Something that therapy has taught me these last couple years is that I have had struggles with boundaries and have determined I’m a codependent person. I know I have a big heart, but I let that cloud my rational thinking.
I was talking to a dear friend the other day, and she mentioned she has been helping a friend out that is going through some challenges, and I offered the advice of setting boundaries in an effort to challenge her friend regarding the struggles that she needs to overcome.
Over the last 2 years, I have been going through challenges myself and I have depended on close friends that I’ve confided in to help me make positive boundaries. Not only do I have the luxury of intensive psychology sessions, but I have the luxury of good, rational friends to help keep me on track. As difficult as my journey is and has been, I’m very thankful and proud of the woman I’m becoming and have become. I’m going to share with you some things that I have learned and am learning.
Types of Boundaries:
▪ Material boundaries determine whether you give or lend things, such as your money, car, clothes, books, food, or toothbrush.
▪ Physical boundaries pertain to your personal space, privacy, and body. Do you give a handshake or a hug – to whom and when? How do you feel about loud music, nudity, and locked doors?
▪ Mental boundaries apply to your thoughts, values, and opinions. Are you easily suggestible? Do you know what you believe, and can you hold onto your opinions? Can you listen with an open mind to someone else’s opinion without becoming rigid? If you become highly emotional, argumentative, or defensive, you may have weak emotional boundaries.
▪ Emotional boundaries distinguish separating your emotions and responsibility for them from someone else’s. It’s like an imaginary line or force field that separates you and others. Healthy boundaries prevent you from giving advice, blaming or accepting blame. They protect you from feeling guilty for someone else’s negative feelings or problems and taking others’ comments personally. High reactivity suggests weak emotional boundaries. Healthy emotional boundaries require clear internal boundaries – knowing your feelings and your responsibilities to yourself and others.
▪ Sexual boundaries protect your comfort level with sexual touch and activity – what, where, when, and with whom.
▪ Spiritual boundaries relate to your beliefs and experiences in connection with God or a higher power.
The hard part:
It’s hard for codependents to set boundaries because:
1 Their self-esteem is minimal/nonexistent
2 They are not in touch with their self-identity
3 They put others’ needs and feelings above their own
4 They believe setting boundaries would jeopardize the relationship
5 They never learned to have healthy boundaries in their past
In the past 6 months, I have taken these steps while learning how to establish my boundaries:
- Baby steps: I set smaller boundaries like minimizing text messages and calling. There are a handful of people that will call me a liar (one of which is my attorney😂), then I progressed to keeping my phone away when I was with another person. I’m not perfect, but I’m making an effort.
- Follow through: When I feel that someone is crossing my boundary, I assertively communicate it. If I’m crossing a boundary or feel I’m at risk of crossing a boundary, I will separate myself from the situation.
- Hire a marketing director: I’m going to cite my marketing directors in this article. It’s my best-friend and my best-friend-in-law 😂😂😂. I’m so appreciative that they are always a phone call away to give me sound, rational advice. Sometimes they have to be the bad guys, but I trust them with my life and I know that whenever I’m in a bind, they have my back. Mikriah, I have your backs if and when you ever need me. 💯 I love you guys. 💜
- Love you and Celebrate you: writing this blog has really helped me to not only discuss my faults, but acknowledge my strengths. I’m learning how to amalgamate those antonyms.
- Drake said it best, “I like a woman with a future and a past.” I reflected on my recent environment and guys that i have dated. For the most part, I felt they needed me to help them take care of their kids and/or them, for 10 years I was a submissive housewife, dated a guy that had a sick perversion of what submission was, quite a few relationships with men that I wrongfully held higher than myself because, well, i didn’t think highly of myself. I’m having a hard time finding someone that I’m willing to put effort into getting to know because I’m dating myself. For the first time in my life, I willingly took myself out to lunch at a nice restaurant. Aside from relationships, I don’t feel I was surrounding myself with much optimism. It felt good, because I’m worth it. Also, look at your history: how were you raised? Were your friends and family codependent? Did you learn it honestly? In my case, my parents weren’t because my parents are the best team I have ever seen. They are perfect partners.
- I reflect over the situation: What don’t I like about this? Am I over-stepping a boundary? Do I have control over it? If I don’t, why am I wasting my time thinking about it?
- Permanent Boundary ‘Hall-pass’ : Sometimes I feel/felt if I held a boundary, I would hurt their feelings/I would feel guilty. I give myself permission to create boundaries and I give myself permission to respect those boundaries, and I prohibit myself from feeling overwhelming guilt because of those boundarial observations. (Sometimes I make up words).
- I have become annoyed with beating around the bush. I like directivity. Yes, Jordan. This is the comment about you. If my coffee tastes like crap, don’t tell me it tastes ok. I don’t care if yo momma said never say a woman’s cooking is bad, coffee is not a light subject. I don’t want to hear what you think I want to hear, I want the truth. Yes, even from you, Cassi 💜
- You can tuna fish… but you can’t tune a piano… haha. 2 emotions that cue a boundary crossage for me are discomfort and resentment. If I’m feeling like a 6-10 on either of those emotions, I need to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Resentment usually comes from being taken advantage of or not appreciated. Discomfort normally is a result of a boundary violation.
- I established my limits. It was hard for me to create boundaries when I was unsure of my limits. I often take a brief moment in a situation to think of it with a wise-mind, a rational-mind, and a smart-mind.
Boundaries are important to me and I’m thankful that I’m learning how to observe them.
Thank you for visiting and stop back soon!
Psych Central. (2016). Retrieved January 25, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-way-to-build-and-preserve-better-boundaries/.
Wikipedia (2018). Retrieved January 25, 2018, from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codependency
Michael Curtis, Editor-in-chief, Lead IT Consultant, Personal film critic/journalist, 2018
Mariah Stasik, Marketing Director, Lead Stylist, Head Witch, 2018