Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter
“The nicest of people in a maladaptive wounded state who have the best of intentions must be mindful of honoring other people’s personal rights while they are learning to not only manage their own boundaries but to respect other’s as well.”
A very important and not so obvious lesson relates to the challenges of managing boundaries for those with codependent tendencies, heavily reliant on others for self-worth.
Case in point. An abuse survivor who is far into her healing journey is called daily by a life-long friend who is a serious codependent and who uses her friend’s power to sustain herself but does not work on building her who own self-assuredness to help her through her personal issues.
Case in point. An abuse survivor with admitted over dependence on others for validation, goes to her sister to let her know how her non-traditional therapy went and was told by her sister never to do that again and feels extreme shame.
What can we learn from these interrelationships related to personal boundaries?
Boundaries Control the Flow in Both Directions
People who are heavily dependent on others for self-worth particularly may have a hard time sourcing their own power and learning self-reliance. Codependents have learned to routinely not only let others violate their boundaries but also to violate other’s boundaries to source from them what they need to define their worth.
We can see how this relates in the first case above. It is not fair and totally disrespectful to legitimate friends to overly burden them with too much information about your problems, issues, and your journey, and worse, expect them to wallow in self-pity with you. Innocently, you become, at a minimum, annoying and in the worse case, burdensome, exploitive, and even toxic. So, the nicest of people in a maladaptive wounded state who have the best of intentions must be mindful of honoring other people’s personal rights while they are learning to manage not only their own boundaries but to respect other’s as well.
Let’s look at another very important and not so obvious lesson from the second example.
Don’t Tell All
Now, an emotionally healthy individual whose ego is intact, would merely be concerned that your therapy worked for you and it met your healing goals and ask you how the therapy went. His or her concerns would be focused on your welfare. The point is that by learning not to tell your “sister,” who in this example represents anyone who is not supportive or perhaps even toxic and learning instead to focus on relying on those who do have your back and will reliably validate you, you learn to depend more comfortably on yourself and less on others. Empaths should also be aware that they are naturally trusting of people and have a tendency to voluntarily tell others everything! Readily sharing too much information with others can leave us vulnerable to emotional attackers as well. You can also learn to limit your group of friends to just a key few you can periodically check in with for assurance rather than reliance on their power or acceptance of your decisions to define your worthiness.
Healing and Learning Better Boundary Management
We can learn to better manage boundaries during our healing and recovery by learning what personal rights are and where healthy authorities and boundaries start and finish, learning to communicate assertively, and doing self-esteem work. Living alone and staying single through healing can facilitate the process. Learning to better deal with toxic people and situations also supports boundary management.
These will not only help us make great strides in our healing and sustain our emotional health but also support emotionally healthy and mutually respectful and loving relationships. I explore these issues and provide many more healing lessons, tips and tools in my book Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips and Tools for Abuse Survivors.