourselves or feel like we have to take responsibility for others’ inappropriate behavior.
Calmly tell them that we will be ready to talk about this when they have calmed down.
Walk away and leave if they resist changing their inappropriate behavior.
Set consequences for when boundaries are being tested.
Consequences for other people’s inappropriate behavior should be implemented if things go from bad to worst.
People will not take us seriously if what we are saying is just considered empty threats.
Some boundaries should never be crossed.
In this case, we might need to reevaluate the relationship to see if it is worth it to continue or if we need to walk away for good.
Remember if we choose to walk away, it is a decision that we should stick to.