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  • Michaela Patel


We teach others how we like to be treated, what we accept, and what we don't.

It sounds easy and straightforward, but is it really that simple?

To become a TEACHER one must have studied the subject, mastering its knowledge from all possible angles. Not only that. He or she must have successfully implied this knowledge into his or her life.

What do we know about boundaries?

Have we studied the matter or do we ASSUME that we are the experts just because when we get angry at others they tend to back off?

Do we know how to lay down healthy boundaries, or do we just assume that others ‘will know’ how we like to be treated? Do our past experiences in boundary management make us 'qualified enough' to teach others?

Yes, we could be experts by now with the amount of boundary violation we experienced since childhood. But, sadly, we are not...

We think we know how we like to be treated, right? Yet to our detriment the way we get used to be treated from home became the reference for us - the NORM. In other words, a boundary violation became acceptable to us even though it was far from it...

This is how we became to perceive repeated abusive behaviour as OK. This is also why we violate the boundaries of others and why our relationships became one big mess...

It is so important to want to know the truth. For example, from a controlling and highly critical parent we learn that:

A/ it is OK not to have our own life because the chosen one by them is ‘ the best' for us.

B/ it is not OK to make our own decisions because we are 'not as capable as they are’, which leads to lack of self-trust.

C/ excessive, intrusive care and worry is love.

As the result we are fearful of making choices. Our indecisiveness cripples us because we trust the critical (parental) voice in our heads. We live anxiously, constantly worrying about things which may happen. We do not feel capable of survival on our own hence heavily depend on others input of 'what is right for us'.

This is also why we are so vulnerable to abuse of the same kind from a partner who tells us what we should be doing. We get defensive and angry at times, yet believe they do this because they care and love us. We think we are fully capable of protecting our boundaries because our whole life we have had to defend ourselves. What truly happened is that we became experts on ANGRY DEFENCE and build pretty high walls around ourselves impearmable to love...

To know how heathy our boundaries are, we really need to look for how much ANGER is lurking around in our life and relationships.

The actions others take which make us mad are directly pointing towards our own long lost boundary integrity. They point towards the historical violation we no longer see and the part of us which needs healing. In time and with practice, we can uncover all our boundary indentations - our wounds we need to rehabilitate. In the process of healing process we re-gain trust in ourselves by having all of our healed wounds, with our newly restored boundaries, MAPPED in detail. By learning self-love and self-care, we stop seeking protection in others, and start believing that we are fully capable of doing this on our own. We become the confident, decisive, kind, yet firm master, who is capable of dealing with any boundary violation.

EXERCISE FOR YOU: Who are the people in your life you are most often angry with?

1. WRITE DOWN what makes you angry. Your anger points to a boundary in need of a restoration.

Then ask yourself ‘Have my carers been behaving in similar ways towards me?’ and ‘Why did I allow such behaviour?’

Recognise that you are not the helpless child anymore. You do not need to put up with such behaviour, nor does it mean they love you. Pain is pain, not love!

2. Important point to remember: Don't WASTE your energy on hating these people.

ACKNOWLEDGING how their behaviour makes you feel and letting it all out is enough to move you through and into the direction of TRANSCENDING your pain. Your pain won't go away if you keep yourself locked in hateful feelings towards others. Your anger is here to help you realise WHAT pains you. Its energy helps you to make appropriate changes. Use this energy to come up with answers to these questions: 'What needs to change for me NOT to feel this way again?' 'How can I protect me so that this does not happen in the future?'

A correct use of your energy is for self-protection, NOT for destruction of others attacking their boundaries.

Remember this: You are teaching others what is OK, and what is not. By attacking their boundaries you show them it is ok to do so! If you use your energy constructively and to your advantage, you will feel EMPOWERED to make correct changes. (Rather than perpetuating negativity by engaging in a fight, or feeling powerless by getting stuck in feeling sorry for yourself/blaming others.)

3. When you are clear on what needs to change, go and imply this PRACTICALLY to protect yourself.

If you don't feel confident enough to assert yourself, practice this first with your friends or strangers before you tacle setting boundaries with your parents/partners. Also bear in mind that those who tend to be most COMFORTABLE with crossing your boudaries are the ones who will find themselves most uncomfortable when you make changes!

You always have the CHOICE of doing something about a situation, or not. And others have the choice of RESPECTING/HONOURING your choice and you, or not. If their behaviour repeats itself, ask yourself: 'What further changes can I make for this NOT to re-occur?'

If they don’t honour your choices you must make to be happy, then you can choose to keep them out of your life. Or at least limit your exposure by reducing the amount of time you spend with them. And do not worry about the loss of relationships with emotionally unhealthy people. By setting healthy boundaries you will start attracting the right people into your life. Those who truly love and respect you, and for whom YOUR happiness isn't just a nuisance :)

Thank you for reading. If my article contributed to understanding yourself, please be generous and share it with others.

Copyright © 2016 Michaela Patel

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