Interpersonal boundaries should be flexible, safe, and connected

I feel the need to make a quick comment on interpersonal boundaries.  What are boundaries?  Boundaries are the limits to behaviors within any given relationship.  For example, a person who has difficulties saying no, even when he needs to say no to something, has weak boundaries.  So, the best way to approach human relationships is through boundaries that are (taken from the Seeking Safety Training Manual, by Lisa Najavitz):

  1. Flexible: you are able to be both close and distant, adapting to the situation.  You are able to let go of relationships are destructive and able to connect with relationships that are nurturing.
  2. Safe: You are able to protect yourself from exploitation by others.
  3. Connected:  you are able to engage in balanced relationships with others and maintain them over time. As conflicts arise, you are able to work them out.

I strongly believe that if people could employ these types of boundaries within their relationships, they’d have a lot less self-esteem issues.  See, when we allow people to violate our own sense of identity, we then communicate to ourselves some form of negative energy. For example, I know several people who seem to find the same type of abusive relationships over and over again.  Part of it is that they re-create similar patterns because to them, intense relationships are normal.  But, part of those repeated patterns is that their sense of interpersonal boundaries are weak and those that they do have they don’t believe worthy of defending.  Therefore, they open themselves up to exploitation.

I offer these three suggestions as I finish off a difficult work week.  Though I maybe made some enemies, I will sleep well because regardless of what happens, I will never allow myself to exploited or victimized by anyone’s sense of bad juju.  I encourage everyone to reflect on their relationships in order to gain a sense of how they treat others and how they allow themselves to be treated.  We are all worthy of respect and love