Boundaries are those invisible lines that separate you from other people. When children grow up in families that practice healthy boundaries, these boundaries are typically passed down through generations. The same is true when individuals are raised in dysfunctional families that have no sense of healthy boundaries. These poor boundaries, too, are often passed down the generational line.
Poor boundaries are usually too rigid or too loose. Like a concrete wall, rigid boundaries keep people out. When a person is closed off with rigid boundaries, they do not allow themselves to become vulnerable, which makes true intimacy impossible.
People with loose boundaries have little fence or no fence at all. The separation between self and others is blurred. Individuals with loose boundaries do not have a clear sense of self. These people trust easily, disclose too much, have a difficult time setting limits, and often become enmeshed with others.
Healthy relationships require healthy boundaries. If you are aware that your personal boundaries are either too loose or too rigid, you can learn healthy boundaries.
The first step to change is recognizing that change is needed. What you do not acknowledge, you do not change.
What is a healthy boundary? Take a look.
People with healthy boundaries:
know what they will and will not do.
know what they will and will not tolerate from others.
are able to be close to someone without becoming enmeshed or engulfed.
have well-defined limits.
are not possessive of their friends.
know how to say no.
have balanced friendships rather than one-way friendships.
know when to self-disclose and when to withhold information.
know that the amount of self-disclosure, depends on the relationship. (What is appropriate to share in one relationship, may not be appropriate in another.)
do not allow themselves to be abused.
do not rely on children to meet their physical or emotional intimacy needs.
are able to trust without trusting too easily.
are able to respect the privacy of others.
are able to view their partner and their children separate from themselves, with different needs and opinions.
do not push affection on others.
respect the personal space of others.
speak up when someone crosses the line of common decency.
respect another’s right to say “no.”
are able to be vulnerable within their marriage.
If your boundaries were violated when you were young, causing you to have poorly defined boundaries now, please consider working on this with a mental health professional. You are worth it! Your children are worth it! Your grandchildren are worth it!
- Fear of Intimacy (letlifeinpractices.com)
- Emotional Maturity, Boundaries and Why Most of the People You Know Aren’t Actually Adults (goodmenproject.com)
- “Yes” Doesn’t Count if you can’t say “No” – Why Clear Boundaries are Important in Intimate Relationships (psychologytoday.com)
- Boundaries (teristeel.com)
- Why Saying No in Your Relationship Is a Good Thing (psychcentral.com)
- How to Build Beautiful Boundaries (powerofslow.wordpress.com)
- A Better Way (toddlohenry.com)
- The Benefits of Establishing Boundaries (rhachellenicol.com)
- How To Teach Children The Benefits Of Developing Healthy Relationships (howtolearn.com)