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Boundary Bootcamp

by Caroline Williams

Boundaries, we all have them and often they are core to relationships whether with friends, our self, family, co-workers or your beloved (or maybe not so beloved). So what exactly are these essential “boundaries”?
  • Often learnt through our family of origin and major role model/social conditioning
  • A personal awareness of what you will and won’t accept.
  • It’s the knowledge of what you or others are uncomfortable and comfortable with
  • They warn us when we are detracting from, or living outside of our values
  • They act as both self-protection and a warning system.
  • They are internal and external
Boundaries teach people how to treat you and what to expect from you. They also impose limits, not just on others but also upon yourself to ensure that you don’t place yourself in dangerous situations or continue to be treated in a way that is harmful or life draining.

Boundaries when too rigid or reactive can hold us back from living fully or connecting fully because of fear and imposed limits.

Boundaries can also be too porous leaving you and others confused or resentful while eroding full meaningful connection.
relationship boundaries article by caroline williams
If you imagine that every single one of us on this planet has our own invisible electric fence. These are our boundaries, we can have the electric fence set WAY to high or just as unhelpful set WAY to low ,often unaware that this is happening until problems arise.

So how do you learn what they are and most importantly how to manage these seemingly invisible boundaries?

The first step is developing your own personal awareness of boundaries and to start you off try answering these basic questions. Remember be as honest as you can and give examples if possible.

Boundary Awareness Questions

  • How do you communicate to others that a boundary is being crossed ( ie- Someone taking money/items without asking you? Being called names or put down?)
  • Do you take things personally then either bottle it all up or do you react defensively?
  • Do you tolerate rude comments or pushy people because you find conflict hard to deal with? Give some examples at work, home or with friends/loved ones.
  • When you set a boundary do you find yourself either over explaining it, justifying or bargaining?
  • Do you have different boundary styles physically, emotionally, sexually? Give some examples.
Over the next few days keep a diary and note down your awareness of boundaries in action with the questions you answered above as a guide. Because to free yourself from the “disease to please” self-awareness is the first key to becoming more accountable for your own happiness and responses.

If you want to learn more or gain support to improve your relationships feel free to contact me for an obligation free call and make this the year that counts!

Article posted 20 July 2017
caroline williams anxiety counselling auckland
Caroline Williams is a counsellor and therapist in Auckland.
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