Boundaries can be defined as the limits we set with other people, which indicates what we find acceptable and unacceptable in their behavior towards us. They are mental, emotional, and physical walls we create. Sadly, today having boundaries is either being disrespectful and or being a bitch. Having boundaries is taking back your power. Take back your power because you deserve to be free. You deserve happiness, you deserve peace of mind, and you deserve your sanity.
Types of boundaries:
Physical boundaries: Personal space and physical touch. Healthy physical boundaries include an awarenesses of what is appropriate, and what is not is always up to you.
Intellectual boundaries: Thoughts and feelings. Healthy boundaries include respect for other ideas and an awareness of appropriate discussion. Boundaries are violated when someone dismisses or belittles another feelings.
Emotional boundaries: A person’s feelings. Healthy emotional boundaries include limitations on when to share, and when not to share personal information. Boundaries are violated when someone dismisses or belittles another feelings.
Sexual boundaries: The emotional, intellectual, and physical aspects of sexuality. Healthy sexual boundaries involve mutual understanding and respect of limitations and desires between partners. Boundaries are violated with unwanted touching, pressure to have sex when you already said no and unwanted sexual comments.
Material boundaries: Refer to money and possessions. Healthy boundaries involve setting limits on what you will share and with whom. Boundaries are violated when someone steals or damages another person’s stuff without their permission.
Time Boundaries: How a person uses their time. Having healthy time boundaries, a person must set aside enough time for each facet of their life such as work, relationships, and hobbies. Boundaries are violated when another person demands too much of another’s time.
Why is it important to set boundaries?
- To practice self-care and self-respect
- To communicate your needs in a relationship/ with your family
- To make time and space for positive interactions
- To set limits in a relationship in a way that is healthy
Unhealthy boundaries can be signs that you struggle with your self-worth, self-esteem, or your identity. Here are some signs that you might be struggling with healthy boundary setting:
- You aren’t honest with others when you feel you’re not being treated right. You may feel like you can’t or shouldn’t stand up for yourself because you feel it may make them angry or make them leave.
- Letting other people define you or give your life meaning. You are the only you! No one owns you but YOU!!!! (Unless you are into that kind of thing with consent)
- You say yes to a person when you want to say no. One of the toughest habits to break trust me, I get it. If you ever feel backed into a corner, simply tell them I will see what I can do, or I can’t commit to any plans now. That sets a boundary and lets you decide what you want to do.
- You are passive aggressive and might have manipulative tendencies (as a way of trying to regain your lost power). It’s hard to admit but I have been this person. From lying to get what I want to guilt tripping being manipulative is selfish and you should never do it. It may seem like no harm is done but breaking someone’s trust for your gain isn’t a healthy way to build or keep a relationship.
- You are out of touch with your needs. When was the last time you sat down and asked, “What do I want?” Not just from others, but from the world, from life, from yourself and from your partners etc.
Now before we jump more into this, please know that it is not your fault, but it is your responsibility to develop strong boundaries. When we are younger, we have no control what our parents, teachers, and other adults around us teach us knowingly and unknowingly. From codependency to even counter dependency there are somethings we learn to survive. For example, being taught that love =what we did, not who we were.
Codependency: Excessive emotional or mental reliance on a partner, typically one who requires support, having little no boundaries.
Counter-dependency: The refusal of attachment, the denial of a personal need and dependency, and typically refuses help a (I got it type of person).
Taking the time to sit with yourself and reflect on your childhood can help you unlock not only memories but things that will guide you. It will be very uncomfortable trust me but asking questions like “were you only given love when you pretended to be who your parents wanted?” or “were you punished for saying no or speaking up for yourself?” Will start you on your journey. Another tough question to start with is “Have you ever felt emotionally responsible for an adult or parent?” If you’ve answered yes to any of these then you were taught that having poor personal boundaries was a good thing.
“The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”.
Meaning the bonds, you create” and or commitment” by ones choice are more important than the people that you are bound to by the water of the womb. You absolutely DO NOT have to stay in contact with anyone who threatens how you live or disrespects your boundaries time after time. Moving along let’s talk about setting boundaries with your family and for yourself.
Setting boundaries with your family may be hard at first depending on how close you are with them but here are a few things to remember.
- Understand that your needs are just as important as your family
- Be firm but kind
- Keep your expectations realistic. (Be realistic with yourself about how much time feels tolerable to you with that difficult family member and in what situations you are willing to see that person.)
- Be willing to walk away
- Keep in mind that you are in charge of what you do
- Learn to be assertive
- Know your triggers (A “trigger” is a difficult situation or event. We all have them and they’re different for each of us. Triggers can range from watching your parents enable and coddle your unemployed brother, or to your sister whispering about you to her husband.)
- Not letting anyone guilt trip you ( If you do NOT wanna do something DO NOT practice saying no)
How to define boundaries?
Ask “What are your rights?”: Identify your basic human rights;
I have a right to say no without feeling guilty.I have a right to be treated with respect; I have a right to make my needs as important as others. I have a right not to meet others’ unreasonable expectations.
Follow your gut
Your instincts can help you determine when someone is violating your boundaries or when you need to set one up. Check in with your body (heart rate, sweating, tightness in chest, stomach, throat) to tell you what you can handle and where the boundary should be drawn. For me personally whenever I feel my shoulders tense up I KNOW that I am not comfy.
Determine your values
Your boundaries also relate to your moral philosophy. If I asked you to list five important values, what would you say? And how many of those would you say are often challenged? What do you do when they are?
Our boundaries are shaped by
Our heritage or culture
The region we live in or come from
Whether we’re introverted, extroverted, or somewhere in between
Our life experiences
How to create boundaries
Be assertive ;I statements show confidence and good boundary setting by expressing thoughts, feelings, and opinions without worrying what others are thinking.
I feel ___ when _____ because _______. What I need is_____
For example you have a teenager and you read their journal without their permission. Now if you are a parent from an older generation you are thinking”what do you mean their permission”? And honestly that is totally different problem/rabbit hole we will have to discuss later now effective communication sounds like ” I feel violated when you read my journal because I value privacy. What I need is a space that I know is private to record my thoughts. Ineffective communication sounds like “Keep your hands off my journal, you don’t understand me”. Giving your children, spouse , parents etc the space and respect you expect to receive is basic human rights. If you do or say something to someone and think”I hope no one ever talks to me like that or treats me like that” then maybe it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your own values and boundaries.
Learn to say no; No is a complete sentence.
You can say no without an explanation and without providing any emotional labor to the person you’re saying it to. If someone asks for your number or to dance, you can absolutely just say no. If a co-worker asks you to cover their shift, you can also say no, without offering any excuse. If you don’t want to do something, you can say no!
Safeguard your spaces; You can also set boundaries for your stuff, physical and emotional spaces, and your time and energy without telling anyone.
Keep a mini safe with a code; Use a password protected digital journal instead of a paper one(Amazon); Schedule nonnegotiable alone time or time when you’re just doing your own thing; Set a cut-off time for answering text/calls; Use DND
Defining and asserting your boundaries can get even trickier if you or a loved on lives with mental illness, depression, anxiety, or a history of trauma.If you’re experiencing challenges with setting or asserting boundaries, or if someone is causing you difficulty by crossing them, never hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional.
How to recognize and honor other’s people’s boundaries
Being mindful of how other’s are feeling is a basic right everyone should be able to afford. Watching for cues like avoiding eye contact, backing up, voice changing to high pitched or even nervous gestures like laughing, talking fast, or talking with hands can be an indicator that the person you are speaking with is not comfortable. Everyone is different so sometimes you just have to ask. It is also important to know that some people may be “Neurodivergent” which is a term used to describe people who live with autism, are on the spectrum or who have other developmental disabilities. Their social cues may be different from the norm, such as poor eye contact, not wanting to be touched or difficulty starting a conversation.
Now I understand this was a lot of information so please be gentle with yourself. Take time to process everything. Healing is life long journeys take it one day at a time.`