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Gillian Sanger

Boundaries in relationships

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For a long time I thought that if I was 'spiritual enough', I should be okay with anything OTHER THAN abuse in a relationship; that if something didn't sit right with me, it was largely my own problem that needed changing.

However, in the past few years I've started to understand that healthy boundaries in a relationship are crucial, and that it is a sign of strength to be able to express our needs, hopes, and wishes in an intimate relationship. Of course, we also benefit from being open to the idea that our boundaries and needs can shift and adapt overtime as trust in a relationship grows.

Does anyone have experience with navigating personal needs and establishing boundaries?

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I realize now that through many years of turmoil  my personal boundaries were consistently violated. I was groomed and accepted this just was. I didn’t know my birth right.  Now through connecting and learning about who I am and creating my own personal bill of rights. I now honor myself more . and diplomatically assert. I find with body scan work and breath work I try to be more aware instead of walking away confused. 

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On 12/19/2019 at 5:09 AM, Bluebabee said:

I now honor myself more . and diplomatically assert. I find with body scan work and breath work I try to be more aware instead of walking away confused. 

Thank you for sharing this! I agree that body awareness can be so helpful. In certain challenging situations, I often notice a knot in my throat, which I usually take as a sign that I'm holding something back or afraid of sharing my feelings. Breathing helps me too, to come back to the present moment from where I can assess my feelings more clearly.

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I learned to use my intuition and live by it.  When I was growing up I always felt other people.  I did not like them near me because they would break my boundaries and be too close.  Sometimes a room full of people was too much and again was breaking the boundaries. 

I also grew up with 2 older brothers and an older and younger sister.  There always seemed to be trouble waiting somewhere.  I never knew what we did, but we all got in trouble.  There was a lot of yelling when my dad was home.  PTSD from the war changed everything.  It became a boundary no, no.  My instant reaction was to cry.  To this day I cannot stand someone yelling.  I was almost 30 before learning how to cope with disappointing others.  

This boundary, or intuition alarm that would set off happened throughout my young life.  I did not know what it was.  I had it when I married. Bad marriage.  I had it at a psyche unit, locked; I was assaulted.  I began noticing all the things that happen to me badly when I ignored this intuition boundary alarm.  After many premonitions, close calls and friendly suggestions that all appeared I learned the hard way, I must follow this energy field to a better life.  

Since I divorced after 30 years, kids are grown and have 4 grand kids.  I follow this warning sign. Stay where I need to be with boundaries set and in place.  It does not matter what anyone else thinks.  SET THE BOUNDARY AND STICK TO IT.  I am living so much happier and joyful since I have.  I call it a life changer topic.   

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Posted (edited)

This is a great topic. I'm exploring how mindfulness can help with strengthening personal boundaries both physically/energetically and then with communicating them or acting in accordance with these boundaries (not disrespecting our own boundaries.)  Awareness is of course a first step, noticing when our boundaries feel too weak or too strong (which is also an issue!) and what this feels like inside. I often find that I'm aware that my boundaries feel weak or non existent yet feel helpless to change that in the moment. I'm curious how, with mindfulness, we can take the next step to change the felt sense of our boundaries either to firm them up, or loosen them when we are overly guarded to our own detriment. An important part of this is being able to be grounded in one's body and not be overly permeable to someone else's energy to the point that we merge with their experience (enmeshment) and ignore our own. Does anyone have any insights into this? 

Edited by bombabird
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@bombabird - Ahh, yes. It's certainly a balancing act between boundaries being either too weak or too firm.

For me what's really helped is softening what I think I know about my boundaries - and then letting my intuition about things rise. It can take some time to soften the thinking mind when it comes to boundaries, but I think it's a process that needs to occur (and in its own time!). Knowing we don't need to rush to a clear cut answer also helps.

Awareness of where we use words like 'should' is also helpful - i.e. I 'should' be okay with this, I 'shouldn't' be like this. Instead, we can ask 'what's true for me now?', knowing that this might/will likely shift over time.

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Posted (edited)

I really love that question - whats true for me now? and then the practice being to honor that and respond from that place. I find that when I don't, it feels like betraying my inner integrity.

Edited by bombabird
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