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How Healthy Are Your Boundaries?

Everyone has boundaries. This blog will help you evaluate the boundaries you currently employ. By recognizing your existing boundaries, you can assess their effectiveness and consider adjustments.


Boundaries can typically be categorized as porous, rigid, or healthy.


Porous Boundaries:

Porous boundaries blur the lines between our own needs and those of others, sometimes erasing them altogether, resulting in enmeshment. Enmeshment refers to a psychological term describing a relationship dynamic where individuals' boundaries are blurred or nonexistent, leading to a lack of distinctiveness between their own thoughts, feelings, and identities and those of others. This can happen in individual relationships with family, friends, or co-workers and it can also happen in groups. Examples of groups that can foster porous boundaries are religious communities and other institutions such as school or work.

With porous boundaries, distinguishing where our identity ends and others begins becomes challenging, leading to a loss of individuality. Such boundaries make it easy for others to take advantage of us.


Examples of porous boundaries, as outlined by Therapist Aid, include:

- Oversharing personal information

- Difficulty saying no to others' requests

- Excessive involvement in others' problems

- Dependency on others' opinions

- Acceptance of abuse or disrespect

- Fear of rejection if not complying with others' demands


Rigid Boundaries:

Rigid boundaries, conversely, involve avoiding close relationships and resisting intimacy. This often creates isolation. When taken to extremes, rigid boundaries can be as detrimental as porous ones, making the world seem unsafe and unwelcoming. These boundaries may develop when allowing others into our lives feels too risky to maintain healthy boundaries.


Examples of rigid boundaries from Therapist Aid include:

- Avoidance of intimate relationships

- Reluctance to seek help

- Limited close relationships

- Excessive protection of personal information

- Detached demeanor even in close relationships

- Keeping others at a distance to avoid potential rejection


Healthy Boundaries:

Healthy boundaries recognize that meeting others' desires shouldn't come at the expense of our own. When we're attuned to ourselves, we can articulate our preferences while respecting others' beliefs and desires. Healthy boundaries also involve accepting others' boundaries, including when they say no.


Examples of healthy boundaries, according to Therapist Aid, include:

- Valuing our own opinions

- Upholding personal values without compromise

- Sharing personal information appropriately

- Awareness of personal wants and needs and effective communication of them

- Respecting others' boundaries, including their ability to say no


Cultural Influence:

Cultural norms play a significant role in shaping and maintaining boundaries. For instance, a culture that discourages public displays of emotion may lead individuals to adopt more rigid emotional boundaries.


Understanding Your Boundaries:

It's crucial to be aware of the boundaries you have. Recognize that boundaries are not inherently good or bad but simply exist. Once you understand your boundaries, you can assess them and determine if any adjustments are necessary. Ultimately, setting boundaries is about making decisions for yourself and not surrendering to societal pressure regarding what is deemed right or wrong.

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