The Instagram comment above is the seed for this article.
I’ve written about how to set the necessary (sound) boundaries. But the above quote ignited a new thought: Since there are healthy boundaries, there must also be unhealthy boundaries.
Sadly, numerous harmful strategies pollute our interactions. Although the details differ, all unhealthy boundaries share the same commonality. In the process of setting and enforcing that boundary, negativity usually grows. somewhere.
It can take the form of emotions (such as getting angry for saying yes under pressure) or physical sensations and symptoms that make you feel bad. , in many cases it will be.
As an example, consider the following five unhealthy bounds:
1. to be driven by fear
In certain situations, such as when you have to pass a mountain lion while hiking, motivating yourself to pump your legs faster can help ease your fears. In most cases, however, allowing fear to manage the decision-making process can backfire.
Let’s apply this principle to our topic. Suppose the pastor’s wife asked you to decorate the sanctuary for Easter. It’s your turn to host your family.
Spending all this time, plus the mere thought of decorating a church, leaves you both fascinated and exhausted.
But an idea comes to mind. How can I turn my pastor down? Don’t you want to be an integral part of your church? Can I use it?
If this thought prompts you to nod your agreement, beware. Anthrophobia is on the verge of breaking through the limits (Deuteronomy 1:17, Proverbs 29:25, Isaiah 51:12, John 7:13). This broad concept covers many fears, such as disappointing others, not being accepted, fear of being angry, and is a common unhealthy boundary.
2. lie and run away
Is there anyone in your world who specializes in being pushy? Perhaps it’s Ashley who insists on dropping by on a random Wednesday because she’s bored. Never mind having just crawled through her three meetings with irate executives in a row and ready for a bubble bath and a subdued bublé.
Experience has shown that if you describe how tired you are, your friend will respond with a refreshing excuse why she still needs to come.
So you lie. “I have COVID.”
The easiest way to get rid of Ashley’s humor is to convince yourself.
But the Lord hates deceitful tongues (Proverbs 6:16-17). Lying to rid yourself of unwanted visits makes it easier to tell another lie next time. Who can say for sure that Ashley won’t send you to a repeat performance?Revelation 21:8).
Saying no takes fortitude, but it’s worth the practice.
Continuing the analogy, bear with me.
Let’s say your friends stormed in anyway and robbed you of your night, even though you lied about COVID. (She’s double boosted and recovered from COVID, Ashley purred at her.)
If you get upset by her behavior and text another friend about it, you’ve just triangulated the conflict.
As the term suggests, triangulation occurs when three people tango together. Instead of confronting person A with whom we have a problem, we complain about person A to person B.
Dragging the other party right into your grievances can complicate matters and is arguably unscriptural. Proverbs 25:9 “Discuss with your neighbors and do not reveal their secrets to others” (NKJV).
Do you tend to overshare?
Be aware of other users’ reactions after sharing. If you always get nothing but warm responses, you may have shared too many intimate details too quickly.
If this phenomenon explains you, ask yourself why it tends to work this way. Just ask and wait for your inner reaction. Is there something in you that craves acceptance? Note? love?
Unfortunately, oversharing doesn’t encourage these things. It might just discourage others from getting to know you better.
Think of setting boundaries with new acquaintances as introducing them to your residence.
Strangers should only be received on the porch (and talk superficial things like where you work and what you do).
In contrast, a buddy you’ve met a few times can walk into your place. It’s appropriate to tell more about yourself, including why you decided to pursue this career despite the pressures of running the family business.
Once the person has taken the time to prove that they deserve a closer friendship, go ahead and entertain her in the kitchen.
“Boundaries are not a way to punish what we don’t like.” This Instagram post earned the first comment I shared.
The idea seems simple. Whether it’s because we’ve stressed enough sentences in our books on boundaries, or because we understand it instinctively, it makes sense not to weaponize boundaries against someone else.
However, if you get caught up in an unresolved fuss that will only lead to more misunderstandings and heartbreak over time, you may want to retaliate.
I mean. Some people don’t call it retribution and use euphemisms instead, like “I have to stop talking to Ashley because of my mental health.”
This sounds good, especially for a psychologist like me. Mental health is a valuable commodity that must be protected.
But, frankly, will you give us time and space to reflect? What are the real reasons behind the decision to set this particular boundary? I wonder
Weaponizing boundaries will not lead to thriving relationships because they are against Romans 12:18“If possible, live in peace with everyone, it’s up to you.”
remove the burden of unhealthy people
Anyone can learn the skills necessary to set healthy boundaries. But if the thoughts overwhelm you, here are some starting points you can adopt.
-If tapped out, name it. Don’t let shame fool you into taking on another assignment, volunteering an extra day for him, or committing to something you can’t afford.God never asks of you worship your church leadersSo please decline the pastor’s request if necessary.
–Consider Ashley on top when you have to reject a relentless soul. Have the courage to say no.
–Only share valuable information about your life with people you trust. Jesus said: Don’t throw your pearls to swine. If so, they may trample them underfoot, turn and tear you to pieces. “Matthew 7:6). The point is not to compare anyone to an animal, but that everything has its time (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Disclose intimate details only at appropriate times.
–Always trying to clear up misunderstandings. Follow the steps outlined in . Matthew 18:15-17.
The last bullet point involves conflict resolution, which tends to scare many of us. (Maybe that’s why there are so many resources on this topic.) If bonus chapter for survive difficult peopleEasy to handle, comes with bite size instructions.
With practice, you can undo whatever causes you to set or maintain unhealthy boundaries in your life.
take it from someone I lied Set boundaries for her.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/AaronAmat
audrey david heiser, PhD In addition to being a California Licensed Psychologist, Certified Internal Family System (IFS) Therapist, and IFSI Certified Clinical Consultant, Surviving Difficult People: When Your Faith and Emotions CollideAfter founding and leading a counseling center at the Los Angeles Dream Center, she now devotes herself to trauma survivors, including emotional abuse.visit her www.aimforbreakthrough.com