Every relationship needs boundaries. They are the framework for a healthy relationship, and they serve an important purpose. Boundaries set the tone for our personal space and help others to respect our identity as a person. If you look around, you will find that the healthy relationships around you have a common denominator- they have set healthy boundaries. Why? Because boundaries allow each person to feel respected and safe. Some examples of healthy relationship boundaries are:
1. Requiring honesty;
2. Respecting each perspective, opinion, and each other’s feelings;
3. Taking responsibility for one’s own actions;
4. Communicating on mutual grounds;
5. Mutual interdependence NOT codependence.
With that to say- do not confuse boundaries with a person’s need for control. They are separate concepts that serve different purposes. Often manipulation will go hand in hand with control, and a person may use the word “boundaries” when trying to manipulate and control a person. If there is no communication around the boundaries that are being established, then it is a one-way conversation/street. Control only goes one way. Here are a few examples of unhealthy “boundaries” to watch out for in your relationships:
1. Dictation of one’s actions;
2. Manipulating or controlling the way a person spends their time;
3. Telling another how they need to act; and
4. Restricting a person’s right to participate in communications.
So, you haven’t set boundaries. Well, there is no time like the present! Communication is key to setting healthy boundaries which requires a two-way conversation usually around difficult subjects. When you go into the boundary conversation remember to use “I” statements such as “I feel…”, rather than “I know…”, or “You made me feel…”. Talk about what the boundary means to you and why you need the boundary in place, and remember boundaries are meant to change a person but keep you and your relationship healthy. A person who loves you will appreciate, understand, and respect your need for boundaries. If they do not…it may be time let them go.
If you are in a marriage and feel you are being controlled, and/or fear for yourself or your children and you need help getting out- give Choice a call because we can help. Call Choice at 253-486-5557.
Written by: Dawn Nelson- Legal Technician at Choice Legal Resources.