St. Augustine Woman's Journal - Educational Resource to the Women of St. Johns County Since 2009

Communicating Through Boundaries and Buttons!

 

September 1, 2018 | View PDF

Perhaps the most frequent issue arising in psychotherapy today is one's management of personal boundaries and our emotional reactions when someone is pushing our buttons. Whether we LOSE OUR COOL or REMAIN CALM under the pressures from our spouse, children, friends or bosses, is often directly related to the weakness or strength of our boundary management system. The inverse is also true, when our boundaries are healthy, we often find less pressure being applied to us – we simply are not available to "take the bait" and others seem to be aware of this (consciously or unconsciously).

In his highly insightful book, Scream Free Parenting, Hal Runkel refers to boundaries as your space and your place. Your space is the emotional and physical territory you occupy in the world. Your place is the fence around your space, the limits of your freedom as it bumps up against other people's space. We all need space to breathe our own air, space to grow, and space to discover ourselves.

Family systems therapy focuses on individuation of family members, that is, the right for each individual to develop his/her own sense of self and a unique identity. Boundaries, connectivity and interaction between family members (including prior generations), are examined to eliminate codependency and triangulation patterns that keep the family locked in patterns of unhealthy emotional reactivity. Spaces and fences are put in place to allow the experience of unconditional vs. conditional love (which is not love at all).

Spiritually based psychotherapist view boundaries as the opportunity to remain "sacred within your space." By having a personal and emotional relationship with the Divine, unconditional love flows into the boundary that is then shared outwardly with others, hence, "in giving, we receive." Oswald Chambers in My Utmost For His Highest, says: "Whenever God's will is in complete control, He removes all pressure."

Experiencing this unconditional love keeps us abundantly healthy and better able to experience and manage/accept our emotions. Our emotions are hugely valuable to us when seen them for what they are – the paradoxical currents of life that beckon us back to the Garden of Eden - B.A. (Before Apple!).

No matter what another does to us, we remain wholly accountable for our reaction. The space between what another does and how I react is simply - CHOICE. Healthy boundaries allow me the space to remain calm before I react and, oftentimes, this very space is enough to diffuse the situation. Even better, with practice, I can learn the skill of transforming conflict and pressure into an opportunity for grace and growth – the very essence of a healthy and fully aware/ enlivened conflict management system.

Check in with your therapist to examine and improve your boundary management system and make it a personal pledge to change all of your conflicted patterns of interaction into opportunities for grace and growth. It's 100% possible! "

BOUNDARY MANAGEMENT QUIZ -

True or False:

1. I am responsible for my own happiness and not my spouse's and children's.

2. If I sacrifice my marriage for the sake of the children, I sacrifice both.

3. Children need parents who don't need them.

4. I cannot prevent others from making mistakes necessary for their own growth

5. I can live in the abundant grace and joy of God no matter what is happening.

Yes, the answers are all True. Questions 2 and 3 are from Scream Free Parenting.

 
 

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