Personal boundaries cannot be seen or touched; they are not a glowing aura or a wall that separates a person from the world. There is no single definition of personal boundaries. But if we try to formulate it, we can say that personal boundaries are an inner feeling that helps us to distinguish self from non-self, to distinguish our own from non-self, to distinguish what we allow and do not allow others to do for us.
Personal boundaries can be conventionally divided into two groups: physical and psychological. Physical ones include everything that concerns your body, your personal belongings, the space that you consider to be your own.
For example, you may not like it when they take your phone without permission, wake you up in the middle of the night with a call, come to visit unannounced, read your correspondence, try to touch you when you don’t want to. This list could go on for a long time, and it will be different for everyone.
Psychological boundaries can include the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual spheres. Their violation is associated with expressing unsolicited opinions, moralizing, advice, and attempts to manipulate the person. You come to visit, and you are persistently asked about his personal life. Or colleagues start giving advice on skin care or how to play at 9-masks-of-fire-slot.com/ the right way, even though you think there is nothing wrong with it, and you didn’t ask for advice.
Personal boundaries aren’t static, they can change over the course of life, in relationships with different people, depending on the situation and even your emotional state. For example, when you are angry, you may not want your partner to hug you, even though hugging him or her usually makes you happy. Or you allow your hairdresser to touch your head, but if a stranger on the subway does it, you may be surprised and angry. Our boundaries are flexible and can change, that’s normal.
How do you know if your boundaries are being violated?
The most important indicator is your anger, as well as similar feelings and emotions: irritation, anger, rage, indignation, resentment. These emotions signal that boundaries have been violated.
Nowadays, besides contacts in real life, where personal boundaries can be violated, there is the little-noticed influence of social media and the fashion industry on them. Our boundaries are violated by “planting” ideas in our heads about how we should look, what we should strive for, what means to use, how to take care of ourselves. We begin to want what we don’t want, to buy what we don’t need. And therein lies the danger, because the process happens almost unnoticed by ourselves.
To be more resilient to such influences, we must learn to define and protect our own boundaries in our daily interactions.
Before Asserting Boundaries, Understand What Your Relationship to Anger Is
An important indicator of the violation of personal boundaries is an emotion such as anger. Therefore, to be able to defend them, it’s important to be in healthy contact with your anger and to be able to express it adequately: not to ignore and accumulate it and then explode, but to dosage it in the moment.
There are times when a person, for whatever reason, does not feel anger or tries not to feel it. Perhaps he or she was once told not to, and now feels guilty about it when feeling angry. Or the person has difficulty expressing anger and is afraid of it. There may be different options, but most likely this person will have difficulties defining and defending his or her boundaries.
For many people, anger is still a taboo emotion, but in fact, experiencing anger is perfectly normal; it’s one of the basic emotions that all people have. Just because you feel angry when your personal boundaries are violated doesn’t mean you have to yell, stomp your feet, and fight to protect yourself.
How to Protect Boundaries
In situations where your boundaries are violated by people you don’t know or don’t know well, it doesn’t make sense to explain your feelings. If a drunken stranger approaches us on the street, it’s inappropriate to talk about personal boundaries, it’s better to ask him directly to step away from you or to do it yourself.
In protecting our personal boundaries with people we know and are close to, we can use the “I’m” message. The algorithm looks like this:
- The meaning of the fact.
- Feelings about the meaning of the fact.
- A need.
In communication, we may not use all the points of the algorithm, but the most important will be to say about the fact, your feelings and formulate a request. Sometimes this can look rather dry and strict, even ultimatum (but in some situations this is exactly what is needed): “I get angry when my things are touched without asking, don’t do that.”
It’s okay to mark personal boundaries, so be polite, but don’t go overboard with apologies. For example, when asked, “Can I come visit you this weekend?” to answer, “Sorry, but your coming to visit me this weekend is inconvenient, let’s do it next weekend?” – that’s okay. And the option of “It’s uncomfortable to talk about it, I hope you’re not offended, it was so awkward, sorry again” isn’t okay.
It’s important to understand that just because you learn to talk about your boundaries doesn’t guarantee that you will be heard and stop violating them. In all likelihood, there will be those who will be offended, angry, and genuinely misunderstood by your reaction. They can continue to do what you dislike. But your area of responsibility – to mark the boundary, and how to treat it – the responsibility of the other person. He may decide not to change anything, and then you will have a choice: to leave everything as it is or to reduce this relationship to the possible minimum.