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What boundaries are not

by Peter on April 23, 2008


Boundaries within relationships are probably the most indirect cause of arguments within relationships that I can think of. Respecting a person’s space, personality, likes and dislikes, and feelings all in line with this.  Boundaries define who we are, who we want to be, and the relationships that we are in. I have found that we need to be reminded about what boundaries are and what they are not. It is sometimes difficult in the heat of the situation to think clearly and retain healthy behaviors when perceptions of the situation have gone awry. Here are 8 Myths of Boundaries from Dr. Henry Cloud’s and Dr. John Townsend’s Book “Boundaries”

Boundary: Those behaviors and thoughts that define me. In short, they tell me who I really am and to what extent I can behave within that space.

1 “If I Set Boundaries, I’m Being Selfish

You can’t be all things to all people when you are hurting yourself in the process. You are responsible for your own emotional wellbeing. Although there are times when you must extend yourself, you should not extend yourself so much that it is harmful physically or emotionally.

2 “Boundaries are a sign of disobedience

            You really do have the permission to say, “No.” Just because someone asks you or even demands that you do something does not mean tat you have to. 

3 “If I begin Setting Boundaries, I will be hurt by others.

            You cannot control the actions of another person. It is our responsibility to communicate those boundaries clearly and in a caring manner. Remember that your boundaries represent you and your character. However, it is out of our control on how that person will react and behave after hearing those boundaries.       

4 If I begin Setting Boundaries, I will hurt others

            Appropriate Boundaries don’t control or hurt anyone. They are part of your character. You cannot be responsible for other people’s responsibility or the consequences of their lack of responsibility.

5  Boundaries mean that I am angry

            We tend to get angry not because of boundaries but because we feel that our boundaries have been breached. Boundaries mean that you have set appropriate limits for yourself.

6 When others set boundaries, It Injures Me.

            Just because I have a need does not mean that it is another person’s responsibility to provide for it. We are all responsible for providing for our own needs.

7 Boundaries cause feelings of guilt

            Setting boundaries can sometimes cause anxiety because of perceived notions of obligation and expectation to another person. Remember that boundaries preserve the person that you want to be.

8 Boundaries are permanent, and I’m afraid of burning my bridges

            Your boundaries are yours and yours alone. There are times in our lives in which we create many boundaries so that we may get through a situation or even heal. There will be other times in which we will have very few boundaries. Boundaries are never permanent, you will always have the freedom and permission to do with your boundaries as you see fit.   

For more information….visit their website www.cloudtownsend.com

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