The Importance of Boundaries

Someone told me the other day I didn’t need to be angry.

They then went on to state, that my anger was most likely due to my past. And not because of how they and/or others were treating me in the present moment.

According to, The Wellness Center (2022), boundaries are set to identify what behaviors an individual will allow and not allow.

Emotional and/or physical boundaries can be created.

Boundaries are defined as a indicator of how someone should be treated.

They inform others of what someone feels is respectful and disrespectful.

They are a way for people to ensure their needs for physical, emotional, and mental safety are being met (The Wellness Center, 2022).

If someone repeatedly states, they do not like being treated a certain way. Then people who respect that individual would stop treating them that way.

It doesn’t matter if others don’t think there’s anything wrong with their actions or words to that person.

The other person has clearly stated they don’t like it.

For example, if an adult keeps slapping a young child for no reason other than they think it’s funny. And the young child repeatedly tells them, “Stop, I don’t like it.”

If the adult respects the child, they’d stop. Because the behavior is not fun for the child.

However, the adult could choose not to stop. They could choose to continue to slap the child.

Now the child has a few options. The child could choose to walk away. They could choose to allow the adult to slap them. Or they could choose to react in an aggressive manner in response to the adult’s lack of a desire to stop slapping them.

Regardless of which action the child takes, the child would clearly be angry. As any individual would be in this situation.

The adult could respond with, “You’re just mad because me slapping you reminds me of that one time so and so slapped you.”

But it doesn’t matter why the child doesn’t like the behavior. Whether or not the behavior brings up their past.

Because everyone has a past.

It’s people’s memories of their past that helps them identify what they feel is tolerable and not tolerable.

What is safe and not safe.

The adult does not have to respect the child’s boundaries. But then, as mentioned earlier, the child has a decision to make.

They could continue to allow themselves to be disrespected and be slapped.

Or they can choose to remove themselves from the situation they believe is unhealthy to them.

And they have the right to be angry. Because the child repeatedly stated their boundaries. And their boundaries were repeatedly ignored.

Emotions are the brains reactions to a situation. Behaviors are the responses people choose to make due to their emotions.

The child has the right to be angry. Because that’s their brain’s emotional reaction. It is how they respond behaviorally to their anger that makes it acceptable or unacceptable.

Because that’s boundaries.

Boundaries are a form of self-care.

People set boundaries at work, in their familial relationships, their romantic relationships, and their friendships.

And boundaries should be respected.

The person who set the boundaries should not be blamed for doing such. In fact, it is healthy to do so.

Healthy relationships require boundaries.

Boundaries are set in a healthy parent – child relationship.

For example, parents not changing in front of a child. Or children not allowing parents to see them change after a certain age (most likely a few years before the preadolescent age).

Written by Eriko Her, M.A., T-LPC

References

Wellness center. Boundaries: What are they and how to create them | Wellness Center | University of Illinois Chicago. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2022, from https://wellnesscenter.uic.edu/news-stories/boundaries-what-are-they-and-how-to-create-them/

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