Updated: Oct 4, 2019
When it's a healthy boundary, both parties are ALWAYS aware of each person's feelings and needs. The only way to be mindful of that is healthy communication. PERIOD. Moreover, I believe the KEY to our survival as humans. I'm going to give you two unhealthy examples and one good example. The first cases, are more about rejection, acting out feelings and needs, and lack of awareness. Here are just a few of my scenario's that have been worked through by some teachers, therapists and guides, we collaborated on this blog post, in the hope we can all work through some shared pain.
I recently lost a relationship with a close friend; she felt like a soul sister. This soul sister friend of mine is a professional grief therapist and coach. Ironically enough, and thank you universe for your lesson, our friendship dissolved during a time where I was experiencing deep grief; I had lost three friends in five days! Now, I own that I was probably challenging to be around as I tried to make sense of so much death around me. Also, perhaps my inability to make sense of my own emotions at the time could have crossed a boundary with my friend, as well. We are all only human. However, the lesson this showed to me was that our friendship was conditional.
I have another friend, who swears and yells at people when she's in pain. When we tell her it is not OK, she unfriends us and holds our relationships hostage. Tells us we hurt her, no matter how unconditionally we adore her. All of her friends have accepted this behavior. We know this is a learned behavior. We won't take this as our issue, and we know this is her anger. She needs to own this. We know she feels terrible about herself when she behaves this way, shame is a heavy burden to bear. We also know, it is way easier to blame us, set a false boundary than take responsibility. We've played this game for decades. As a recovering co-dependent with some self-esteem issues, it took me years to not take this personally.
My husband commutes in horrific traffic, and I call him the Hulk. I'm madly in love with Bruce Banner, and I'm not super crazy about the Hulk. My father was Hulky, and when my husband gets this way, it brings up some insecurities in me. I take it all very personally. I turned into a 6-year-old little girl. When he comes in psycho from traffic, I start to internalize, and somehow, it's all my fault, and my stomach starts going. I had to be honest with him, and he had to hear me. It took time and facilitation to work through this behavior. Now, He comes home a happy, healthy Bruce, and we are all so much better because of the communication.
I think what I've learned throughout decades of friendship and two marriages. We run from ourselves, not others. Boundary has become this social media catchphrase, that's as misused as the word karma. (this blog post is coming, stay tuned). Remember, just as a lot of the time, we have no idea why we react, our friends and loved ones often have no idea what they are doing and, most importantly, why it's so much easier to blame others than look within. When they reject us or punish us by taking away their love, they are punishing themselves by loving conditionally. Something society has taught us to do, over and over again.
Remember, there is no such thing as perfect, and that would be pretty boring. Love yourself and others for doing their very best. Even if their best, doesn't match up to your version of "best." Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.