A Series on Boundaries: Post 2

Building on our post from yesterday, today we will look at how poor boundaries may have found a way into your operating system.

Our sense of personal space is intuitive; we often know when someone is asking too much of us, the situation in front of us doesn’t make sense, or someone’s (or our own) reaction is “over-the-top.” What tends to interrupt our intuition, however; is doubt – if we don’t have a strong sense of self, we can often get pulled into situations and relationships where poor boundaries are plentiful. Here are some common causes of poor boundary formation:

  • A too rigid or strict upbringing. Growing up in a home in which you had no freedom to make decisions can lead you to not feeling confident in making them as an adult; often putting you in a place of relying on others for boundary making.
  • An overly permissive upbringing. Poor boundaries can also result when you grow up in a home with no structure – this can make your own boundary making too ‘loosey-goosey.”
  • The tendency to be a people-pleaser. Let’s face it, if we can’t say no, we are not going to have great boundaries.
  • Having experienced trauma as a child. Very often, if you were the victim of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, you can begin to experience and believe that your space is not your own.
  • Living in a co-dependent household. Having an alcoholic parent for example, can lead to co-dependency. So can living in a closed family system. Any time there is co-dependency, poor boundaries are present.
  • Having been a parentified child. If we were taught as a young child to take care of our parent (either physically or emotionally), we may have difficulty in our adult lives in setting proper boundaries with others.
  • Learned behaviour. Having watched a caregiver subscribe to poor boundaries can easily lead us to following the same path.
  • Poor self-esteem or lack of identity. If we don’t have a secure sense of self, we can fall prey to poor boundaries as we rely on others to feel good about ourselves.

If you recognize yourself in any of these descriptions, an important step is to start there. Become curious; explore. Seek help to do so if necessary. Understanding how poor boundary formation came about is an important connecting dot in getting to a place where healthy boundaries are a part of your operating system.

Tomorrow we will take a look at healthy boundaries and how behaviour and responsibility are key components to creating healthy space around you.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Will Malott on Unsplash

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