Boundary work is essential for those invested in personal growth and development. When one thinks of boundaries, they associate it with saying no to others. The focus seems to be on how our boundaries are not respected by others and what to do when that happens. But if there are a lot of us thinking the same way, who is not respecting others’ boundaries? Could that be us as well? If you believe to have weak boundaries, you most likely struggle to respect other people’s. To help you understand how you might be doing that, here are 5 signs you do not respect other people’s boundaries:
1- You are sure of other people’s problems: you do not recognise others as experts in their own lives and believe to be the one who knows the true root of their suffering. Therefore, you spend great energy psychoanalysing them while overlooking your own vulnerabilities and limitations.
2- You do not accept when others need distance: you feel personally attacked when others do not want to spend time with you. When they express their need to take distance, you are not interested in their reasons or even take them into consideration.
3- You resent others when they do not agree with you: you feel a sense of rejection and alienation when you fail to influence others. You hold rigid values about relationships and struggle to accept individuality and be emotionally/psychologically separate from other people.
4- You do not accept others’ limitations: you have high expectations of others. When they are not met, you feel restless, disappointed and/or resentful. You struggle to accept people and things just as they are and not how you want them to be.
5- You do not see others as whole: your views of others are based on projection, or on how they make you feel. You see others only in their suffering and limitations to feel empowered and have a sense of self-esteem. You struggle to separate your own feelings of insecurity and inadequacy from your perception of others.
Relationships are challenging and few of us know how to properly navigate them. Healthy boundaries are at the core of what makes relationships functional. Boundary work is a two-way street, however. You can become mindful of your limits, learn how to express them and gain a greater sense of wellbeing in relational contexts, but that does not exclude the role you play in honouring and respecting other people’s boundaries as well.