Setting Boundaries – Part 2 of 4

Now that we have defined boundaries, let’s consider the origin of our boundaries. We have found that people develop specific rules surrounding boundaries based on several factors.

  1. Learned over time – As children, our parents or guardians teach us how to live in relationship. Our first ideas of boundaries are usually based on our parents, who have told us what they believe to be appropriate boundaries. Unfortunately, our parents may not understand or be able to set boundaries. They can be enmeshed, meaning too close in relationships, or too distant in their relationships. In both situations, the boundaries are poor, thus, leading to pain and discord in relationships. In the same way that we learn about relationships from our parents, we continue to learn through other relationships as we mature. We may find that we have learned how to create unhealthy boundaries through our relationships with other adults, peers, coworkers, bosses, or even our own children.
  2. Low Self-Esteem – Often, those who have low self-esteem find it more difficult to create boundaries. When we have low confidence, we do whatever is needed to be accepted and have a relationship with others. People will “bend over backwards” as to not experience rejection. Unfortunately, this often causes the opposite effect. When we drop everything to please others, we lose our confidence in ourselves.
  3. Limited Self-Care – When we do not care for ourselves, we are unable to recognize the line between ourselves and others. We find ourselves constantly meeting the needs of those around us that we forget about our own needs. This decrease in self-care creates poor boundaries with others, thus leading to a spiral downward in how we care for ourselves. When we do not pay attention to ourselves, we are unable to see our need for boundaries.

Now that we understand the reasons for having poor boundaries, we will begin to explore how to actually create healthy boundaries in our next blog.