I’ve talked for years about boundaries and why they’re important, because it’s been an area of my life that has needed attention—at times emergency attention. Where boundaries are weak, toxicity is not far behind, and it shows up most often in close relationships.
I’ve spoken before, about the relationship with my mother in another article, and where boundaries were grossly lacking. I learned to recognize her issues as well as my own, but that didn’t prevent me from entering into a toxic relationship with a man who didn’t even know what boundaries were.
When he wanted to move in with me after only having dated 3 months, and had an angry meltdown when I declined, I knew something was wrong—my gut told me to run, but I was already hooked— toxic, boundary-crossing relationships can be the hardest to escape. It was downhill from there. I found myself walking on eggshells daily. From sexual advances at (grossly) inappropriate times and constant gas-lighting, to extravagant over-gifting backed with rage, this four-year relationship reduced me to a shell of a person with full-blown PTSD.
Thank God I found the courage to leave.
I came across a video series about Ho’oponopono and was able to free myself from the shame, low self esteem and loss of hope I was left with, living in a small apartment with two young children. It wasn’t long after practicing Ho’oponopono that I turned my business around, met the best man on the planet and landed on a more Blissed-out trajectory than I could ever have imagined.
It’s not uncommon for boundary issues to sneak up on you, creating nasty, gut-wrenching angst. You may not even be sure of the source, it just feels BAD.
You may experience boundary problems from others in the following areas:
- Someone often asks too much of you, demanding inappropriate amounts of your time or attention.
- A family member that has unrealistic expectations of you because it’s “family”.
- Your boss asks you to take on more work, often without compensation.
- A friend pressures you into doing things you’re uncomfortable with.
- A partner asks something of you they know you can’t perform, then explodes with anger when you fail (a form of gas-lighting).
- Your mother makes plans with / for you without asking first.
- Your adult son or daughter refuses to get a job and move out of the house.
You may experience boundary problems with others, but you’re the real problem:
- You over-give of your time and resources without being asked, then feel resentful or angry about it.
- You have expectations of people they can’t or won’t live up to.
- You obsess or worry inappropriately about others.
- You over-help, or take on other people’s problems, often compromising your own emotional state.
- You’re constantly giving unsolicited advise.
- You have difficulty or inability to say no.
- You do things so others will like you.
- You have difficulty or inability to self-advocate, or accept fair compensation for your work.
- You have difficulty or inability to accept praise or gifts, even from well-meaning sources.
While just recognizing where your boundaries are weak is a great start, recovery really begins with practicing self love and learning to self advocate.
Simple, right? Not always.
It’s a little-by-little process, that takes persistence and practice. Start in small ways:
- The next time someone asks too much of you, gracefully decline, even if you could have helped.
- Say no to that date you don’t want to go on, without making an excuse.
- Be radically honest (stop making excuses).
- Stop worrying about other people’s problems—force yourself to focus on your own life, and work to solve some of your own problems.
Recovery is possible. Gradually, you can learn to self-advocate, to say no, to stop apologizing or making excuses. Through a process of self love and the recognition that your life matters, your preference matters, and you matter, you’ll begin to lay the groundwork for healthy boundaries that create win / win situations wherever you go. It’s only from that place of self-love and self-respect that you can truly be of service to others. Bliss will not be far behind.
If you’d like to learn more about how to create a Happier life, join me in my FREE video series, Finding Bliss, and learn how to create more ease, calm and joy in your life! It all starts September 13!