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Boundaries Beyond Abuse

Updated on November 13, 2011

There are many misunderstandings when it comes to healthy emotional boundaries once the experience of abuse has been overcome. Here are a couple guidelines in understanding how to rise above the enmeshment of dysfunctional relationships:

First of all, personal boundaries are the healthy, centered, and secure boundaries we set in relationships that allow us to keep from being manipulated by, or enmeshed with, emotionally needy others. More often than not, those who have been physically, mentally, and emotionally abused have no idea what their true thoughts and emotions are. This makes it more difficult to figure how to get out of the enmeshment with another.

Here is an example of two emotionally healthy people: When you put both your hands together, with fingers and thumbs pointed straight up, that symbolizes the strength and empowerment of two centered, rational, and "emotionally together" individuals. An enmeshed relationship is symbolized by two hands clasped together as if I child were praying. The fingers are bent and grasping, as if in a clenched fist. . When people are enmeshed, they can’t “separate” from the drama of the other person. They feel as if their identity is swallowed by the control of the other person.

Healthy emotional boundaries include having enough self-esteem, conscious awareness, and rational thought to be able to make appropriate, beneficial choices in all areas of life. This would mean in areas of finances, choosing positive friends, allowing ourselves to maintain or physical health, our mental health, our emotional health, and even our spiritual health and awareness.

It's not always easy to become strong and empowered after years and years of abuse. Our thoughts seem to continually play old tapes, over and over, and we seem to constantly put the faces of old abusers on the faces of those who are new in our lives. The new, positive, caring people we choose as friends don't deserve to be reflected as if they were the same as those hurtful people from our past. It's understandable that when we are new to being empowered, we are susceptible to backsliding into our old thought patterns. However, the more we practice boundaries, the more will start to reflect our TRUE SELVES and that allows us to be an example to the world and a strong example of the strength of the human spirit. Remembering that we are spiritual beings living a human existence is one of the most defining sobering truths we can imagine.


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      Son 6 years ago

      Becoming stronger in my boundaries to live life on MY terms, and not to let anyone else dictate how I live. After several failed (and very similar) relationships, those boundaries have become that much more fortified now, moreso than ever. ILY! :)