Boundaries and Relationships
- by Philip St. Romain; all rights reserved
Boundaries are the means by which "I" experience myself as separate from the “Other.” Boundaries define the “space” within which I can experience both freedom and energy as properties of my personhood which belong to me, and not the other. Because of boundaries, the other andI can freely enter into a relationship and experience ourselves as "we": I + Thou = We
Consequences of Lack of Boundaries
- Dependent Personality Disorder: “I” am part of the “Other.” I belong to the other, having no freedom and energy of my own.
- Narcissism: The "Other” is part of "Me," an extension of myself. The other is “Mine, not a separate entity with freedom and energy of their own.
- Codependency: both of the above, simultaneously.
In all of the above, there is a negation of personhood, role confusion, and enormous emotional negativity.
Defining What Belongs to Me
- My freedom to choose.
- My psychic energy.
- My body/sexuality.
- My gifts and talents.
- That which I have earned by the fruit of my labor.
How I Lose My Boundaries: Giving Away What Belongs to Me
- Misuse of freedom.
a. I allow others to make decisions for me; I allow them to do for me what I should do for myself; accepting unacceptable behavior.
b. I try to make decisions for others; I try to do for others what they can and should do for themselves.
c. I choose to do that which hurts me and others.
- Wasteful expenditure of psychic energy: worrying, excessive speech, excessive sexual activity, excessive physical activity, poor diet, poor exercise, poor sleep.
- I put my body/sexuality in the service of others in ways that cause me pain and violate my values.
- I do not develop my gifts and talents, or else use them in ways that violate my values.
- The fruit of my labor is stolen from me.
How to Regain Boundaries
- Proper exercise of freedom
a. I make my own decisions about my life.
b. I allow others to make their own decisions.
c. I live according to a set of moral values.
- I quit wasting energy, and so begin to experience more energy at my disposal to use howsoever I choose.
- My body/sexuality belongs to me, and I share it according to my values.
- I develop my gifts and talents in ways I enjoy.
- I claim the fruit of my labor, and decide for myself how I will share it with others.
- I quit accepting unacceptable behavior from others.
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