Saturday, December 5, 2009

Boundaries: Critical For Survival

Without them, you will be ripped into shreds and made to feel like a terrible person. With them, you can maintain a *healthy* sense of self-worth, if you can maintain them.

If you can maintain them.

If you can maintain them.

I'd argue that any of us that are in a long-term relationship with a borderline can't maintain properly boundaries with our partner. We have a tendency to let our partners regularly violate our boundaries and hurt us, telling us terrible things about us and put all of their misery on us.

What Are Boundaries?

Simply stated (wish me luck here), boundaries are the rules that a person lives by:
- How will I allow people to treat me?
- Will I let people make fun of me, ridicule me, treat me poorly, or will I leave such situations?
- Will I let people hurt me, or will I not stand for being hurt, ending a relationship when boundaries are violated?

We have boundaries in all of our relationships, with friends, family and lovers. Most of the time, self-esteem and self worth will impact how healthy our boundaries are with others. Those with low self esteem and low self worth will let others violate what would be healthy boundaries.

I was told by a counselor once that my exBPD girlfriend had no boundaries. Thinking about it more, I disagree. Let me explain.

Borderlines have difficulty establishing and enforcing boundaries. Their instability makes them put up boundaries that are too strong, then letting their boundaries down completely. Because they are such extreme people, they cannot have healthy boundaries, and in fact, they will often put up such strong boundaries that they will alienate others.

The BPD that constantly plays victim to another person and claims to be regularly victimized is putting up boundaries, no matter how dysfunctional they may be. They are telling their partner that they were victimized by another person and they don't want to have that happen again. My exBPD played the victim card that she was extremely hypersensitive. She would fabricate thoughts that I had, accusing me of doing horrible things that I never had any intention of doing.

Suddenly, she was again playing the victim, making sure that terrible things didn't happen to her. This kept her boundaries too strong and invaded my boundaries.

My initial response to these strange, completely off-the-wall accusation was, "I have nothing to hide and would never do such a thing to you." But over time, these off-the-wall accusations wear on a person. My responses weakened to I would never intentionally try to make you feel like this, to which she accused me of hurting her, but not intentionally doing things. Like I was doing this subconsciously.

This was all in her head, but it became my reality. She worked into me and violated my boundaries for healthy self-worth and self esteem. Because I was newly divorced and hurting, I allowed this to happen -- for over a year, then I had to start protecting myself.

Initially, I thought that she would see the good in me -- the person that I was. She never did. In a way, I was trying to violate healthy boundaries by trying to show her who I was.

Boundaries can be confusing. Remember that healthy boundaries are critical to someone feeling good about themselves, which is healthy self esteem. If you feel bad about yourself, first check and see if someone is making you feel like that. If they are, I'd bet that they're violating your boundaries.

1 comment:

  1. Are there any posts about working with a BPD? I am in a long-term working relationship with a man that I now suspect has BPD. He is so so so nasty to me and a few hours later does not even remember being mean, or just doesn't believe he was irrational or ridiculously mean. I know, I am not a victim here; I stay in this relationship instead of finally getting out. I have tried several times, but take him back each time.... HELP!


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