Every time we impose our will on another, it is an act of violence ~ Ghandi
Boundaries are non-negotiable limits that you set in order to maintain your personal sense of safety and well-being. They are statements of what you will and will not accept in your life. You and no one else is the enforcer of those boundaries, even if it causes upset or conflict with another.
In normal relationships, healthy boundaries clearly express where you end and the other person begins. Your boundaries give you permission to say no, yes and have a conscious discussion of compromises in any given situation. The problem arises when interactions with others become complicated through unhealthy behaviours that cross your boundaries.
Is someone in your life breaking your boundaries?
In relationships, it is often difficult to discern that the other has crossed a boundary. Here are a few clues that indicate boundary invasion:
- you are made to feel guilty and ashamed if you put yourself first
- you allow others to make you feel bad if you say no
- you feel unworthy and less than the other in your relationship
- you tend to accept blame for wrong-doing even when it is not your fault
- you allow friends to drop by unexpectedly and occupy your time without permission
- others in your life disturb your inner peace, cause turmoil, make impossible demands on you and/or pull you away from alone time
- you agree to complete tasks that others could do easily but you comply anyway
- your choices and needs are ignored as others insist you do what they want instead
- you justify someone’s bad behaviour towards you
- you doubt the validity of your decision because of others’ disapproval
Try this -> list three situations you can recall where your boundaries might have been crossed? What action can you take in the future to assure the invasion doesn’t repeat?
Boundaries vs. Control – How do you tell the difference?
When you enforce your boundaries, it means you are assuring others don’t control your personal space just as you don’t control theirs. For example, if someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do. The appropriate response is simply saying you don’t wish to do that thing. If boundaries are respected, it will be left at that point. If another is controlling your boundaries, the reply from the other person would indicate they don’t care what you want. What they want is going to be done.
If you say ‘no’ it’s stating a boundary. Hearing ‘you must’ from another means you are being controlled by them.
Your brain when boundaries are invaded:
Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/spycatcher/201502/why-we-hate-it-when-people-invade-our-space) suggests boundary invasion registers as a negative experience in the brain and interrupts normal thinking processes leaving us feeling upset and in self-protect, survival mode.
How to enforce your boundaries to stop controlling invaders:
When you enforce boundaries, it doesn’t make you mean or insensitive to others’ presence or needs. But it allows you the freedom to be authentically who you are and to live in the expression of that authenticity without being controlled by others.
Maintain Responsibility for Your Power –
- know and trust yourself enough to remain centered and maintain your boundaries
- choose actions based on self-knowledge and conviction, that aligns with your intuitive rightness
- make choices whether it upsets others or not. Base your decisions on self-respect, self-love and self-trust
Define your boundaries to include what you like and don’t like. Say no and yes when you mean no and yes
- Signal non-verbally to others when boundaries have been crossed– you can choose to: not look at them, step away, shake your head ‘no’, put your hand up to stop the conversation or keep your distance until you are ready to confront them.
- Speak up by using such words as ‘no’, ‘stop’, ‘I don’t wish to continue this conversation, let’s talk about something else’. The exchange can be respectful and clear and doesn’t have to be confrontational
Set your tolerance level – know what thoughts, ideas, and feelings are important to you so you can share what is okay with you and what is not right in the moment with any would-be invader
Healthy boundaries are not walls. They are the gates and fences that allow you to enjoy the beauty of your own garden ~ Lydia H Hall
A special addendum to this post for you:
Name your boundaries:
I will not allow myself to be constantly criticized or infected with toxic emotional treatment that damages me. I will address it and try to resolve it but if the situation cannot be resolved, I will not expose myself to it
I will not allow myself to be yelled at or be verbally abused. If that happens, I will distance myself from the relationship until the abuse stops.
I will not allow myself to trust a liar or a cheat. The lying must stop before I trust the person again
I will not take responsibility for irresponsible behaviour of others. If they try to get me to do their work, I will tell them I care for them but that it is their own responsibility and not mine
I will not tolerate any abuse of any kind
I will not allow someone to derail me from my path of growth or my relationship with God
~ Henry Cloud – The Law of Happiness