By: Katherine Lickteig, MA, LPC Associate
Supervised by Melissa Barton, MA, LPC-S
What are Boundaries?
Relationships with boundaries allow people to learn when to say yes and when to say no to others and yourself. Creating boundaries is one of the best ways to keep your emotional energy. It can also help to define the people and things that you allow in your life.
Therefore, we can define a boundary as an invisible line a person can draw around themselves that will help to identify what is acceptable behavior, and what is unacceptable behavior. The beauty of boundaries is that you can change and adapt them. Some people love them because they represent structure, order, and rules. Others see them as limits that are annoying or frustrating.
An important part of mental health is deciding on the right number of boundaries for your life. Psychological distress can result from overly rigid or overly loose limits. Boundaries are a great way to have control in your life.
Boundaries come in many forms:
They help to define your personal space. This controls things such as the area around your body. It allows you to decide who can come into your personal space and who cannot. It can help you decide what type of affection you are comfortable with.
They tend to apply to your thoughts, your values, and even your opinions. For instance, do you have an open mind? Can you be flexible or is everything black or white? People with weak mental boundaries tend to react in an overly emotional manner. They will often become defensive, rigid, and may even become combative.
They help you to understand different opinions from those that you may have. It is certainly ok to agree to disagree. You do not need to give advice or try and “fix” someone else’s problems. Also, recognize that you are not to blame when those around you get upset. Do not let people guilt you into making decisions. Recognize that you have a choice in every situation and relationship if you choose to exercise that right.
They are limits on how a person chooses to budget their money. Moreover, they also determine how and what you choose to spend on material goods and experiences. Money can be a struggle for a lot of people. Setting financial rules can help you decide how you will and will not handle money.
They help you to determine which actions align with your core values. Some great examples are, you not accepting intolerant attitudes from others, or refusing to put up with lying and cheating. These boundaries help to set what deserves moral consideration.
They will help you to understand your comfort level around physical touch, intimacy, or even sexual behaviors. These boundaries help you to decide what fits your comfort level when it comes to your sexual life.
They help to define your religious beliefs or lack thereof. These boundaries do not matter whether they pertain to God, another deity, or a supernatural being. These should be clear rules that govern the beliefs we hold and how we put those beliefs into practice.
Common Reasons People Lack boundaries
Boundaries are difficult for most people. Furthermore, they are especially hard for people that were raised by parents who are overly harsh or overly permissive with discipline. Trauma in your childhood may make you more willing to tolerate unhealthy behaviors from others. The good news is that you are now an adult with control over your life.
Common Reasons People Develop Unhealthy Boundaries
· You were not taught how to develop boundaries as a child. When needs and wants are not respected by parents, you may internalize that your opinions are not important.
· You tend to be a people-pleaser. You never like to offend anyone, or you simply cannot say “no”, so you take on too much.
· You were “parentified” as a child. This is when your role in your family was to take care of the needs of others, so your needs were always put on hold. You could never do anything for yourself because that would mean you were selfish.
Begin Therapy in Katy, TX!
If you are ready to learn how to implement boundaries, one of the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide counseling and mental health services. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to learn more about boundaries.
- Meet with one of our compassionate therapists.
- Uncover ways to understand your personal boundaries.
Other Therapy Services We Offer:
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!