Removing the Shame Associated With Childhood Abuse: Julia walked into my office and sat down on the couch without saying a word. She did not need to say anything for me to know that she was in pain. Her eyes radiated pain. Continue reading
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)
Does your relationship need a tune-up? Have you been neglecting it? Does your energy go elsewhere leaving only crumbs for your partner?
Valentine’s Day is only several days away and while candy and flowers may be nice, the most important thing is nurturing your relationship.
- Check-In Time: Pick a set time at the end of each day and spend fifteen minutes checking in with your partner. Take turns sharing something positive about your day, and let your partner know at least one thing that you appreciate about him or her.
- Create Win/Win Resolutions: When you and your partner disagree, think in terms of the relationship winning, not you as an individual. Work on compromising to create win/win resolutions.
- Give Emotional Support and Validation: You do not have to agree with your spouse, but be eager to listen and validate their opinions and concerns. A healthy relationship is one in which two people lift one another up rather than tearing each other down.
- Practice True Intimacy: Invite your partner into your private world. When you are angry, never use your partner’s intimate disclosures against him or her. This will tear down trust and destroy intimacy. Your partner needs to feel safe sharing with you.
- Be Kind: Love is kind. The classic saying that many of us grew up hearing, Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me, is not true. Harsh words can destroy your relationship. Think before you speak. Communicate with kindness.
- Forgive: Your partner is not perfect. You are not perfect. Your partner will make mistakes, and your partner will let you down from time to time. Keep communication open and let your partner know, in a non-attacking way, how their behavior makes you feel. Be willing to forgive.
- Healthy Communication: When communicating with your partner use “I” statements rather than “you” statements. “You never help me!” is likely to make your partner defensive, opt for this alternative, “I feel overwhelmed and need some help.”
- Schedule Regular Date Nights: You dated when you first met, don’t stop now. Get a babysitter if you have small children. Your children will benefit from the energy you put into your relationship.
- Switch It Up: Get out of your comfort zone. Doing something new can add excitement to your relationship.
- Turn Off Your Cell Phone: Quality time together does not consist of texting other people while you are out on a date with your partner.
*If you like this, please share it with your facebook friends.
*Be sure to look for the next post:
Feeling Alone on Valentine’s Day: Help is on the Way!
Written by Kristin Barton Cuthriell M.Ed, MSW, LCSW