Healthy and unhealthy boundaries in a relationship. How to improve boundaries
You have probably heard of ‘boundaries’ before, but you may not be quite clear what they are or what they should be.
Below is your cheat-sheet to figure out whether you have healthy or unhealthy boundaries in your relationship.
Also, in part 2 we will do a little exercise to identify the status of multiple boundaries in your current relationship and some suggestions for improvement.
Let’s dive in!
Below is the list of healthy boundaries. Do these describe you? (wink wink).
• You have zero tolerance for abuse and disrespect. You have no problem letting the other person know when they act like an ass-clown. Another option – you simply walk away from abusive and toxic people.
• You are aware of your needs and feelings and communicate them to the other person clearly. You want to be on the same page. Between us, girls, men love to hear your wants and desires. Males are wired to please!
• You have no problem saying 'no' to the other party. Saying 'no' does not feel uncomfortable. Saying yes feels comfortable too. It is never forced. The other party can say yes or no as well and you have no problem with it.
• You have limits. We all can slack here and there , BUT when it is enough - it is enough. No one is perfect of course, but we are not Mother Theresa, right ladies?
• You are able to see your own problem(s) and do not blame others for it. You can also see when a problem belongs to the other party.
• You have no problem asking for help. Again, men are wired to please. Do not be shy!
• Here is a big one: you do not compromise your values even though it may cost you rejection. This thing takes practice.
Remember bending over and ‘adjusting’ to just stay with them? What were the consequences long term? I bet you felt miserable. Yes, compromising does not work long term! It never never does. Just do not do it!
• You are confident that your opinion matters. You do value your opinion and at the same time are open to the opinions of others.
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• You do know that your own happiness is in your own hands and frankly, it is your responsibility. You do not rely on someone else to make you happy. You also allow the other party to be responsible for their own happiness and well-being. Any imbalance in this matter may lead to codependency.
• Here is another big one: you share personal information gradually. It has to go both ways. Oversharing or under sharing is unhealthy to say the least.
This boundary especially applies to first dates. Blah-blah-blah for hours – remember that verbal diarrhea? Omg…. No wonder they didn’t call back. Do not open your heart too soon and do not over-share.
• You expect reciprocity in a relationship. Ask yourself this: “Am I the only one doing all the work here? Does it look like it is one-sided?” Bring it up with the other party, if you can. Otherwise, pack your stuff and get the hell out of there.
• You have a great sense of self-worth and awareness of your talents. You are never ‘less than’. You are 'good enough’.
Ok, ladies. And now let’s talk about unhealthy boundaries. I have them listed below. In case these sound like you – no worries. In PART II you will learn how to set limits.
Let’s get started.
• You try to be someone you think they want you to be. This one is super crazy, but I saw it happening. Are you familiar with this YouTube video? A woman in the video pretends to be a dumb plastic Barbie Doll. Do not play roles unless it is a natural part of you.
• Attention super kind and caring ladies, this one may ring a bell: you take on other’s problems (as your own) and try hard to fix them. Oh dear, this one hits home for me.
I can tell you what: running around trying to fix everybody’s problems is super exhausting. It is almost never appreciated and all you have done is waste time.
Think about feeding hungry seagulls at the beach. Do they ever come back to thank you? Wasted time, money, and an empty potato chips bag. Could have eaten them yourself! THAT’s how empty it feels when trying to fix someone’s life.
• There is no balance in a relationship. You are either too passive or too aggressive; you are either too controlling or too ambivalent; you are either too responsible or do not give a crap etc… You get the idea.
• You share personal information too soon and are too quick to trust. A mutual trust needs to be established first. Hope that makes sense.
• You tolerate verbal and physical abuse. This one is strongly linked to the sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Please read more here – Self-Love Checklist.
• You feel the feelings of other people AND make the mistake of absorbing them. Hey, how about your feelings?
• Your fear of abandonment prevents you from saying no.
• You ignore your inner voice and let others lead you in the wrong direction. You go against your intuition.
• You rely on the opinion of others and let them define your worth. This one is a biggie and is tested greatly during romantic rejections and breakups. Do you feel ‘less than’ after romantic rejections?
• You would rather ‘go along’ than create conflict. You would rather not rock the boat... even though your values are being greatly compromised. Have you ever felt like this before? It is an identity sinkhole trap, ladies. It will bury you deeply, until there is no “YOU” left. It is a scary thought!
• You feel responsible for the other party’s happiness and well-being. Ok, unless they are a helpless newborn or a toddler, you should abandon this habit. Period.
• You allow others to manipulate and boss you around. Think of a woman with a Queen-like mentality doing that. Hard to imagine, right?
In this section we will try to figure out where you stand in your relationship (in terms of boundaries). Before we begin, let us define these 2 types of boundaries:
Boundaries that are too rigid and inflexible (you are guarded too much and keep them at a distance)
Weak or unhealthy boundaries (you share too much, are quick to trust etc)
Think of your current relationship with someone and answer these questions:
Are my boundaries 1) rigid 2) weak/unhealthy or 3) healthy in these categories:
And now, after pondering for some time and discovering problem areas think of the following:
What specifically can I do and how should I change my behavior to improve my boundaries?
How will that person respond? What would their reaction be?
What would be the result of the change and how different will my relationship (or life overall) be?
P.S. If you feel like you need to talk to someone because your situation is too unique and most of the stuff you read on the internet is too generic and not helpful, then I would personally like to recommend you this affordable online counseling service. You will not be disappointed.
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