We could say that there is no truly fulfilling relationship without great boundaries. Boundaries help us protect what needs to be protected while making sure we are properly differentiated as unique human beings.
The infant lives in boundaryless fusion with the mother. As the child grows, they need to discover and assert their autonomy in order for healthy separation (differentiation) to occur. This is the process of growing up and becoming an adult.
Lack of Boundaries in Childhood
For many of us, our boundaries were not respected and truly honoured while we were children. For some, there was more abuse than love and more chaos than peace at home. Additionally, for others, there was neglect when as a child they needed support, guidance, and care.
The lack of a peaceful home and nurturing, emotionally connected parents leave children wounded and carrying the pain of their unmet needs. This is developmental trauma. For those of us who carry this kind of trauma, relationships (and therefore boundaries) become very difficult.
Learning Our Boundaries
For me to be aware of my healthy boundaries (my “no”s and my “yes”s) I need to feel connected with myself. Those of us who feel traumatized have a hard time establishing such self-connection. Instead, we might feel numb or anxious, disempowered or dissociated when our boundaries are being crossed. These states prevent us from standing up for ourselves when we have to say “no.”
Imagine your life as your kingdom or queendom. Feeling like the ruler of your own life (you are in charge and you feel empowered) requires that you stay in touch with your healthy boundaries. If someone attacks your dignity or those you love, etc., you need to feel empowered enough to protect yourself if necessary.
When our healthy boundaries feel threatened, our healthy anger is right there for us to use its energies for self-protection. Do you want to get in touch with your boundaries? Get in touch with your healthy anger. Listen to its message, feel into both its vulnerability and protective fire.
Standing in Our Power
Standing in our power, feeling grounded and settled in ourselves, and acting from this place is necessary for deep, beautiful relationships. When we feel disconnected from our power, our healthy anger, and our voice, we tend to form co-dependent connections with others. In codependency, boundaries are blurred and we get lost in the other or in our relationship. We lose our ground.
A ruler is no ruler outside of their kingdom. Stay within your healthy boundaries. Instead of collapsing or trivializing them, expand them to include the other. When a king and a queen form a relationship, they create an empire together. This empire is the basis for their healthy relationship.
They protect (and are protected and nourished by) the healthy boundaries of this empire, as well as the boundaries of their respective kingdom and queendom. Together, they welcome conflicts with each other since they know they can express themselves and will be heard by the other. They continuously practise self-expression and train themselves in both giving and receiving healthy anger.
In other words, they don’t dampen or numb their life energy to please the other or out of fear of hurting the other. They are practicing the art of bringing together their guts (power, courage) and heart (vulnerability, sensitivity, kindness, love). Theirs is a relationship in which passion and kindness coexist, a relationship in which safety and trust cannot help but deepen. May we dedicate ourselves to such an art!