When people think of boundaries they often make negative associations. Some of the descriptions I have heard include:
“A line that must not be crossed”
“A rule. Something I can’t do or someone else won’t do.”
None of those are wrong…. What I have noticed in talking to people is that boundaries are something many of us were not taught. Many people only have a vague idea of what the word boundary means or their description of a boundary is very rigid.
Actually setting boundaries or even just the idea evokes feelings of guilt for many people which often stems from their family of origin and continues into adulthood. It may have been “unacceptable” to set a boundary. For those who grew up without being able to do this, setting a boundary can often feel akin to punishing another person. For some people setting boundaries is easy in certain relationships such as in the workplace but more difficult in personal relationships or vice versa. If you struggle with setting boundaries in any of your relationships, stop and think:
“What am I feeling and thinking?”
“Does this remind me of a relationship/event in my childhood?”
“Is there a message I am still holding on to from that time?”
Once you can answer these questions it may give you some clarity about why you are struggling to set boundaries and what gets in the way.