Complaints: Saying “Yes” to the Bad
When parents teach children that setting boundaries or saying no is bad, they are teaching them that others can do with them as they contains much evil. Evil in the form of controlling, manipulative, and exploitative people. Evil in the form of temptations.
To feel safe in such an evil world, children need to have the power to say things like:
· “I disagree”
· “I will not”
· “I choose not to”
· “Stop that”
· “It hurts”
· “It’s wrong”
· “That’s bad”
· “ I don’t like it when you touch me there”
Blocking a child’s ability to say no handicaps that child for life. Adults with handicaps like Robert’s have this first boundary injury: they say yes to bad things.
These types of boundary conflict are called Compliance. Compliant people have fuzzy and indistinct boundaries; they “melt” into the demands and needs of other people. They can’t stand alone, distinct from people who want something from them. Complaints, for example, pretend to like the same restaurants and movies their friends do “just to get along.” They minimize their differences with others so as not to rock the boat. Complaints are chameleons. After a while it’s hard to distinguish them from their environment.
The inability to say no to the bad is pervasive. Not only does it keep us from refusing evil in our lives, it often keeps us from recognizing evil. Many compliant people realize too late that they’re in a dangerous or abusive relationship. Their spiritual and emotional “radar” is broken; they have no ability to guard their hearts.
These types of boundary problem paralyze people’s no muscles. Whenever they need to protect themselves by saying no, the word catches in their throats. This happens for a numbers of different reasons:
· Fear of hurting the other person’s feelings
· Fear of abandonment and separateness
· A wish to be totally dependent on another
· Fear of someone else’s anger
· Fear of punishment
· Fear of being shamed
· Fear of being seen as bad or selfish
· Fear of being unspiritual
· Fear of one’s overstrict, critical conscience
Avoidants: Saying “No” to the Good
Why is avoidance a boundary problem? At the heart of the struggle is a confusion of boundaries as walls. Boundaries are supposed to be able to “breathe,” to be like fences with a gate that can let the good in and the bad out. Individuals with walls for boundaries can let in neither bad nor good. No one touches them.
Controllers: Not Respecting Others’ Boundaries
The primary problem of individuals who can’t hear no – which is different from not being able to say no – is that they tend to project responsibility for their lives onto others. They use various means of control to motivate others to carry the load intended
Controllers come in two Types:
1. Aggressive Controllers. These people clearly don’t listen to others’ boundaries. They run over other people’s fences like a tank. They are sometimes verbally abusive, sometimes physically abusive. But most of the time they simply aren’t aware that others even have boundaries. It’s as if they live in a world of yes.
There’s no place for someone else’s no. They attempt to get others to change, to make the world fit their idea of the way life should be. They neglect their own responsibility to accept others they are.
2. Manipulative Controllers. Less honest than the aggressive controllers, manipulators try to persuade people out of their boundaries. They talk others into yes. They indirectly manipulate circumstance to get their way. They seduce others into carrying their burdens. They use guilt messages.
At this point, you might be saying to yourself, “wait a minute. How can controllers be called ‘injured’? They are the injurers, not the injured!” indeed, controllers do losses of damage to others, but they also have boundary problems. Let’s see what goes on underneath.
Controllers are undisciplined people. They have little ability to curb their impulse or desires. While it appears that they “get what they want in life,” they are still slaves to their appetites. Delaying gratification is difficult for them. That’s why they hate the word no from others. They desperately need to learn to listen to the boundaries of others to help them observe their own.
Controllers also are limited in their ability to take responsibility for owning their lives. Having relied on bullying or indirectness, they can’t function on their own in the world. The only remedy is to let controllers experience the consequences of their irresponsibility.
People stay with them out of fear, guilt, or dependency. If they’re honest, controllers rarely feel loved. WHY? Because in their heart of hearts, they know that the only reason people spend time with them is because they are pulling the strings. If they stopped threatening or manipulating, they would be abandoned. And, at some deep level, they are aware of their isolation.
Nonresponsive: Not Hearing the Needs of Others
How could this be a boundary problem? Isn’t it just basic insensitivity? Partially. But it’s not quite that simple. Remember that boundaries are a way to describe our spheres of responsibility: what we are and are not responsible for. While we shouldn’t take on the responsibility of others’ feelings, attitudes, and behaviors, we do have certain responsibility to each other.
Nonresponsive fall into one of two groups:
1. Those with a critical spirit toward others’ needs. They hate being incomplete in themselves. As a result, they ignore the needs of others.
2. Those who are so absorbed in their own desires and needs they exclude others (a form of narcissism).
This keeps them saying yes and keeps them out of touch with their own needs. Who fits the bill better than a controlling nonresponsive? And controlling nonresponsive search for someone to keep them away from responsibility. Who better than a compliant avoidant?
CAN’T SAY/CAN’T HEAR
NO – The compliant Feels Guilty
and/or controlled by others; can’t
YES – The Nonresponsive sets
boundaries against responsibility to love
NO – the Controller Aggressively or manipulatively
Violates boundaries of others
YES – The Avoidant Sets boundaries
against receiving care of others
Functional and Relational Boundary Issues
A final boundary problem involves the distinction between functional and relational boundaries. Functional Boundaries refers to a person’s ability to complete a task, project, or job. It has to do with performance, discipline, initiative, and planning. Relational boundaries refer to the ability to speak truth to others with whom we are in relationship.
We’ve taken a look at the different categories of boundaries. But how do you develop boundaries? Why do some people seem to have natural boundaries and others have no boundaries at all? As with many things, it has a lot to do with the family in which you grew up.
This article is Taken from Boundaries
Written by Arshad. A