PERSONAL BOUNDARIES? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
When asked what is meant by a personal boundary, often the response is confusion, as it is hard to maintain boundaries when you have been sexually abused.
Personal boundaries define you as a person, stating what is normal and not normal and also, more importantly, what is you and not you, and where someone else's boudaries begin and end.
In the same way that you keep the front door of your house closed, you should also be aware of what could be intrusive in your life, and be aware that some other people also don't have an idea of personal boundaries, as they tend to take advantage of you and use you again and again. There is also the real risk that if you have no personal boundaries, that you could become intrusive to others.
All of your personal boundaries become blurred and often you find people walking all over you, taking advantage of you, and you end up feeling abused, all over again, so have a read of the following and see if it makes sense.
Here are three common myths we end up with:
"SETTING PERSONAL BOUNDARIES IS SELFISH"
Not so, because by doing so you're taking care of yourself, and in the long term, others too because they will learn how far they can and cannot go with you. It's not being selfish in the least.
"IF I SET PERSONAL BOUNDARIES, I WILL HURT OTHER PEOPLES FEELINGS"
Not so, Other people may be upset or even angry that you have personal boundaries, but only because it stops them taking advantage of you, so what's safer, them taking advantage of you and you feeling used and abused. or you staying safe? I hope the answer is the latter.
"IF I SET PERSONAL BOUNDARIES, IT CAUSES ME TO FEEL GUILY AND CONFUSED"
All you will be doing is letting go of the misguided sense of obligation to do as you were told,, just as it was when you were abused, and that sense of obligation to please others is often negative in its message. Think about how you have reacted to someone esle's personal boundaries and how it made you feel. Did you think that person was strong and outspoken? You can be too.
So start practising how to set personal boundaries, by saying NO to the bad things that you are asked or expected to do. How? By listening to your body and how it reacts when you are asked, and if your first instinct is to take a deep breathe, that means NO, so say it, and don't fall into the trap of having to justify it either.
Avoid reacting to someone, or something, and instead respond to it, because by doing that, you stay in control, retain your options and choices, but of you react to the situation, you often end up with more problems relating to your personal boundaries and how they failed to kick in.
Think of it this way; By allowing someone to be able to cause havoc in YOUR life, by doing or saying something that hurts or harms you, gives them control over you again, and allows them to make you feel that you are being abused again.
If you react, they control you and your feelings, but respond appropriatly and you remain in control.
After all, survivors need to remain in control at all times, as that is what has kept us safe all this time