Boundaries—Hedges of a Healthy Relationship
Updated: Oct 15, 2019
Article One: Introduction to Intimacy
Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless…
(Proverbs 23:10 NIV)
· A friend who is overly kind and desiring to be a confidante and a “listening ear” winds up divulging shared secrets that were entrusted to them.
· A man who finds himself constantly getting into relationships and settling for being the “side dude” as his girlfriend’s jokingly, but accurately, will call him.
· A member of a pastoral staff at a church having demands and tasks put upon them without being asked and assumed by the staff that the member doesn’t mind because it is the member’s calling.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the desire to understand what relationships are about is one of the most sought after topics for which people long for answers. We desire it, seek it out, and wish for relationships and companionship to be in our present and future, but realize that we are somewhat ill-equipped to operate in them. It isn’t a small population of people who wrestle with this. We all have or have had moments where we stumbled and bumbled unsuccessfully through our relationships. What is discovered is that in some of our relationships, there are a mixture of some healthy, some partially healthy, and definitely some that are toxic. It can appear as a great mystery that stirs up typical questions about relationships: Why do all my relationships turn out like this? Is there something wrong with how I pick my friends/romantic partner/business partner/church? Is there something wrong with/in me to have these relationship problems? What can I do to have better or to be better in relationships?
What conjures up these particular issues within relationships comes down to boundaries. How does the presence of boundaries, or lack thereof, make that much of a difference? I have had a handful of people question why the need to create healthy boundaries, and most of the time wonder what they are. Believe it or not, in certain sessions, when I discuss setting up boundaries to some clients, there is almost a look of terror or puzzlement on their faces. It becomes a tell-tale sign that developing healthy margins around their lives and interests is a foreign, scary, and barely-witnessed concept.
In this blog series, Boundaries—Hedges of a Healthy Relationship, we will explore the landscape of boundaries, basing the majority of the information from the workbook Boundary Power by Mike S. O’Neil and Charles E. Newbold. This series will aim towards the following specific goals:
· Identify and define what boundaries are and what they are not
· Understand the origins of where we learn about boundaries and the significance of them in relationships
· Dispel fears and anxieties about preconceived interpretations of what boundaries are
· Instruct and inform how and when to establish healthy boundaries and know how to utilize them effectively
· Provide literature about boundaries for future personal references
We will also explore the different types of boundaries that we deal with:
· Categories of Unhealthy Boundaries
· Varieties of People with Boundary Issues
The hope of this series is to expose and better equip those who are seeking to live and love healthily in these interactions, to cultivate intimacy, and to function in authenticity. Ultimately, this has the ability to build better connections—a healthy relationship to self, then a healthy self who impacts the community healthily. Ideally, we desire for healthy communities to build a society that operates in the well-being of others overall. This desired outcome is what is intended for relationships. May we continue to strive for this ideal!
Tammy Miller, MAT, LSW