Many think boundaries are just about preventing people from taking advantage of you, especially physically. Like, your mom shouldn’t be interfering in your dispute at work. Or your patient shouldn’t be showing up at your kid’s birthday party. Or you shouldn’t just let strangers invade your private space.
But that’s not the most important definition of Boundaries in psychology.
Healthy psychological boundaries mean that you take full responsibility for your actions and emotions… and you do not take responsibility for the actions and emotions of others.
For example, when we date, we have the freedom to say, at any time, “This isn’t working out,” and to end the relationship. The other person has the same freedom.
Boundary violations occur when you disown your choices and try to lay the responsibility for them on someone else.
This is what happens when your spouse doesn’t let you go out with your friends because he gets too jealous that you’re having fun without him. That’s a boundary violation.
It’s a boundary violation when your mom won’t let you take that job promotion overseas because she would miss you too much.
It’s a boundary violation when your date makes you responsible for her feelings and actions and does not take responsibility for her own feelings and actions.
When the #metoo movement, which started as “empowerment through empathy”, which is a beautiful and good cause… and sharing devastating, heartbreaking stories of sexual assault… then devolved into witch hunts and public shaming based on unproven accusations of micro aggressions with no due process for the accusers… it became toxic.
Shaming is a primary weapon of the toxic kind of #metoo. And shaming is a common tactic of narcissistic personality disordered people.
We should *empathise* with one another, not *be* one another.
I can’t feel your feelings for you. I can’t think for you. I can’t behave for you. I can’t work through your pain or sufferings for you. I can’t grow for you; only you can. Likewise, you can’t grow for me.
You are responsible for yourself. I am responsible for myself.
For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D., has helped hundreds of thousands of people from over 87 countries find happiness, success, and fulfillment in their social, professional, and love lives. His presentations – whether keynotes, seminars, or workshops – leave clients with insights into their behavior, psychology, and keys to their empowerment. His training methodologies are the result of over a decade of coaching and education of thousands of students around the world. Subscribe for more.
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