Managing Boundaries: The four types defined, and why flexible boundaries are important for self-care
By Vanessa Stevens, See the Triumph Guest Blogger
Boundaries are defined as the rules or limits a person creates for themselves. Boundaries can either be physical (external) or psychological (internal). In relationships, these are our personal guidelines as to what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for others to identify with us.
Physical boundaries could mean how and when we allow others to physically touch us, and where our comfort level lies. Emotional boundaries are harder to identify, which is often why emotional abuse is harder to report, especially when it doesn’t involve any physical violence.
Boundaries are often put in place by the way we choose to communicate. For example, someone who is passive will have fewer boundaries than someone who is more assertive. Someone who is passive-aggressive may have a combination of few boundaries, and later strike back and invade others’ boundaries.
Here are 4 main types of boundaries, adopted from Nina Brown, author of Children of the Self-Absorbed and other books:
Whereas unhealthy relationships are often built on fear, healthy relationships are built on healthy boundaries, with both partners accepting and respecting the other. They are not selfish, and they represent self-love. In fact, real love can’t exist without boundaries. How else will you know where you end and I begin?
Boundaries are for your well-being and protection, and they are an important part of self-care. They are present and clear, protective, and not invasive or harmful. They are appropriate, not controlling or manipulative, and often times include compromise: a well-balanced give and take between partners. Boundaries help us have healthy relationships with ourselves and those outside of ourselves. Your relationship suffers when you are unhappy. Make yourself a priority.
It takes commitment—and developing new healthy habits--but it’s important to stay conscious of the many ways to maintain your sense of self protection, further protecting you from emotional harm in future relationships.
*Emotional contagion, also known as emotional transfer or vicarious emotion, happens when subjective emotions are transferred to those witnessing the emotions, sort of an “emotional co-dependency.”
The Purple Song Project: It is possible to thrive offers survivors of domestic violence hope, healing and awareness… through songs! Its founder, Vanessa Stevens, is on a mission to identify what helps survivors really, truly move on after trauma, and she explores the ways music and art can help others heal. She also is a freelance article writer (online and off) and continues to produce theme songs for businesses, non-profits, and films. Connect with Vanessa at purplesong.com, twitter (@Van Stevens), or Facebook (purplesongproject)