Drawing a Line in the Sand...
Having your boundaries violated can be devastating, especially when it is repeatedly done by family members, friends, and especially intimate partners. For some, having your boundaries violated can become such a "normal" occurrence that you may not even realize when it is happening. So, how do you know when one of your boundaries has been violated? Answer the following questions:
What does your body tell you when someone violates your boundary?
What do your emotions tell you when your boundaries are crossed?
Do you feel uneasy, like you are on the edge of getting ready to run? Do you feel your walls come up, becoming guarded with your speech and body language? Do you become angry and/or aggressive?
What do you DO when someone violates your boundaries? Do you ignore it, call it out, set boundaries? Allow your boundaries to be crossed?
Do you play small in your life; in your relationships and at work? If you are unsure, read the following and see if playing small applies to you:
1. You wait to be asked or to share your truth(this is often a result of fear- read #2). Examples of this include waiting to share your opinion, waiting to talk at a meeting, or waiting to share how you really feel with loved ones until and unless they bring issues up. You also wait to highlight just how talented you are unless asked by others to showcase your services. You hide.
2. Fear overwhelms and ultimately defeats you. You fear rejection, judgment, disappointing others or losing love. So you comply with those around you both personally and professionally even if your soul is screaming that it wants something else. Even if your spirit calls you to be bold, brave and to spread your glorious wings; you clip them to make others comfortable.
Communication can be challenging in any relationship and especially in one that is unhealthy. The fear of starting a fight, being rejected or ignored, or having your partner refuse to support you can feel unbearable. Whether the relationship has some type of abuse or addiction present or there has been past betrayal or abuse, speaking your own opinion or bringing up personal needs or wants can cause significant anxiety. You may have had one or many challenging experiences in the past with bringing up your needs, leaving you to want to bottle up any requests, leaving you feeling hopeless about any future attempts at communication. Or you may feel forced to live in what seems to be an unfair lie without the opportunity to share your truth of what you need.
We live in a disconnected culture of swipes, clicks, downloads, likes, and tweets. While some experts say this is how the latest generation connects and engages with one another, many people share feeling lonely, depressed, and long for real, organic, genuine intimacy.
Yet, even the word intimacy in and of itself is often misunderstood. Many people assume intimacy primarily has to do with being sexual. As Dr. Patrick Carnes explains in his classic workbook titled Facing The Shadows©1997, there are 12 Dimensions of Courtship. Intimacy is #7 on the list!
Intimacy, according to Carnes, entails an attachment to one's partner which requires an immense amount of vulnerability. The act of attaching to another person and expressing intimacy in this way has proved challenging for most people, especially with how much people snuggle up to their mobile devices while laying in bed rather than cuddling with their partner in order to share cozy details about their day.
What if your inner voice, not the critic but the kinder, more gentle supportive inner voice, were to say this entire statement to you...
"I see you sitting there, dear one. Perhaps staring at your phone in a social media-medicated state. Or glaring at your bills piling up as you try to keep up with the disaster that your spouse has created for your family. Or perhaps you are waiting for the phone to ring to tell you that you don't have an STD from acting out(nor does your partner). Or, you have some solid recovery time from your primary addiction but can't quite kick your smoking or drinking or over-eating habit (or co-addiction).
I am here to tell you, you can do it. You Got This. When every day life tries to pull you down, it is just a test. The universe (or whatever you want to call it) has a masterful (and sometimes frustrating or even sickly humorous) way of putting experiences in front of us to see how strong we are, if we are ready to take on the challenge, if we have the strength and fortitude to get through the next 24 hours.