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How to communicate after a contentious divorce... Following a contentious divorce and custody battle, there are often high emotion and tensions between the parents. Research shows that constant and chronic conflict between the parents negatively impacts the children. The children sense their parents anxiety in their voice, their body language and their parents behavior. Here are some suggestions from Dean Stacer on how to avoid conflict.
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Author Topic: Do you have healthy boundaries?  (Read 1123 times)
Skip
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« on: September 01, 2010, 09:26:12 PM »

How good are your boundaries

Can you give good and bad examples?

Are you clear in your own mind about what your personal code of values are?

Do you conduct ourselves in way that other see your commitment to our value? How?  Example.

Do you effectively communicate/signal boundaries to others?  How?  Example.

Do you respond when someone crosses over our limits?  How?  Example.

Do you have healthy boundaries?

Everyone has a personal code of values.  We all have (or should have) personal codes with respect to finances, romance, parenting, lifestyle preferences, personal safety and faith.   Boundaries are what we communicate as reasonable and permissible ways for other people to behave around us and not violate our code.   For example, a recovering alcoholic may communicate that he doesn't want to participate in group events involving alcohol or a women may communicate the she doesn't want any time of physical touching during an argument.

Many of us believe one thing but communicate or signal something very different to others and are then hurt when our boundaries are not respected.  This can be a particular problem when a loved one has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  People with BPD often have poor judgment with respect to others values and boundaries.

Healthy Boundaries

To have healthy boundaries:

1) we must be clear about what our values are,

2) we must conduct ourselves in way that other see our commitment to our values, 

3) we must communicate them to others, and

4) we must respond when someone crosses over our limits.

The Breakdown

When we respect and enforce our boundaries it is a sign of healthy self care.   For example, it's not enough to tell others that drinking and driving is bad.  We must never let others see us drink and drive.  We must never ride with others who have been drinking.  We must have the power to say “no” and the strength to stand behind it.   Defining, communicating, being a role model, and enforcing boundaries is how we honor ourselves and how we avoid being compromised.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t do this well and there are a variety of possible reasons.

Sometimes it's low self esteem.  We don't have our own values - we adopt the  values of others.

Sometimes it's fear.  We fear the consequences of communicating or enforcing our values.

Sometime it's sheer exhaustion. After months of pressure, badgering, ridiculing, and nagging, you finally cave in and take the path of least resistance.

The bottom line

Good mental health is hard, sometimes, and it comes with a cost.  You must work and sacrifice to have it.   The bottom line  -  if YOU don't believe in your own code of values - no one else will.
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Crystal Ball
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2010, 10:32:45 PM »

I seem to be able to maintain healthy boundaries with my family, friends, raising my kids, etc., however they get lost (or trampled on) when I'm a relationship.  I know... .I'm focusing on me and working on it.   
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seeking balance
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2010, 11:44:03 PM »

Regarding pwBPD, I am learning that I am clear what my boundries are - but my way of enforcing them has not worked for me.  Instead of walking away, I tend to argue them and why I have them.  My follow-through has not been so good.

With others, I have really gotten good at keeping them and detaching or disengaging actually.
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2010, 11:57:44 AM »

Hey Skip:

I just realized through a family situation today that my boundaries are not as healthy as I thought.  I can now see I have a ton of work to do in this area.  I think this is the first time I 'noticed' there was an issue and that's from the work (reading, this site,T, etc.) I've been doing over the last two weeks.  I see this awareness as a big step in the right direction.

PS:  The 'backward step" is considering if he was 'right' (it's me who caused the problems!).  ugh.

PSS:  My issue with boundaries is that I'm a people pleaser ~ always trying to keep everyone happy, no friction, etc.  I 'go with the flow' in whatever direction as long as it isn't 'against' what I think.  

The real problem:  I never outlined what my boundaries are.  This is where I need to start.
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Brer Rabbit
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2010, 05:35:48 PM »

Hi Skip,

This is an area I really want/need to explore. I always feel the constant need to defend... .which is how I am in relationships as well... .constantly on the defense about what I want and what I feel I need.

How does one go about setting boundaries? What are healthy boundaries? Do they coincide with exceptable relationship norms?

To answer your questions:

How good are your boundaries?

I don't know, poor in the past, maybe too rigid now... .sometimes I just don't know. 

Can you give good and bad examples?

No

Are you clear in your own mind about what your personal code of values are?

Yes, but balancing tolerance for others is hard... .especially when it is an SO.

Do you conduct ourselves in way that other see your commitment to our value? How?  Example.

Yes... .for example the commitment of time with a SO... .I always put my SO in high priority. I hope for the same in return... .rarely received though.

Do you effectively communicate/signal boundaries to others?  How?  Example.

No... .I always have a problem with that part... .I am either too hard and come off as an ass are too soft and get treated like a doormat.

Do you respond when someone crosses over our limits?  How?  Example.

I argue the point... .always on the defense about things. In my teen years I used to be somewhat of a volcano... .but that didn't work out so well. Now I try to discuss... .but that hasn't quite panned out either... .discussions turned to arguements and argumenst turned into fights.
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hiddenlizard
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2010, 06:53:44 PM »

Hmmm,

on communicating boundaries to a pwBPD: I recall trying to express my boundaries and his response was that I was being ridiculous and/or he would deny that he did anything to violate those boundaries.

In general I can't imagine entering a relationship with a list of what is or is not acceptable so living my values might be the best way to express them. I am active in issues that are important to me and I try to treat others the way I would like to be treated. But then I see how some people seem to be able to elicit behavior from me which violates my own values. Example: a friend constantly interrupts me when I am talking and I find myself interrupting her as well. If I walked my talk I would be a real good listener but not much of a talker when I am with this person. But I want to be able to talk too so I don't have much to do with this particular friend anymore.

With the pwBPD I finally stopped trying to reason (argue) and just walked away when he would become abusive as saying anything, including something such as "that hurt my feelings" was twisted around to be another point of the argument. Ironically one of the major problems in our marriage is that most every time I failed to agree with him he would pack up all his things and leave (But, oh my, would it be a production!)

I am like OnTheFence in a lot of ways. Trying to be tolerant is a big one. At times I feel a great deal of pressure from others to be more tolerant, I hate being told I am intolerant, I question my attitude. I also have the problem of feeling I am being too difficult when I try to communicate limits but if I don't communicate I also become a doormat.

My response to someone who continues to violate my boundaries is to walk away. I may spend a little energy explaining why but in the end I usually just have to leave. I often give a person many chances, maybe too many, especially in an intimate relationship, but eventually I realize that I am being turned into someone I do not want to be, someone who does not have the values I want to have. It may take a while. I was married to my stbxwBPD for 16 months before I told him he could not move back in (he had left about once a month starting 2 months after our wedding). I filed for divorce six months later when I finally realized that he was not going to change his behavior because he did not think there was anything wrong with it.

Are my boundaries "good"? sigh... .I have been able to set good boundaries in my business (ex: I am a massage therapist - one sexual advance gets a warning [unless it is beyond a "suggestion" but that, fortunately, has not happened] a second one gets the door) but in my personal life I think I am far too willing to negotiate my boundaries in order to have companionship. I live in a rural area and feel very isolated at times. I think there are certain ways I can bend but not break in order to maintain some contact but it seems there are always going to be people who will nudge that line more and more until I feel it and say NO MORE!

This is going to take more thinking... .


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sarah1234
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2011, 05:22:50 AM »

Can you give good and bad examples?

I think there are too many bad ones and not enough good ones.

Without sounding a victim, I think I have endured many many years, poss all my childhood and adult life being emotionally manipulated so that I am not even sure what is what anymore half the time... .age 30 am starting to learn who I am, what I want.

Are you clear in your own mind about what your personal code of values are?

Not always. Well I think I am, but I can be quite contradictory. I am violently opposed to drugs for example and that will never ever change under any circumstances. I am also law abiding  ;p  but the other less moral issues I waver on. See above for explanation  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

Do you conduct ourselves in way that other see your commitment to our value? How?  Example.

again... .not always. I don't like confrontation but I can also boil over when pushed. Maybe I also assume that other people are the same as me. I am really confused with this question... . 

Do you effectively communicate/signal boundaries to others?  How?  Example.

I know I don't. I hate confrontation so am more likely to go along with something even if I don't agree with it. I am learning that this isnt acceptable for myself though

Do you respond when someone crosses over our limits?  How?  Example.



I will withdraw from them and direct my feelings internally to avoid the confrontation

I also am far too willing to overlook my own personal boundaries to reach a compromise. I am all about compromise, but have realised I often end up getting nothing out of a so called compromise

Do you have healthy boundaries?

I feel I have healthy boundaries with my ex partner with whom I have children with (not BPD) and my father, who has some of his own issues. These are my boundaries and they are for self protection.

Other than that I basically only have friends around me who I know respect my boundaries now, well they wouldn't ever TRY to push them and have cut out everyone else who isn't really good for me.

I feel my children and other family members respect me and my boundaries so that really, I don't have any big ones I am aware of.

I have in the past experienced very unhealthy boundaries in the work place, more than once. Which suggests to me that I do let people walk all over me
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