Do you feel like a doormat? Do you find yourself in uncomfortable relationships or situations because you can't say no or fear what others will think or do? You probably feel resentment, anger or self-hatred as a result.
On the flip side, do you do whatever you please without regard for anyone else? Either way, you might have an issue with unhealthy boundaries.
We teach our children (who will naturally test our boundaries and their's) how to behave in a civilized way, to care for themselves and others and to be safe. Stay behind the fence, don't touch the fire, ask permission. These are healthy behavioral boundaries. If parents aren't consistent in enforcing these boundaries, children might grow up lacking them altogether.
But sometimes they get skewed and stretched. Negative emotional experiences change us. Perhaps there is a bully involved, fear of rejection or loss or verbal, physical or sexual abuse and many others. This might result in promiscuity, social anxiety, fear of others reactions, etc.
These skewed physical boundaries morph into emotional and mental boundaries. Some examples: an inner voice placing limits on what you're able or deserve to accomplish, living life in a comfort zone in which you fear taking even calculated risks, fear of close relationships or never even considering that you could change your career or live your dream.
It's constructive to check your boundaries or lack of them. Look back in your life and find out their origins. Ask yourself if these events are still affecting you and, if so, do they still serve you or stand in the way of your growth? Find a therapist to assist you in readjustment of these boundaries to help you feel empowered and capable. You deserve to enjoy life and live it to its fullest.
Remember: You can't be a doormat unless you lie down in front of the door.
CONTACT JANET BERG to suggest topics for this column: [email protected].