Today’s article will be from a two-part series on setting boundaries. Setting boundaries in a relationship can be a challenge, yet establishing a border can help people identify who they are as an individual. Many people have trouble setting boundaries. In relationships, a boundary is what divides one person so they can have separate identities. Healthy borders show respect for one another. Limits are important to have so that you do not become enmeshed with other people’s problems, and have difficulty setting parameters to their request. Sometimes, individuals lack constraints because they feel over-responsible for other people, and they are consumed by guilt and what others think of them. Individuals lack restrictions because boundaries were never shown to them, such as with childhood sexual abuse. Someone with a history of abuse, often lacks healthy limitations, and everybody’s needs and concerns become their needs and concerns. They do not know where they begin and others end; oftentimes, because they were violated and do not know that they have the right to say, “No.” Signs that you have trouble setting boundaries:
- You go along with the requests and demands of others.
- You take on the burdens of others, as if they were your own.
- You have a history of abuse or permissive parents with no limits or discipline.
- You need the approval of others and have a fear of man, and care deeply about what people think.
- You feel guilty if you’re not able to do what others expect.
- You oftentimes, feel used, exhausted, and irritated at the constant demands of others, but you are not able to set healthy parameters.
- You are unaware of your own needs and have a difficult time taking care of personal needs.
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25 Boundaries protect us from those who lack self-control, and try to manipulate us to get what they want. A person with healthy limitations takes responsibility for their own life and allows others to take responsibility for their lives. Problems setting limits are a main reason people get stressed. It is important to speak the truth, always in love, to those who would violate our boundaries. As Christians, we feel to love someone, we should be long-suffering, and accept the person just as they are. One can continue to give and give, and continue on the “crazy cycle,” because we feel it’s the “Christian” thing to do. Hurt and resentment can begin to fester if the person we are trying to help continues their sequence of bad behavior. There are two sides of love the Bible teaches about; one is acceptance and forgiveness, and the other is truth and righteous behavior. Love is not always giving people what they want or expect. Boundaries, By Drs. Cloud & Townsend. Be sure to check next week for part two on setting boundaries with loved ones.