Setting healthy boundaries means you place limits on what you will accept of another person’s words or actions. It is the foundation of a long and healthy relationship. Therefore, the best time to begin the practice of setting healthy boundaries is when you first meet. Without healthy boundaries a terrific relationship is not possible.
Unfortunately, our culture and myths do not encourage this sort of open communication. It’s much easier to begin setting healthy boundaries at the beginning of a relationship. It is a form of training another person what you will allow. Eventually, once the relationship is on firm footing, those boundaries can become more flexible.
Setting healthy boundaries allows us to screen out unhealthy partners when we are dating. Individuals who have low self-esteem or a poor sense of identity are usually not able to respect others’ boundaries. If you say “No, I am not comfortable with that,” a healthy partner will respect that reply. An unhealthy partner will feel rejected by your “no” and take it as a challenge, and attempt to change your mind. Be aware of these things and protect yourself.
What are some examples of boundaries?
Fact: Healthy boundaries are to be used like fences to keep out things like:
- Abuse – Bullying, physical, mental or emotional, embarrassment tactics
- Harassment- can be camouflaged with humor or sarcasm
- Toxic Manipulation – blackmail or threat of sharing a secret
- Too needy – time waster
- Too Intrusive with your privacy and time… always asking to join
- Don’t have a life of their own and want to take over your life, your friends, children, parents, etc.
- Entitled “I need and want this and you always come through for me” or “I need you to (unfairly) cover for me.
- I did this for you now you owe me. ” I thought you were happy doing all my chores, cooking all our meals,
paying for everything”
Then there’s those weirdly ‘nice’ behaviors that also show a lack of boundaries
- Too “YOU” focused or obsessed
- Overly generous with gifts or favors
- A mean gossip behind your back and everyone else’s
- Too competitive… where it becomes ‘mean spirited’
Then there are those very dangerous people to avoid who have no sense of boundaries – the narcissist
- Narcissism – NPDs are grandiose, lack of empathy for other people, need to put down others to make them
feel better about themselves, scanning for the negative or comparing you or your spouse or kids to others
that they put on a pedestal only to make you feel much less then.
- They have a huge need for admiration or envy. They can be Arrogant, Self-centered, Manipulative, Controlling and Demanding. Don’t be fooled! Because, they
can start out charming, helpful, complimentary and just when they know they have your trust, “WHACK”, they just hit you emotionally
Setting healthy boundaries is the key to a solid foundation in a relationship. Therefore, get help from a professional if you think you can’t set appropriate boundaries or don’t recognize what they are. You can do it! You will be thankful that you set up boundaries and then enforced them. Remember, start this at the BEGINNING of a relationship. You are actually training a person how you want to be treated! Don’t leave it up to them. A person will treat you just as poorly as you allow it.