Do you have good boundaries?

This is the question I’m asking these days. When your life seems out of control and not where we want it to be, most often the anxiety you feel about life indicates that you’ve lost sense of your boundaries. When I ask, “Do you have good boundaries?” you say yes, but you really mean no.

When we’re trying to put back our lives or repair our hearts from a romantic breakup or grief from the loss of a loved one, the first step on the journey back is to assess our boundaries.

Are you giving too much of yourself, leaving no energy for the things you enjoy doing?

Are you most concerned with others’ happiness, leaving you to feel drained with no energy for what you want to do? Or do you quickly volunteer to do more work than anyone else in your office? I’ll bet you’re the one in the family that everyone goes to for advice and help, which you generously give because they are family.

Do you easily forfeit your wants and needs for the needs of others? You’re the giver, the fixer and it feels good to be needed. But what about your needs and wants? Are you waiting for someone to fulfill those for you as you are doing for others?

This is the dilemma of the Anxious Attachment Style and Disorganized Attachment style person.  We give hoping that some day someone will give to us as we give up of ourselves. This is where the trouble is.

Remember the bucket analogy? When we expect someone to fill our bucket we caught in the..

Entanglement of co-dependency and worse Narcissistic abuse.

I was reminded of this rule by my girlfriend this weekend. I’m so blessed to be able to have wise women around me and this weekend we recounted our experiences with narcissists in our families. We are both the fixers and so were able to see the entanglement and get clear of it.

This, is my life’s work now that I have sons who have inherited the same love patterns of both my EX and myself. Each son is on the spectrum between Malignant, Covert Narcissist and victim.

I’m trying to pull out of these labels, since these psychological designations limit the full experience of the person, plus these traits are really survival strategies. But they help to prove a point.

My friend noted how I’m still in this entanglement with my 28-year-old son who has recently come to live on my sofa until he gets his life in order and becomes self-sustainable. I’m hyper vigilant with his behavior and keep him on task, but my friend noted how I’ve let down my boundaries with him. And she’s right!

Funny to think I could easily fall back into the old pattern of being the fixer. Hence my new book, HOW TO HAVE GOOD BOUNDARIES. Coming soon.

As I review my own tips and procedures for keeping healthy boundaries with my son, let’s do a quiz and see how your boundaries are.

Head over to my friends at Mindspring and do the quiz. Also below…

BOUNDARY QUIZ

WEAK BOUNDARIES OR NO BOUNDARIES:

____ I put the needs and wants of others before my own.

____ I find myself unable to say “no” to things.

____ In order to avoid conflict I agree with others.

____ I’m afraid to say “no” out of fear or guilt.

____ I allow others to speak for me.

____ In the relationship I find myself doing more than my share of participating.

____ I try to “fix” other people and their problems.

____ I attempt to control other people.

____ In relationships I find myself accepting poor treatment from others.

____ I don’t trust myself or others.

____ Total Number Checked

 

HEALTHY BOUNDARIES:

____ I can comfortably express my true feelings regardless if they are seen as negative or positive.

____ In my relationships I’m able to set personal boundaries that protect my body, my energy, my time, and my other resources, without feeling guilty, fearful, or stressed.

____ I’m comfortable with other people expressing their emotions.

____ I’m able to respect others for who they are and do not attempt to change or “fix” them.

____ If the other person is hurting me I’m willing to end a relationship rather than let it continue.

____ I understand that conflict is a natural part of intimate relationships and even though it may not be enjoyable.

____ I respect other people’s feelings, needs, and preferences, and don’t take them on as my own.

____ When I state my opinion I’m not afraid to disappoint or anger others.

____  I’m able to make my own decisions and look out for my interests while taking others’ perspectives into account.

____ I take responsibility for my own feelings while others can take responsibility for their own feelings.

____ Total Number Checked

 

RIGID BOUNDARIES:

____ I have a tough time acknowledging and expressing my feelings and rarely consider the feelings of others.

____ I often use anger and/or intimidation to get my way.

____ When people don’t view things the same way that I do I feel frustrated.

____ I keep people at an emotional distance.

____ I am uncomfortable with physical contact unless I initiate it, and even then it needs to be on my terms.

____ When others don’t do things according to my plan I criticize them.

____ I refuse to “play” if things aren’t done according to my rules, plans, or desires.

____ I become very upset if anyone borrows something of mine, even if they ask first.

____ In return for my help or generosity I always expect something.

____ I infrequently invite people into my “space” (home, office, physical).

____ Total Number Checked

 

Whatever your answers revealed, just accept them and affirm that you are doing the best you can right now. Consider where you can make adjustments to strengthen them. Remember, assessing your boundaries is the first thing you can do to regain a sense of control over your life.

Once you’ve done the quiz and discovered where you can improve your boundaries remember this:

Boundaries are important to our human experience; they allow us to discover our sense of self, our needs and wants without the interference of other’s wants and needs.

Boundaries allow us to feel safe and respected in our relationships.

This will ultimately allow us to feel loved.

Here’s to your good boundaries!

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