Relationships are tricky. You merge with another. You care for another. Your life becomes entwined with another. it can be difficult to maintain boundaries in relationships for these obvious reasons.

What are boundaries in relationships?

What is a boundary? An energetic boundary is a space that separates your energy from your surrounds and from the people around you. A mental boundary is a rule, whereby you decide what you will and will not tolerate within a relationship.

With good boundaries, both individuals within a couple can maintain their own sense of unique identity and their own energetic ‘space’ within the relationship. Because they are looking after their own energies, it makes it easier to stick to the rules that they each impose, regarding what they will and will not tolerate.

What are some examples of mental boundaries?

Some examples of mental boundaries or standards might be:

  • I will not tolerate lies from my partner
  • I expect fidelity from my partner
  • I expect to be treated with respect
  • I will not tolerate name calling
  • And so on…

It gets complicated when these rules are technically adhered to, but the person still feel emotionally abused in less obvious ways, for example, when the partner is behaving in a way that makes the person feel drained. This below quote describes the difference between such ‘porous boundaries’ and healthy boundaries in relationships:

Porous Boundaries – People with porous boundaries are too involved and enmeshed with others. They often are highly dependent on other people and struggle with feelings of anxiety, burnout and the need to please others. They are likely to: 

  • Struggle to say no to other people’s requests or demands
  • Become dependent on the opinions of others
  • Seek reassurance from others
  • Accept abuse or neglect
  • Overshare personal information
  • Be scared of being rejected if they don’t give people what they want

Healthy Boundaries – People with healthy boundaries are able to set limits in relationships and protect what is important to them. They are likely to: 

  • Know their personal needs and values
  • Be able to communicate these needs to others
  • Be assertive
  • Be able to say no to others
  • Value their own opinions
  • Share personal information appropriately (not over or under sharing)
  • Not accept abuse or neglect from others
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Why might you allow porous boundaries?

For someone who is positive, independent and has a healthy mindset, it is possible for their boundaries in relationships to be crossed if the situation with their partner is temporary, or unavoidable, such as with an illness or a mental illness that creates much strain on the relationship, or due to a personal catastrophe such as a legal situation which causes anxiety. In such cases, a loving and committed partner is unlikely to say, “see you later” or “call me when it’s over”. At the same time, sometimes the drain is too great in such cases and the issue will cause the downfall of the relationship.

Life contains challenges, there is no doubt about it. This makes the idea of setting out with strong boundaries as even more essential. It boils down to energy exchange. How much energy do I have in one day, one week, one month etcetera, in order to manage these challenges? At the end of the drama, will I still be standing?

If you do not start out with strong boundaries in relationships when the challenges appear (if they do), then you will not last half as long. Boundaries are about energy preservation. What will I spend my energy allotment on today – getting run down because my partner likes having a go at me, or enjoying time together, or alone? It’s all about energy. The rules in mental boundaries create a roadmap for that vision, while energetic boundaries assist the same cause though subconscious processes. You can read about energetic boundaries here.

If you need assistance in clearing blockages that prevent healthy boundaries, for example, learning to say ‘no’, and with installing boundaries, we can help. Horizons Clinical Hypnotherapy Sunshine Coast.