I keep reading references to 'boundaries' in your posts. It sounds interesting. I've always felt like I've never kept my boundaries intact when dealing with people. I've always let them just jump right in and trample over them. Not consciously. Can you give me a quick outline of what you mean by defining the boundaries? I would really appreciate it.
Of course Trix. Boundaries are so important IMO. I had a major problem with them so I feel that I have a doctorate in them after I worked through mine! You should be able to get through your day without others making inappropriate demands on you. If you go through your day worrying about what others are thinking or expecting you need to work on your boundaries. I just had an open discussion with my husband this morning about an issue that we have been batting back and forth "under the radar" and I finally brought it up and discussed it openly so that I wasn't stressed out about what he wanted with this issue. We do have connections with people and we cannot be totally independent so we need to work these things out frequently with others. I feel like I am rambling here, maybe if you give me an incident that is bothering you I can explain better. I guess what I am saying is that you should be in control of your life. If you feel that someone else is, this is a boundary issue - you are letting someone else steer your boat - they are crossing your boundary. If you make a decision for yourself based on what you think others want, this is a boundary issue. If you allow others to mistreat you this is a boundary issue. You decide how people treat you and you have to stop them in their tracks and so NO you cannot treat me this way. It is an invisible barrier that you put between yourself and others. You determine who crosses and when and how far they can cross. You are in control all of the time. You can let those you trust cross far and get very close. Those who are harmful are kept far back. I guess it is a mindset that you have the power to make these decisions and you have the power to enforce these decisions. You have to be mindful of your needs and mindful about what is going on in your environment. Maybe I can post more later after I think about it better.
Maria, you sound like you have a good therapist. Yes, if a therapist is touching me for his needs he is crossing my boundary inappropriately because this is not why I came to him, I am vulnerable to him, and this is not in the agreement. The agreement is for the therapist to help me with MY needs and then I pay him money. If a therapist touches you because they feel that YOU need a hug at the time this is fine if you are comfortable with it. It should always be for your needs and never for the therapist's needs. Also, if a therapist starts to tell you what to do they are crossing your boundary. The perfect therapist will help you make your own decisions and teach you how so that you can grow to become independent and not always need a therapist to help you. There has been a lot of talk about the therapist's need to keep his own boundaries - maybe this is what you are talking about. I will use myself as an example. I interact with a lot of people here but I maintain my boundaries. I will never become too involved to the point where if you are having a bad day then I will have a bad day. This is your life, not mine. I guess this is emotional boundaries for the therapist, that they have to keep the patient's life seperate from their own. I hope this is what you were talking about.
I've always found Sannah's insights to be helpful too. Setting and keeping boundaries has been one of my saving graces- and it has taken (is taking) a lot of work. I have to live by my expectations, moral code and plan, and nobody else's.
I was also lucky to have a good psychologist (at least when I was still in the service, I did) who helped me to work on some life tools that have helped a lot.