Do you have trouble saying “no”? Are you always doing things for others when you don’t even have time for yourself? Perhaps you would like to let people closer to you, but just can’t? Many people find their way to my Toronto therapy office with issues that come from boundary problems.
Here’s how I would help you with your personal boundaries:
First, we would look at how your boundaries are operating. Are they flexible or rigid? Flexible boundaries are what we strive for. They allow us to modulate how much we give of ourselves and/or let others in. They are ideal for maintaining a healthy balance in our lives between caring for oneself and caring for others.
Rigid boundaries tend to operate in extremes. They can be solid and impenetrable or wide open and practically non-existent. Rigid boundaries come from severe boundary violation. In order to protect oneself from it happening again, we will make our boundaries so strong that no one gets in. But this often leaves us feeling isolated or lonely.
Loose or No Boundaries:
Severe boundary violation can cause damage to our awareness of having personal boundaries altogether. This means you never know where to draw the line. This is especially dangerous as it leaves us vulnerable to more boundary violations.
Boundaries in Relationships:
Next, we would look at the dynamics in your relationships. Are you able to make your needs a priority? Can you set good limits? We would examine those relationships you are feeling uneasy with to see what is going on. Perhaps you are being manipulated by guilt, anger, money? Or maybe you are sending mixed messages out of fear of closeness.
Establishing Flexible Boundaries:
In the safety of my counselling office, we would do simple exercises to explore the state of your boundaries. I would help you to discover and assert healthier boundaries for yourself. Our therapeutic relationship is the ideal testing ground. After all, if you can learn to set flexible boundaries in the therapy office, you can do it outside, too.