How To Draw A Straight Line (Or Boundary)
A boundary is a lesson in consent, which in turn is rooted in a sense of self. Who you are, says what you allow. A boundary is not a weapon or defence mechanism – these are escapes. Boundaries force you to do the hard work of taking responsibility for what you need & making it happen instead of playing the victim.
Establishing boundaries means reinstating the terms of a relationship. It means acknowledging that you are invested in continuing the connection. A lack of boundaries is often accompanied by all manner of consent violations. Rage comes up because thinking about consent & boundaries reveals how we ourselves have disrespected these. More hard work in facing our mistakes, taking responsibility & making amends. Consent & boundaries like other healthy things start from within & are built by example.
Boundaries must be articulated in responsible, considerate ways to other people. A lot of people have never experienced having their consent valued before so may be surprised. If you want a context of consent in your relationship, you must bring it about in a way that respects the consent of the other person too & demonstrates by example. Recognising another’s right to consent makes you surer of your own. If you consistently uphold their rights (even when they don’t), it’s easier to be sure about your own.
They may not want to change the terms of your relationship. How can you convey a context of boundaries if it lands as an attack on the other? Not by anger. Attack is selfish, a way to play victim. Boundaries are the opposite of selfish. They make the association healthier for everyone, rather than benefit one person at the cost of the other. Boundary drawing cannot be vindictive or lashing out. Work hard at managing your responses.
If you are invested enough in the relationship, you must find a way that makes it valuable for them as well as you. Is it worth this effort for you? Self-respect & safety first. Why waste emotions if you aren’t that invested? Don’t you deserve better? That may be the place to start when you think boundaries.
: THANK YOU: Alanis Morissette