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Why do we find it difficult to establish boundaries with others?




Why is it that even though we are aware of a situation where we feel that our capacity has reached the maximum or we have a clear inner signal that we want to stop something, leave, or say no, we still might feel like we have to stay or say yes and therefore go past our inner signals?

 

Then we often end up feeling internal pressure as well as resentment towards the other person that they did not consider us or think about changing the situation themselves.


Usually there are two main reasons when it comes to difficulties in asserting a boundary:


1. We have an emotional trigger/imprint in relation to the person or their actions which does not let us establish the boundary as we are afraid we might lose something (usually love/belonging/acceptance) if we do put a boundary up.

Example:


Sarah's mother in law is constantly asking her to help her out with various things and expects her to be available all the time but Sarah feels guilty to say no to her or place a boundary for how much capacity and time she has to help.


What happens in this scenario is that the reason that Sarah does not put a boundary is because she has learned to put her needs aside for others and she is afraid that if she expresses how she really feels she might lose the other person's love/acceptance.


Because of this programming no matter how much she tries to assert and hold a boundary, her unconscious mind will not consider it safe to do so and so that she avoids the pain of the possibility of losing the connection, she will avoid putting a boundary and will carry on suppressing herself.


To understand this better, think of a situation where you would like to put up or hold a boundary in a relationship with someone and yet you feel unable to.


Observe what goes on in your body in that moment, do you maybe feel frozen, or have a sense of fear?


Do you experience shame or guilt?


When you discover what is the emotion/sensation around putting up a boundary - even though your mind thinks it's a good idea, see what happens in your body.


This will show you what the trigger point is in terms of what is imprinted in your system in relation to holding a boundary and then proceeding to do what you actually want to do whether that's leaving, saying no or stopping a situation.


2. We believe that boundaries are related to what the other person will do or not do, while in reality the boundary is about how much we are willing to accept and be in that situation or not.


Example:


If a person is behaving in a controlling way towards you, the boundary is about you not accepting this behaviour any further, so while you do give them a chance to change their behaviour by communicating the boundary, if they don't change you can remove yourself from the situation so that you protect your boundary from being broken, or provide other natural consequences such as "I will have to reduce the time I can give to you" etc. That means that you are in control of the boundary regardless of what the other person does or doesn't do.


When we assess what possible trigger we have over the boundary and which does not let us put it in place (as in example 1) and also see what we can do to hold the boundary regardless of the person's actions (as in example 2), it will get easier to navigate our relationships while honouring our truth. 💫

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