What's up with all this talk about boundaries?
I look at boundaries in 2 different ways. 1) Setting limits, if needed, with those who you are in a relationship with. 2) Listening and speaking boundaries.
And what do healthy boundaries look like?
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Jason Polk 0:00
The word boundaries or the phrase having boundaries have almost become a buzzword or a buzz phrase, so to speak. So what exactly does that mean? What exactly does having boundaries mean? In this episode, I want to share two different ways to look at boundaries, and what having healthy boundaries means, and what it looks like, check it out.
This is the healthy relationship secrets for parents podcast. My name is Jason Polk, and I've worked exclusively with couples for over eight years, helping them create more connection and passion in their relationship. We typically look at boundaries as teaching someone how to be in relationship with you. For example, if you yell at me, I'm gonna give you space and walk away. Ideally, if I could express a healthy boundary, and that is a healthy listening boundary, as well as a healthy speaking or containing boundary, I may say something like, Hey, I can't hear you, if you're talking to me like that. Fine, find a different way to say it, please or whatever. Again, easy to say, a difficult to do. In this course, I may have mentioned this, my wife and I took called the positive parenting solutions course, it teaches that say if your young child is inconsolable, having a tantrum, and you've tried everything, right? I mean, you try to help them out, give them what they want, and it's really not working, they recommend walking away. And this is not being neglectful, you know, not walking away in a mean spirited way. But the idea is that there's a payoff for your young child to have a tantrum in a way based on the course, they're getting some significance, and maybe some power, so to speak. The theory of the course is that it wants to eliminate the payoff of the behavior. And so you leave the kind of, you know, remove the payoff. And then the idea is, is when you're calm, and when both of you are calm, to sit down and talk about that and give some nurture, if appropriate, or some guidance. But the thing is, is that we're teaching them how to be in relationship with us, and also with others. And so we can say it's also a form of setting a limit, for example, your behavior is not acceptable. And until you can calm yourself down, then I will return. And limits are really, really important. Of course, if we do set a limit with our kids, we want to do so in a way that is relational. For example, if I was walking away, I wouldn't say something like, dear, nothing I can do is helping. So what I'm going to do, I'm going to walk away, and when you've calmed down, I'm going to come back that is gently setting a limit while being relational. Or say they want their fifth cookie. And you say no, and they get upset. You know, I think one way of being relational, is simply explain, hey, I know you're upset, but you've already had four, and you can't have five, that's too much sugar. Right? Limits are important. You know, and let me share pmld, who is a therapist, she, I think she's retired retired therapist, but she specializes in developmental trauma. And her theory is that all kids need guidance, nurture, and limits. And limits can be the tough thing as parents, but I want to share this. If we don't get a lot of limits, and growing up. Maybe we have, you know, constantly been indulged, so to speak. Yeah, I'm sure you have as much cookies as you want or stay up as late as you want. When we get older, we haven't been able to sit with the discomfort of limits. But especially as adults, our limits are so important to be able to be in them to be able to be okay with them. And if you were an adult growing up, or if you were indoors as a kid growing up, that's going to be more challenging for you. And I think it kind of looks as you can't tell me what to do, or hey, whatever, I'm going to have another 236 drinks or so. And I think that is very important. So one way that I look at boundaries, is by setting limits. And going back, I'm not going I can't respond to you, if you're speaking to me like that. And if they still escalate, and this will be your partner, for example, then simply walk away. And another form of limits would be and this is more of an intense one. If you don't get sober, and this relationship is over, I totally rhymed. I wasn't planning on writing and writing. And but the limit is important, we can also say, you know, it's expressing a boundary, but I like to look at it as a limit. The limit is important, because you're telling them what you need to be in relationship with your partner. Or a better way to say you're expressing what you need to be able to be in relationship with your partner. And drinking, you know, that's kind of a doozy right there, especially if the safety is involved. And the thing is, if you do express a limit, you're going to have to follow through on it. Otherwise, you know, obviously, there isn't much teeth behind it. Here is another difficult thing about setting a limit. And sometimes, we don't know, really what we want. Like, what is it that we are standing up for? Right? And so this is another sign No, but an important thing about limits. But one of the benefits of limits, again, is you're teaching the other person how to be in relationship with you. And there's a really cool quote, I saw a t shirt and it said be you valid just however, the challenge is, can we really authentically be us, can you be you, but if you do, you will be able to set limits or we can say establish boundaries on what is appropriate. And what you will not tolerate. Another way of looking at boundaries is by thinking of it in terms of psychological boundaries. For example, on one side, we may be a boundary lists. And that is we don't really have a good listening boundary. And we don't have a good container boundary. Terry real again, my mentor, he had this analogy is kind of like an orange rind. The shiny part of the orange is your protective or listening boundary. The white part of the orange is your contained boundary. And oftentimes, if we're boundary less if someone says something to us, and it may not even be attended to be harsh, or maybe they're even having a bad day and they say something to us. We may over personalize what they said you know the kind of the idea of being thin skinned and usually is the case when we have a porous listening boundary. We have a porous containing boundary. For example, you said this to me? Well, I am going to share how I feel about that with absolutely no filter whatsoever. And especially if that person is one up boundaryless. They just say whatever comes to their mind, and they can be very mean spirited, the idea is you hurt me, I'm gonna hurt you. On the other side of boundaries, the other extreme.
And so the way we look at it is picture a horizontal line. On the right side, the extreme, its boundary less. On the left side, the other extreme, has been walled off. And by that you may not let anything in, you know, the shiny part of your orange is really, really strong, you don't let anything in. And with that you don't allow the influence of other people, primarily your partner come in to change how you think about something. In a way, you're a very rigid person. And in terms of the containing boundary, you are over contained. That is you don't let anything out. Think of, you know, in a way of sort of how some males are sort of, you know, brought up socialized, expressing vulnerability is being weak. So generally, what happens is that smells maybe overly contained in what we let out. And so what is health? So the healthy boundary, or having healthy boundaries, it's in the middle of that line, right? We don't want to be to boundary less, and we don't want to be too walled off, we want to stay in the middle, we say, you know, can you be connected and protected? That is you are letting things in appropriately. If someone says something to you, that you feel is untrue, you're able to not let that in. For example, that's not about me. And that's about them. Or if someone does say something to you, that does resonate, that is true. You can become curious, right? Or be interested? Hmm, okay. Yeah, that does resonate, I need to look at that. I need to look at that feedback, so to speak, but in a way where it doesn't cripple you, or you don't go one up and say, oh my gosh, are you serious, you're so full of crap. That is the middle, you're able to be connected and protected. And the other end, if you happen to be walled off the middle is first, you know, being aware of your reality in order to share it. And then letting out aspects of your reality to your partner. I even say emotional snippets, if you can be aware of your emotions, a little bit your emotions from day to day, or just what's going on with you and able to share a little bit, a little bit of that with your partner, that can go a long way. One, your partner's not making things up, but also to, if you do search, share some vulnerability. They can create an emotional connection in your relationship. And then also allowing influence. If you don't let anything in, if you don't let anyone say anything to you, in a way you're protected. But you're not living a very alive life, so to speak. If you're not letting anything in and you're not sharing anything to your partner may not know you that well. And so the health is can you hear what your partner is saying? And if you disagree with it, become curious about it, not dismissing ideally, if we can allow influence, if we can allow ourselves to be influenced by our partner. That's really important. No, for example, oh gosh, I haven't I never thought of it that way. Thank you for for letting me know. Right. You know, that is flexibility. That's a sign of health. Okay, so in summary, I look at boundaries as what you learn In what you let out and also limits, you know, I kind of think of what people traditionally call boundaries as setting limits. So to be healthy, can we know ourselves enough to set those limits with our partner with other people? And in regards to psychological boundaries, and day to day interactions with our partner and with others, can we stay in the middle? Can we stay connected and protected? And that is the boundary practice. So, boundaries are not easy. Good luck. Let me know how it goes. Thanks for listening.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai