Do I need boundaries? What are they for? I facilitate a group based on the workbook, BOUNDARY POWER by O’Neil & Newbold. In it members learn what boundaries are, what are functional and dysfunctional boundaries, and how to set and maintain their boundaries.
BOUNDARIES are limits that allow for a safe connection based on your needs. When these limits are changed, the relationship may become unclear. Such uncertainty is often experienced as a violation of your personal space. The pain from the violation may be delayed, or may not occur at all, and the violation may not be recognized or felt until harmful consequences emerge.
EXAMPLES OF UNHEALTHY BOUNDARIES
1. Taking care of someone else, and not taking care of yourself.
2. Going against personal values or rights to please another
3. Not noticing when someone else displays inappropriate boundaries.
4. Not noticing when someone invades your boundaries.
5. Taking as much as you can get for the sake of getting.
6. Giving as much as you can give for the sake of giving.
7. Allowing someone to take as much as they can from you.
8. Letting others direct your life.
9. Letting others describe your reality or define you.
10. Believing others can anticipate your needs/read your mind.
11. Expecting others to fill your needs automatically.
12. Falling apart so someone will take care of you.
13. Talking at an intimate level on the first meeting.
14. Falling in love with a new acquaintance.
15. Falling in love with anyone who reaches out.
16. Being overwhelmed or preoccupied by someone.
17. Acting on first sexual impulse.
18. Accepting food, gifts, touch, sex that you don’t want.
19. Touching a person without asking.
20. Self-abuse or mutilation.
21. Sexual and physical abuse.
22. Food abuse.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU NEED BOUNDARIES?
1. When you feel burned out, beaten down, angry, depressed, violated, used or overworked.
2. When you are out of touch with your feelings. Examine the relationship to see if you are getting a fair exchange.
3. Look at what other people are doing.
4. Get the opinion of someone whose judgment you value, someone who is not profiting directly from your lack of boundaries.
5. Ask yourself, if someone I love came to me and described this situation, what would my advice be?
SETTING AND CHANGING BOUNDARIES
1. Plan what you need beforehand.
2. Change your boundaries when you become aware that they were violated.
3. Have a joint discussion and come to an agreement with your partner. Define what is acceptable to you. Express your thoughts and feelings about the problem and propose your boundary. Listen to the other person express their thoughts and feelings and propose their boundary. Work out a compromise.
4. Re-evaluate your boundaries regularly
HOW DO YOU DEFEND YOUR BOUNDARIES?
1. Call a “time out” to have time to cool down and think.
2. Use the “Broken Record Technique,” repeating your refusal over and over in a calm tone.
3. Agree with the truth, agree with the odds, or agree with the person’s right to refuse, then use the “Broken Record Technique.”
4. Don’t answer “why” questions
5. Use “if. . .then” contingencies. For example, “If you keep yelling, I will hang up.” “If you continue to ask me to decide now, the answer is “NO.” Make sure you follow through with what you said.
6. Deliver an assertive “NO.” Stand up straight. Look the other person in the eye. Speak clearly and firmly. Practice in the mirror.
Boundaries are fundamental skills that we all need. If you’d like help strengthening yours, I’d love to help you, Give me a call at 404.518.0828. . . Dr. Sharman Colosetti