Do YOU Have Healthy Boundaries? Here is How to Tell -
We hear the term boundaries quite a lot....and it's essential to understand what it means to have healthy boundaries.
Why is it important?
The lack of healthy boundaries causes our relationships to feel draining and sometimes toxic.
So what does it mean to have unhealthy boundaries?
Simply put, if we are enmeshed in another person's experience, and trying to control the experience of someone else - even our children - we do not have healthy boundaries.
What is enmeshment?
"Enmeshment is a description of a relationship between two or more people in which personal boundaries are permeable and unclear. This often happens on an emotional level in which two people “feel” each other’s emotions, or when one person becomes emotionally escalated and the other family member does as well. A good example of this is when a teenage daughter gets anxious and depressed and her mom, in turn, gets anxious and depressed. When they are enmeshed the mom is not able to separate her emotional experience from that of her daughter even though they both may state that they have clear personal boundaries with each other. Enmeshment between a parent and child will often result in over involvement in each other’s lives so that it makes it hard for the child to become developmentally independent and responsible for her choices." - Description taken from Fulshear
When we are not able to own our own experience and stay rooted in that, it's easy to become enmeshed in another's and think that it is our own.
What does it mean to have healthy boundaries?
Having strong boundaries and a clear and healthy Aura and energetic field requires us to SEE ourselves FULLY....and to stay grounded in that. It is allowing someone to have their own emotional experience without attaching to it and FEELING what they are feeling. Empathy and Enmeshment are two very different things. It is knowing that we can be experiencing something completely different than someone else - and it is OK and perfectly healthy.
I remember my daughter and I were on a walk one day last summer and she was very upset about a situation that was happening....I found myself for a moment wanting to tell her to calm down and that it wasn't as big of a deal as she was making it. I stopped myself before I could say anything....and realized that I was uncomfortable with her expression of her emotions. I was able ground myself back into me....and allow her to feel what she needed to feel without me becoming attached to it. It was her experience and all I had to do was hold space for her to feel that and allow her to know that it was safe for her to have her own unique experience.
I'm grateful that I can recognize this at this point in my life, because it wasn't always the case.
A lot of family relationships can be like this where the parent or child feels that they need to 'manage' the other persons emotions....and when this happens we don't know where we begin and where we end. This causes our energy field to have holes in it and for our energy to become depleted....
A few questions for you to contemplate around your own emotional boundaries:
1) Can you identify how you feel when you are with someone....apart from how they feel?
2) Do you ever feel like you need to save someone from their emotions....or 'fix' them?
3) Do you ever expect someone else to save you from your emotions or get hooked in to your emotional experience and feel the same way that you do?
4) Are you in relationships that feel emotionally draining?
5) Are you able to allow someone to have their own emotional experience without you becoming 'hooked in'?
When we grow up in a family where this is the dynamic and we do not heal from this, we take this into all of our other relationships.
How do we heal from this and reclaim our sovereignty?
We heal from this when we choose to realize that life is always leading us back to ourselves, to learn and discover more of the hidden places within us that we have closed off and repressed. Identifying and working with our shadow and doing inner child work is the medicine that we need to start the process of coming home to ourselves.
When we are enmeshed with another it's a clue that we are disconnected from ourselves....we are using the other person to validate our experience vs. being able to do that for ourselves.
Remember that everyone is having their own experience in this life....and our job is to love them through it by staying rooted in ourselves and our experience while holding space for theirs without becoming attached to it.
What is your experience with boundaries in relationship?
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