In the process of growth, bonding and connecting is the important first stage. Once the bonding is established, another process takes place, the process of separateness. Separateness is an important aspect of human identity as we are to be connected to others without losing our identity and individuality. We are to develop and master the art of being connected without losing our identity.
When we think of relationships, we think of love. When we think of boundaries, we think of limits. Boundaries give us a sense of what is part of us and what is not part of us, what we will allow and what we won’t, what we will choose to do and what we will choose not to do. This leads to responsibility and love.
When our way of connecting is damaged or unhealthy, our sense of separateness, boundaries, and sense of responsibilities will be also damaged. We are then confused as to where we end and someone else begins. Often, we will have difficulty having a will of our own, without getting it entangled with someone else’s.
People that relate to what I just mentioned often struggle with the establishment of healthy boundaries/limits. They don’t know who they really are as opposed to who someone says they are. They sometimes don’t know what they think or feel and will follow whatever their culture or environment says they should feel. The boundaries between them and the world get blurred.
It is also essential for good relationships to learn to develop good boundaries. Developing separateness involves knowing what our boundaries are. Knowing these boundaries helps us develop our separate and unique personalities. When we understand healthy boundaries and can clearly express to someone else this is the limit I feel comfortable with and I need you to respect that boundary, we can better determine when someone is not willing and able to love us and respect our boundaries but rather wants to violate them.
There are certain areas of our lives in which we are separated from others. We have boundaries that are physical, emotional, behavioral, and mental. Good boundaries in each one of these areas lead to healthy and responsible relationships.
Dr.Baya Mebarek, Psy.D.,LMFT