A Point of View on Setting Up of Personal Boundaries
I regularly hear from people their intention to set up personal boundaries within which they feel they have their own space, feel secure so that others know what is permissible in terms of their behaviour around them. There is quite a lot of use of the concept “personal boundaries” in psychology.
Those who set up their personal boundaries may tell the other person (s) how she will respond if the other person fails to respect the boundary that has been set.
These boundaries include physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and environmental limits. The person who sets the boundaries will rely upon memory, views, feelings, interpretations, perhaps ego or an inflated sense of personal priority.
A boundary keeps another outside and oneself within. Hierarchy can contribute to the setting of the boundary. Personal wealth, status and control issues can also influence the making of the boundary.
Once the personal boundary has been set, the boundary will influence both parties. It can contribute to very problematic communication in a relationship, between families, friends, neighbours and colleagues as well as others with a different view. A perpetrator may change his or her behaviour that has the potential to bring about reconciliation.
Yes, there are definitely times to set a boundary. A women find herself and perhaps her children subjected to abuse and violence. If threatened or subjected to abuse, then she (or he) needs to draw a clear line and that might mean removing herself or himself from contact with the person.
Are there other situations where the setting of personal boundaries inhibits communication and resolution of differences? Like a tortoise, the person withdraws into a shell, withdraws into their own dark world at the exclusion of another.
I feel concern that such personal boundaries become fixed through habit and inappropriate to certain situations. Boundaries then cast a shadow over the present generating conflict and confusion. People can find themselves threatening others who cross their constructed boundaries.
It is a challenge to find skilful ways to respond to problematic attitudes of others rather than set up borders of inclusions and exclusion. In certain situations, people might need the wise counsel of others.
I prefer the wisdom of working with the present. We may need silence. We may need space. We may feel tired and end a conversation. We respond wisely in the moment to the situation.
We express concern about others who place lots of demand upon us. We act wisely and with compassion to support those who are suffering.
I regard it as unhelpful to keep setting up boundaries owing to the attachment to the notion of keeping in what we like and keeping out who and what we don’t like.
It is clear communication that matters including the right to say no to oppression and violence from others.
There are no boundaries to liberation, wisdom, skilful action, love and compassion.