ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Gender and Relationships»
  • Relationship Problems & Advice

Why We Need to Talk and Set up Boundaries

Updated on March 11, 2017

What is a Boundary?

A boundary line is said to be a -limitation, demarcation, restriction, allocation, threshold, saturation point, ne plus ultra and turning point.

From a political geographical point a boundary is a demarcation between geographical entities. Rivers can be natural borders like that of the Niagara River for Canada and the USA; and the Rhine River for France and Germany.

From a sociological point of view, the word boundary is used in a conceptual way to describe how people break up into groups of their own. These groups may be Professional, Social or Cultural for instance. Boundaries serve to create a feeling of security within a group yet can also take on a constraining flavour as well.

From a personal point of view, new boundaries from a space between one person and another person. A personal boundary is the active assertion and protection of values that one cherishes and desires, not to be transgressed.

A personal boundary is an imaginary line that serves to protect you from feeling shamed or guilty when anger, accusations and problems are directed your way. Boundaries are put into place in order to facilitate your ability to detach so that other’s opinions or comments don’t hurt or destabilize you.


When a Personal Boundary Has Been Crossed....

When a personal boundary has been crossed or you feel entangled or manipulatively emmeshed with another, feelings of resentment and discomfort will arise when someone attempts to define you and erode your sense of self-liking and self-value.

To put personal boundaries in place, is to build a sense of integrity together with allowing you to positively impact your life so you can feel you are steering your life in the direction that you desire. If you do not strengthen your personal boundaries you will inadvertently set yourself up to be at the mercy of others. Your life will become an emotional roller coaster with you as the passenger and not as the driver, therefore, setting yourself up to become bruised and battered by people’s words, tone of voice and actions.

The more you can demarcate what is personally acceptable or not acceptable to you in your life, the less emotionally and mentally drained you will be. Consequently, you can be present for your spouse, partner, child, employer 110% instead of 20%.

Healthy Boundaries versus Unhealthy Boundaries

“Good fences make good neighbours”-Robert Frost

Yes. When the fences are down, the neighbour’s dog is off chasing all your chooks. The neighbour’s ten-year-old smashes your patio window with their soccer ball. And no one is owning up. Where else can we see healthy and unhealthy boundaries being played out in the realm of relationships?

Healthy Boundaries
Unhealthy Boundaries
Feel like you are on purpose
Feel you are incomplete without your partner
Achieving intimacy without chemicals
Using alcholhol/drugs to reduce inhibitions and achieve inauthentic level of intimacy
Openheartedness and assertive communication
Game playing, manipulation and stonewalling
Commitment to Partner
Jealousy, relationship addiction, lack of commitment
Accepting endings
Unable to let go

Telling your neighbour or someone that it is not okay or disrespectful in what they are doing in relation to you doesn’t necessarily come easy.

We humans learn by copying other people’s behaviours. This is how we learn to relate to others and be in relationship with them. As a child, we learn about the world of relationships from our parents, grandparents, relatives and babysitters because they are the people that were in our lives on a regular basis. As we grow up and become teenagers we largely learnt from our friends, although teachers and music (cultural aspects) played a part. Our friends showed us what limits, what boundaries, we needed to set up (or not set up) in our personal relationships.

How Do You Establish Boundaries in Your Life?

  • · Name Your Glass Ceiling

So, how do you go about setting up personal boundaries in your everyday life? Firstly, you have to get clear on what defines YOU. That is, what will you stomach and accept, versus, what makes something unbearable and distressful to you. We get taught that feelings are inferior or useless in comparison to logic and analysis. Feelings play an important role and we get talked into ignoring those feelings we receive about other people or situations. Feelings teach us what our personal limits are. Our personal limits are what keeps us safe.

  • · How to Prioritize a Boundary?

If you begin to feel resentful over someone’s words or actions and feel uncomfortable, this is your personal Red Flag. To prioritize how immediately you need to respond and defend your personal boundary, your value(s), it may help to assign a numerical grading number. If feelings of discomfort sit at 7, or higher, for example, you may then need to speak up so the other person stops what they are doing in relation to you, otherwise you will need to state their will be the consequences of X, Y, Z

  • · Be Forthright in Your Communications

It is not possible to always speak up in a forthright manner when defending your personal boundaries. But where you can, protect yourself against a violation of your personal boundary and be direct in communicating your suffering.

  • · Make it Okay to Have Boundaries in Place

Remember we learn by imitating others. If you are a female, you may have been brought up to put your spouse’s and children’s needs ahead of your own. Maybe that includes every other person’s needs as well.

You were made wrong, callous, selfish, if you wanted to take care of yourself and protect yourself. This way lead to you building up feelings of self-doubt, guilt and fear just to name a few.

Whether it is too late for some of us or not, boundaries are the way to ensuring we not only self-protect but can be emotionally healthy for our loved ones, so relationships are more joyous than painful.

  • · Make Self-Care Number 1

If you were or are surrounded by tough love people or damaged people

you may rubbish or ridicule this “namby-pamby” behaviour. It will feel odd, highly selfish and self-indulgent, to begin with. If so, do what you can and then, each time of self-care, move the sign posts are little further into the domain of softness and self-indulgence. Don’t worry you will know the difference to when you being low maintenance versus high maintenance. You will find the median point of self-care.

When we prioritize our self-care first, we bring more balance and peace into our daily lives. Subsequently, when we have more peace in our hearts and minds, we become better people and a better person to have around.

  • · Have Consequences Put into Place

It will not get you anywhere if you only know what you will or will not tolerate from people and life. You need to breathe life into your line of demarcation-your personal boundaries. How do you do that? You put into place an action plan of consequences. Therefore, you need to practice the art of speaking up and saying” if you continue to do A, I will need to do B”. Depending on your upbringing this may be hard or easy for you to do. Remember, a consequence is not a threat. Remember, do not state a consequence, if you are not ready to follow through on it.

  • · Start Small

In becoming assertive about your personal boundaries, it will be easier to handle if you start of small. That is, start off with less risky challenges. Then, when you gain confidence in standing up for your personal boundaries, gradually take on more challenging personal boundaries to uphold and protect.



Pushing for acceptance of personal boundaries is not making personal threats. It is about creating more choices in your relationship(s) so that you can have and experience more healthier relationships where there is more safety, give and take, self-respect and self-value. Thereby, adding more joy to your life than pain and unnecessary challenges. Remember, we were given two arms and hands so that we can help ourselves and others.


Source of Images

Please leave a comment if you found you connected with the article.


See results

© 2017 ThreeKeys


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • threekeys profile image

      ThreeKeys 5 months ago from Australia

      Always insightful, warm and real. I value your comments dashingscorpio.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 5 months ago

      "To put personal boundaries in place, is to build a sense of integrity together with allowing you to positively impact your life so you can feel you are steering your life in the direction that you desire." - Very true!

      Anyone who does not have boundaries and "deal breakers" probably has a low self-esteem and possibly doesn't love them self. Having boundaries means you're willing to be disliked.

      Unfortunately too many people are not willing to uphold their boundaries or "deal breakers" when put in a position to do so.

      They would rather be a doormat than put someone out the door.

      If there are no "repercussions" for crossing one's boundaries then there really is no boundary. They just keep moving the line.

      Another problem many folks have is they lack the courage to be upfront about their boundaries or "deal breakers" up front.

      Waiting until someone accidentally crosses a boundary they had no idea existed is on many levels an ambush game.

      This is especially true in dating and marital relationships.

      The less "surprises" the better when it comes to issues.

      It's only through knowing what someone's boundaries and expectations are that puts us in a position to determine if they are "right" for us. Compatibility trumps compromise.

      In the beginning of most (new) relationships is an "infatuation phase" where the word "no" is seldom if ever used.

      Both people bend over backwards to impress one another and try their best not to do or say anything that might "blow it" with the object of their affection. It's only after there is an "emotional investment" or "commitment" that many feel it's safe to reveal their "authentic self" or lay out their boundaries.