Personal boundaries are the imaginary lines we make around ourselves to maintain balance and protect our bodies, minds, emotions, and time from the behavior or demands of others.
They provide a framework for us not to use or manipulate others, and they allow us to confidently express who we are and what we want in life.
How to understand when personal boundaries are violated
Personal boundaries are violated where you have to give up your needs and submit to the demands of society. The person does not want to perform, but he is forced to. To be accepted, approved, successful. Gradually, the habit of giving in becomes the norm. Rejection of one’s own values causes justified resentment, anger, irritation, anxiety. Each time the person is forced to agree with the requirement, the person feels guilty for the inability to say “no”. But he continues to behave like a victim, yielding to external pressure.
You can understand that personal boundaries are violated by the characteristic symptoms-beliefs:
- Fear of losing relationships. A person may feel that if he refuses a request, it will be considered rude and narcissism. And no one wants to deal with a rude person. therefore
- The desire to be friends with everyone. Open, positive people want to maintain friendly relations with everyone around them. When faced with a threat, they cannot defend themselves. By constantly avoiding conflicts, they do not learn to get out of them and prefer to retreat.
- Having boundaries is selfish. People brought up in the spirit of collectivism consider it normal to have no boundaries and do not allow others to set them. An attempt to defend their independence is perceived as defiance and a potential threat.
- The needs of others are more important. This behavior is typical of mothers who give up their needs for the sake of their children. Choosing the role of victim, they demand recognition of their feat, but the problem is that no one asked them to renounce themselves.
- A responsible person has to do it himself. Successful people who have achieved everything by their work do not know how to ask for help. It seems to them that accepting help is showing their weakness.
These attitudes are formed in childhood, often a person is not aware of them. Intuitively realizing that his behavior is harmful and wrong, he gets angry with himself and moves further away from the true “I”.
How to reclaim personal boundaries
The magic of the word “no”
Blurring the boundaries, a person invites the other to take control of his life, allows himself to be controlled. A dependent, insecure person is the best bait for a manipulator. He rules – the victim obeys. Outwardly, such a relationship looks harmonious, but they are harmful to both. The manipulator torments himself and his partner with jealousy, overprotectiveness and the desire for complete control. The victim becomes weak-willed, mentally unstable, nervous.
Cultivating psychological boundaries begins with accepting your physical body. As long as a person perceives him separately from himself, he will not learn to meet the needs for good rest, good nutrition, and sufficient physical activity. The connection of the psyche with the body helps to understand the boundaries of the personality, presenting them as something real, tangible.
Having defined your comfort zone, you need to outline the boundaries for other people. To do this, you need to learn to say “no”. Refusal – red light of the traffic light, the demand will stop. Having mastered the skill of refusal, a person gets rid of the unnecessary and harmful, not allowing him to penetrate into his personality. To understand which people are negative, you can use the simple exercise “My House”.
Psycho-gymnastics: exercise “My home”
To complete the exercise, you will need a sheet of paper and colored pencils. You need to draw a circle in the center of the paper and sign with your name. Next, you should draw circles that will represent family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues. When all the names that pop up in memory are inscribed in their circles, you need to evaluate how they are located on the sheet. The closer they are to each other, the shorter the psychological distance. If the circle enters another, the border with this person is violated. If the circles touch, the relationship is close, trusting. If there is another circle between them, the relationship is formal.
For each circle, you should choose the color to which your hand will reach. The palette also has its own meaning: significant people are painted with bright colors, insignificant people with faded colors, enemies with dark colors.
How to defend personal boundaries in your professional life
The inability to refuse overwork, to substitute for colleagues, and not to ask for reciprocal services, to be afraid to take initiative is a typical behavior of an employee with blurred boundaries.
Intervention in someone else’s personality at work is the forcible transfer of professional relationships into loved ones. Psychologists identify 4 types of employee behavior that contribute to excessive intimacy:
- Details of personal life. Throwing out on people the details of personal life (especially concerning intimate spheres) has always been considered a sign of bad taste. It is unlikely that a colleague is ready to discuss topics intended for close friends. Trying to engage in such a conversation is confusing and annoying and certainly does not help build a working relationship.
- Too fast approach. There is a type of people who behave like sticky fish. They perceive the moment of acquaintance as an invitation to close friendship. Disguising their familiarity as hospitality, they take offense at the desire to distance themselves and keep their personal zone inviolable.
- Obsessive love. Some office romances inspire deeds of labor. But for most people, they get in the way. Obsessive attention, especially from a manager, puts the employee in an awkward position. He feels obliged to reciprocate, but there is no feeling and no desire. An unlucky admirer is a real problem that gets in the way of focusing on work.
- Service for the sake of service. Helping a colleague is not a crime. But this help is not always selfless. The desire to take patronage over a newcomer in a team is a typical behavior of a manipulator. He does not want to help, he strives to subdue.
Noticing one of the types of manipulative behavior behind your colleagues, you need to immediately draw a distance. Distinguishing personal and business responsibilities will help establish professional relationships. In the labor code, there is no clause obliging to let colleagues into their personal space.
How to assert personal boundaries in the family
Refusing a loved one is much more difficult. It is especially difficult to say no to parents. Many mothers unknowingly manipulate their children, making them feel guilty about every step they take. Blackmail, threats, pressure on pity are used. It is possible to break this codependency of a mother and an adult child by separation – by moving to another home at least for a while.
Of course, the mother will be categorically against it. It is necessary to prepare for hysterics, imitation of a serious illness and other tools from the arsenal of the manipulator. The process of cutting the mental “umbilical cord” is difficult and painful for both, but this is the only way to convince the parent that the child has grown up, he now has his own life.
It is necessary to build relationships with a husband or wife according to the principle of reasonable rapprochement. A normal family consists of mentally grown people who love and respect each other, but do not dissolve in their partner. Breaking personal boundaries in a relationship is:
- the requirement to provide a password from the page on the social network;
- frequent calls to find out the location;
- resentment due to a slight delay home from work;
- suspicion of treason;
- the habit of saying “we”, meaning only ourselves;
- a ban on meeting friends;
- imposing their interests, ignoring the interests of a partner.
To align boundaries, you need to learn to put yourself above the relationship. This is not selfishness, but a healthy position of a person who respects his own interests and the interests of a partner.