What Are Personal Boundaries?

Personal boundaries are the limits and rules we set for ourselves within relationships. A person with health boundaries can say “no” to others when they want to, but are also comfortable opening themselves up to intimacy and close relationships.

A person who always keeps others at a distance (whether emotionally, physically or other is said to have rigid boundaries. Alternatively, someone who tends to get too involved with others has porous boundaries.

Common traits or rigid, porous and healthy boundaries:

Rigid Boundaries

Avoids intimacy and close relationships

Unlikely to ask for help

Very protective if detached, even with romantic relationships

Keeps other at a distance to avoid the possibility of rejection

Porous Boundaries:

Overshares personal information

Difficulty saying “no” to the requests of others

Over involved with others

Accepting of abuse or disrespect

Fears rejection if they do not comply with others

Healthy Boundaries:

Values own opinions

Doesn’t compromise values for others

Shares personal information in an appropriate way (does not over or under share)

Knows personal wants and needs and can communicate them

Accepting “no” when it is said to them

Most people gave a mix of different boundary types. For examplem someone could have healthy boundaries at work and a mix of three boundaries with their family.

The appropriateness of boundaries depends heavily on setting. What’s appropriate to say when you’re out with friends might not be appropriate when you’re at work.

Some cultures have very different expectations when it comes to boundaries. For example, in some cultures it is considered wildly inappropriate to express emotions publicly. In other cultures, emotional expression is encouraged.

Tips For Healthy Boundaries

Know your limits – before becoming involved in a situation know what’s acceptable to you, and what isn’t.. It’s best to be as specific as possible, or you might be pulled into the trap of giving just a little bit more, over and over, until you’ve given far too much.

Know your values – Every person’s limits are different, and they’re often determined by their personal values. For example, if you value family ablve all else, this might lead to stricter limits on how late you will stay at work away from family, Know what’s most important to you, and protect it.

Listen to your emotions – If you notice feelings of discomfort or resentment, don’ bury them. Try to understand what your feelings are telling you. Resentment, for example, can often be trace fo feelings of being take advantage of.

Have self-respect – If you always give in to others, ask if you are showing as much respect for yourself as you show to others. Boundaries that are too open might be due to misguided attempts to be liked by elevating other people’s needs above one’s own.

Have respect for others – Be sure that your actions are not self-serving, at the expense of others. Interactions should not be about winning or taking as much as possible. Instead, consider what’s fair to everyone, given the setting and relationship. You might “win” but at the cost a relationship’s long-term health.

Be assertive – When you know it’s time to set a boundary don’t be shy, Say “no” respectfully, but without ambiguity. If you can make a compromise while respecting your own boundaries, try it. This is a good way to soften the “no”, while showoing respect to everyone involved.

Consider the long view – Some days you will give more than you take, and other days you will take more than you give. Be willing to take a longer view of relationships, when appropriate. But if you’re always the one who’s giving or taking there might be a problem.

Source TherapistAid.com

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