Relationships and Boundaries

I was supposed to post last Sunday, but I got distracted by mice popping out of my stove. Yes, mice were popping out of my stove. I haven’t seen any since pest control came, so fingers crossed they’re no longer in my apartment.

Now to the topic at hand. I’ve had three of my relationship groups. We’ve talked about healthy vs unhealthy relationships and boundaries. I wanted to share some that with you today.

To start off we must define what a relationship is. Our society tends to use relationship when talking about romantic relationships. That is only one type of relationship. A relationship is a connection. So, anyone who you have a connection with or relate to, you have a relationship with. That means coworkers, your landlord, friends, your children, parents, neighbors, and significant other, among other people, you have a relationship with.

Now that we know what a relationship is, you need to know what you want in it. Typically people want to be treated with respect, trusted, and valued. Those things are part of a healthy relationship. In treating someone the way you want to be treated, you will most likely be displaying healthy qualities in your relationship. You have a right to be treated the way you want to be treated, and so do other people.

That is where boundaries come in. The important thing to remember with boundaries is that they are designed to protect you. Boundaries are not to hurt others. Having boundaries show that you respect yourself and have standards. There are different types of boundaries, but I’m not going to get into them in this post. I just want to mention that you have boundaries for different components of your life (physical, emotional, etc).

Boundaries should be flexible enough to change. People change and our boundaries should be able to change with that. But they should be firm enough that no one can force your boundaries to change. It’s your call. You change your boundaries. You control changing them. Why? Because your boundaries are for you.

Boundaries say, “I am important. I value myself. I know what I will and will not tolerate in my relationships.” I’ve people say some negative things about boundaries. Those people tend to be looking at how boundaries could be restrictive to other people. And that’s true. Some people create boundaries with the intent to hurt others. Some people create poor boundaries or fail to stick to them which can hurt a relationship as well.

Anything can be used for the wrong reasons, but when used correctly boundaries are wonderful. I have had people take advantage of me because I love to help others. I had to set firmer boundaries in certain areas. I had to learn to stick to my boundaries in certain areas. Some people took that as me not being a team player, but most others understood.

In knowing what you want and expect in relationships you can create boundaries. What will you not tolerate at all? That is the perfect place to start. For example, I will not tolerate abuse in my relationship. Physical, emotional, verbal, intellectual, it’s all a no. If I feel like there is the possibility of that I will put distance between us. I will also not tolerate people talking down to me. I’ve gotten that quite often due to the fact that I have yet to hit 30.

I set those boundaries, but boundaries are useless if you don’t set up what will happen if your boundaries are violated. If you violate my boundaries, I will…

What will your response be to boundaries that are violated? The response should vary with the boundaries set. The reaction should be realistic. Sometimes the response will be talking to the person other times it will be putting distance between you and them. If an action is repeated, the response may become more intense.

You need to be able to assess what is important to you and what you want to do when your boundaries are violated.

If you only remember one thing from this post, remember that your boundaries are designed to protect you.

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