“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.”
– Brené Brown
Boundary is one thing we rarely talk about in many abusive relationships until we get to the point where “we can’t take it anymore!” It’s like more people find it too cumbersome to do, or are totally ignorant about how to go about having a healthy space between them and their emotional abusers. This shouldn’t be though. Unless we don’t have a full grasp of what a boundary means when it comes to relationships.
Creating a boundary in a relationship is our attempt to let the parties to the relationship know how we want to be treated by asserting our needs and expectations before them. This way, everyone is aware of their roles, and your expectations of them. So there’s no room for pretence or feigned ignorance as excuses to do anyhow in a way that continually hurts you.
Boundary shouldn’t happen only when we require a police order to limit a brutal ex-lover’s distance from us. Boundary can also be mentally asserted too. In fact, it’s more preventive to have it that way before issues would degenerate to having a police order to protect you.
I consider creating a boundary the right way to protect our space from intruders, backstabbers and emotional abusers. It serves to help us filter our space from unwanted or even unnecessary entrance for those we desire to have some limits with.
I get asked when one should consider setting a boundary a lot by some of my clients. And my simple response has always been to do so as soon as you start to feel uncomfortable, and unsafe; whether emotionally or physically, around the person.
We don’t always have to wait until they’ve projected all their pain and anger on us before we know to limit their access to us.
Once you’ve observed that you are often made to seem small, insignificant or often manipulated against your will, then it’s time to begin the work of creating a healthy space to protect your mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, too many people wait far too long because of their assumptions about the person’s potential future change. This delusion have caused more harm than good. Don’t fall into this trap.
People often lack boundaries because of their fear of what people would say about them, or for their lack of knowledge about who they are, and what they really want from the relationship. This makes it easier for anyone and anything to happen in their space without decorum.
Codependency, without a corresponding balancing independence traits, can make one become too needy. When you’re too needy, it can be really difficult to have a boundary around you because you fear that the unavailability, or lesser availability of this person’s presence in your life would make you lonely. So you tend to manage the situation by bearing their unfortunate abuse of you just so you can at least still have people around. This is a risky personal behaviour that have led many people to their early graves, because most of these narcissistic individuals don’t care about your pain.
It’s important then to love yourself enough to always see when you are in danger, in order to act to prevent this, at least for the cases under your control. Then you can be rest assured of having done your own part in cases where you had no control whatsoever.
Creating a boundary can serve us many benefits.
One of the major benefits that is easily noticeable and felt is the peace that having a healthy boundary can bring into our lives.
When we’re in a relationship with anyone who constantly looks for opportunities to make us feel bad about ourselves, or just to throw out their frustrations at us, life can be unbearable with their presence. Unless we let them know how we will not accept such treatment from them, or else keep away from them, we may continue to suffer mentally.
Having boundary with such persons who often do not care how their words or deeds hurts others can increase our peace levels.
When someone constantly treats you badly, over time, you may start to show resentment towards them, regardless of their position or level of authority over your life.
This resentment is because you feel bad about them always mistreating you, but helpless about the situation.
At the same time, you may experience anger towards yourself too, for allowing them treat you unfairly.
Both the anger and the resentment aren’t helpful for your emotional wellness.
So when you create a boundary between you and this person, you have less chances of going through anger and resentment. Both moods can upset your psychological wellbeing. This means that boundary can reduce your chances of being mentally drained with anger towards yourself and the resentment against others. Thus making you more stable emotionally.
One of the reasons for boundary in the first place is for mental and emotional stability.
Safety is also a huge benefit of having a healthy boundary in your relationship. As with physical boundaries between borders of different nations and states, having a mental and emotional boundary also gives us a feeling of being protected and safe from the dangerous venoms abusers can throw at us.
Also, the opportunity to have our rights to privacy is important. Trespassers of our personal space deny us the grace of privacy over our own lives. Boundary is therefore an opportunity for us to guard that space, and ensure only the people whose presence we truly want are available in there. Thereby, giving us the opportunity to also have more time with the people and things that matters the most to us, without having to waste it with those who do not care about us.
To create a healthy boundary, it’s important you are aware of your own needs. This is very key. Otherwise, it becomes difficult to know when your needs are not being met, or are being intentionally denied to make you suffer.
You have to know what it is exactly you need in a relationship by having a good knowledge of yourself. This is where self awareness comes in to play.
Also, it’s important that you pay close attention to your feelings, because that’s your way of knowing when you’re being trampled on. You have to be aware of how uncomfortable the person or situation makes you feel, and how that is not helpful to your emotional wellness. Then you assert your needs in order to make the bad feelings dissipate. This would mean ensuring these needs and expectations are met, which is the boundary you’re ensuring here.
Once that is set, you must follow through with the consequences of trespassing. Just like some immigrants face the law of a country where they had entered illegally, so should the intruders and trespassers who engage in an illegal entrance into your life against the mapped out guidelines be made to bear the consequences. Otherwise, you would not be taken seriously.
If you’re creating a boundary then it’s time to ensure your no is no, and your yes is yes. This is the only way you’d be taken seriously. Otherwise you’d be seen as only “making mouth.”
It’s important you know at this point that boundary isn’t for physical and mental intruders and trespassers alone. It can be utilized as a way to stop those who intentionally abuse you silently by always ignoring you when they shouldn’t because of their attempts to make you feel unseen and unheard. These lots are the worst silent emotional abusers, who have shown by their non verbal cues that they have no regard for you. Take them off your space immediately, or risk being in their shadows.
Creating a mental and emotional boundary for your own emotional wellness and safety is a great step in the right direction when it comes to saying you’ve had it enough in a lopsided relationship.
However, it depends so much on your ability to know what trespassing is to you in the relationship, and what it is exactly you truly want. Once these are settled, it becomes easier to use boundary to have your needs and expectations met, major part of which is a peace of mind!
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