As, I suspect is the case for most of us, the subject of personal boundaries was literally NEVER raised in my own life and so never came into my awareness until painful experience cracked open that particular nut. As a result, I literally NEVER had any! At least, not that I was able to firmly establish and have others respect.
I basically didn't understand the Terms & Conditions of the deal.
Any deal ..
nor the 'language' of strong self-esteem. In fact, for the longest time, I hadn't even come to the realisation that what I had instead was a free pass I unconsciously handed out to anyone who entered into my orbit to take precedence over me.
I was always available; always first to make the phone call; always the one to organise; always the first under my own microscope when relationships appeared to be going awry; always the one to take responsibility for trying to fix things; always putting up with inappropriate behaviour because I didn't feel ok about saying 'hang on, wait a minute, that is not ok with me' .. you know the story. Probably not that much different from your own.
Especially if you're a woman.
Like so many of us who are still subject to the cultural message that we are 'less than' men, I had for years been unwittingly been giving tacit permission for people to dump on me, mistreat me, think little of me, to not value or respect me. I allowed all kinds of unwanted circumstances to exist in my world. Whether that be
intrusions into my personal thoughts, feelings, matters, space;
offensive / abusive words or behaviour aimed directly at me because I was too damned afraid to walk away, too insecure to think anyone else would want to be with me, too wrapped up in the thinking that to be a good woman, I must 'save' a man (from himself); too scared of feeling like a bad wife, or that I was selfish, or that I had ideas above my station;
demands I did not want to agree to but did anyway, just because I felt like I wasn't being a good mum / wife / daughter / sister / friend / person if I spoke aloud what I was really feeling inside instead of the soft, inoffensive, wishy-washy platitudes uttered where I might have said something akin to f*** the f*** off!
Generally speaking, it's not a feature of our social conditioning that we have a RIGHT to our own personal boundaries! Consequently, it just seemed like a nice idea that people should respect my needs and treat them as of equal importance to their own, but not any kind of realistic possibility!
Now, a few years post divorce 😳 things are very different!
This matter of not having learned about Personal Boundaries has HUGELY affected my life and my relationships - particularly the most significant ones.
What this meant in practice was that I didn't think I had any right to privacy, nor to determine who actually deserved to be in my life and so gave of myself, my friendship, my loyalty, and yes .. even my bod (though that was sometimes a bit more fun than the other ways I was unboundaried!.😉
I feel this could be an ever so slightly mahoosive hornet's nest for so many of us.
In pondering this, a few questions cropped up to ask myself:
How comfortable am I with the reality of having a right to set boundaries?
How easy or difficult do I find it to identify my boundaries (to have a coherently formed idea about where I might need to set boundaries)?
Have I ever put time and effort into clarifying what my boundaries are?
Have I been able to form a clear enough understanding in my own mind about personal boundaries to be able to communicate them to others?
How has or does it make me feel to communicate a boundary to others, and have I followed through with that (difficult) conversation?
If not, what happened instead, and how has or does that make me feel?
How easy or difficult is it for me to allow others to be accountable for their boundary transgressions, rather than rush to ease their discomfort or allow them to wriggle off the hook
Where on earth do I begin to understand what it means to have boundaries in my life and how do I do it?
If you long to improve your relationships with the people who really matter to you; reclaim your power; become a much more effective communicator and transform all areas of your life where your have connections with other people - you need to learn about Powerful Personal Boundaries!
Find out more below.
If you need support with this process, I run a 6 Week online Course on how to establish
POWERFUL PERSONAL BOUNDARIES
that will transform your life & relationships!
LEADING EDGE COMMUNICATION
on the link below
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