• Where do Boundaries come from? Parents, Role
Models, Significant others.
• What are Boundaries? Physical, Emotional and
Mental limits. They define us and separate us
from others. They are formed from our values,
beliefs and attitudes. They allow us to be who
we are in our own right and in different roles
• Boundaries can be under-developed, over-
developed and distorted
• Example. A person steps on your toe or bumps
their shopping cart into you while you are waiting
to pay for groceries.
• Underdeveloped-You are aware of the intrusion,
but it is not OK to protest and you blame yourself
for being in the way
• Distorted-I have the right to behave in any way I
• Having good boundaries means that people do
not have the right to control you or you them.
• You need to respect others feelings and beliefs
and be able to express your needs to others or
to accept no when it is appropriate
• Boundaries means taking responsibility for
ourselves, preserving our integrity and
protecting us from harm. It enables us to fulfill
our emotional needs.
• We are aware that our defenses and defense
mechanisms isolate us. Good boundaries
however allows to have good control over our
lives and to make choices which we feel
comfortable with. It is much safer to be intimate
when one has good boundaries.
• Boundaries therefore: Define ourselves, Protect
us, Put us in charge and Promote Healthy
• If we have experienced neglect, abuse or
enmeshment in childhood-poor boundaries will
develop. Examples are over-protectiveness and
lack of autonomy or too much autonomy and
selfishness. Poor boundaries means increased
vulnerability leading to further boundary violation
• Too few boundaries we become the victim and
open to being bullied, overwhelmed or taken
advantage of. Too many boundaries means we
become “walled off”
• Poor self-esteem leads to poor boundaries. We
find ourselves not being able to say “No” and
end up feeling exhausted and resentful.
Appropriate care of the self leads to the
establishment of good boundaries.
• We are aware when our boundaries are violated
in some way. Therefore we must: Set limits,
Express our needs, Protest offenses against us,
Be able to say “Yes or No”, Not take on the
emotional needs of others, Not feel guilty when
• Expressing our own needs, Not blaming others
for our own behavior, Taking responsibility for
our own decisions and setting clear limits.
• Questions: How healthy are your boundaries? In
what areas do you see you need to improve?
How will you go about that?