A brief recap on what I discussed last week, I defined what are healthy boundaries which in a nutshell are the imaginary lines we draw around ourselves to maintain balance and protect our bodies, minds, emotions, and time from the behaviour or demands of others.
They provide the framework to keep us from being used or manipulated by others, and they allow us to confidently express who we are and what we want in life.
Personal boundaries allow us to be in the driver’s seat of our own lives. I also defined the 5 types of personal boundaries which are physical, mental, Spiritual, sexual, emotional…. If you missed out on last week show you can click on the link There is nothing wrong in saying NO (healthy boundaries) part 1
Today I will discuss the effects of poor boundaries
(1)Frustration and resentment
When you do not have healthy boundaries you continually feel like you are being pushed around. You feel irritable, resentful, frustrated and the reason for feeling this way may not be obvious in the beginning.
On closer inspection you may find that someone has assumed that you will drop everything to go along with his/her plans and you realise your frustration is related to being taken for granted, a typical feeling experienced when your boundaries are not set. Setting boundaries means taking care of your needs before you can assist your friends and family members.
(2)Being used as a doormat
When you have poor boundaries you often feel taken advantage of, used or that your desires are unimportant. The result of unclear boundaries and others not knowing where they stand with you is that there is a much greater risk of being used as a doormat. It need not be malicious but if you never say no to anyone then you can understand that they will continue to ask for favours and ply you with work and requests because the message you send allows them to do this. If you speak up when asked to do something you are not happy with then others will be able to understand and respect your needs and limits. You have to respect yourself by putting those boundaries in place before you can expect others to respect you.
(3)Too much energy is put in too few rewards
In a relationship with unhealthy boundaries or no boundaries, like feeling responsible for other’s happiness: it feels like too much energy is being put in with too few rewards. This is because in this relationship you are doing the work, you are trying to please the other party and too little of that positive emotional energy is being reciprocated. The relationship becomes unbalanced and suffers.
You may also feel physically exhausted as your emotional and physical reserves are being depleted, with no functioning ‘top up’ system to replace these reserves
(4)Feeling guilty when you say ‘No’ and meaning ‘No’ when you say ‘Yes’
If you feel guilty all the time when you are honest about your feelings or you are always trying to hide your Nos in the yeses (people pleasing) the down side is that you cannot be open to people when you feel repressed by them and your frustration will show through passive aggression and resentment…
passive aggression could be in the form of sharp comments, cracking sarcastic jokes or make some subtle actions that let a little of your negative feelings seep out( like doing a favour half-heartedly). It may come out as an unexpectedly strong outburst to something seemingly minor.
Stress and depression is another downside to people pleasing… Remember stress is having more demands that you can handle… If you have the constant feeling like you are too busy and doing everything for everyone else but yourself…. People Pleasing can turn into a vicious cycle of chronic stress and unhealthy behaviours
(5)An unhealthy relationship leads to co-dependency
Without healthy boundaries or with very weak boundaries, you simply cannot have healthy relationships. You give up a part of yourself to be available or accommodating. Or you become so entangled with another person and their needs (co-dependent behaviour) that you lose your own identity.
(6)Loss of identity
Acting against your integrity or values in order to please, not speaking up when you have something to say, Adopting another person’s beliefs or ideas so you are accepted. Not defining and communicating your emotional needs in your closest relationships can lead to loss of identity…
An enmeshed boundary can be summarised as follows: it feels like you are an extension of someone else. The other person makes the decisions; you go along with it. The other person makes demands; you meet these demands.
In a relationship with unhealthy boundaries or enmeshed boundaries your behaviour or opinion is seen as a direct reflection on the other person. You do not have the freedom of behaving according to your beliefs as your beliefs have to be those of the other person in the enmeshed relationship. Your behaviour has to meet with the approval of this other person. It is as if the other person is in control of your life and for various reasons you do not feel like you can stand up to this person. Often when there are unhealthy boundaries.
When you have weak personal boundaries, every act of compliance, self-denial, or neediness chips away at your self-respect and the respect that others have for you. You are in a constant state of insecurity.
The sad irony is that we set weak boundaries believing our behaviour will win the love and respect of others. And other people will certainly take advantage of this willing nature. But their respect for you will diminish over time, undermining the love you hoped to maintain.
“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.” ~Joan Didion
Food for thought
Setting healthy boundaries means that you make the decision to be your own person, you learn to say ‘No’ when you are asked to do something which goes above and beyond and would mean losing track of your own identity.
You stand up for your personal rights to make decisions without the undue influence of friends and relatives.
If you cannot go shopping with your mother because you have other important plans then you do not allow yourself to be convinced to change these plans, you stand your ground and offer your mother an alternate date.
Having a healthy boundary in a relationship means that each individual is able to be whole and separate from the other. Time together is enjoyed as it is not seen as a duty. Effort is put into the relationship and reciprocated because both parties feel respected and appreciated. If the other person chooses to have different views to yours then this is accepted, it is not seen as a reflection on you as the person is separate from you.
stay tuned next week the finale I will discuss ways to set healthy boundaries in our lives