Feb 17, 2021
6 mins read
Emotional boundaries are not a signifier that you are healed. Emotional boundaries and the way they are being preached is bullshit. Let me explain why.
What is an emotional boundary? It is a set of rules, hard lines, you have set as a way you expect to be treated by others and what expectations you have set for yourself in a relationship.
I want to be very clear from the beginning that I am ONLY talking about emotional boundaries. They are different from personal and physical boundaries. I believe boundaries are extremely important in body autonomy.
The reason emotional boundaries are a heaping pile of crap, is simply because they are only a step in your journey. All over my social media platforms I'm seeing the conversation and information graphics about boundaries as a form of empowerment, as a way for you to control your life and fuck everyone that can't respect those boundaries. There is too much individualism being preached, too much focus on Self, and not about how to interact and communicate with others to achieve harmony. There is ego behind setting an emotional boundary out of fear of being hurt.
It is a form of self awareness and self care to set emotional boundaries, it is also your responsibility to share what those are within any of your emotional relationships. If you have boundaries, one of the most important things you have to do to maintain them, is communicating them. By holding an expectation or desire and you do not speak about what those are to others, they will not know when they are reaching your expectations or crossing a line. If you are hurt by someone not meeting your needs and they remain unexpressed, there needs to be personal accountability and you can't hold another person accountable for what they do not know.
Emotional boundaries are a step in healing, not the destination. What that is, is if you have a boundary, it is usually there from a past negative experience and the desire to not feel as you once did or what was perceived as disrespect. There is awareness that you were not treated fairly by someone and you desire a different experience. When you set up the space of an emotional boundary, it is only building a temporary space for you to heal from that perceived negative experience.
What I mean by perceived negative experience is that we exist in a world of black and white within the human experience, but the soul within us remains in the space of neutrality, the grey space. I believe our souls are here to have the human experience, to learn from all experiences. So, to look at something as negative or bad is just a perception of separation and it's an experience of non-learning (which is where karma comes in, but that is a whole other topic!).
Emotions are unique to the human experience, meaning emotional boundaries are a human thing. When you set a boundary, you are limiting the experience you will have with a certain emotion because it is perceived as negative, or someone made you feel a certain way. In reality, no one can make you feel anything. All feelings and emotions are a personal response to an outside stimulus. An emotional boundary gives a sense of security through the illusion of control of others. People that preach setting an emotional boundary is like setting up a personal force field that you have to protect isn't asking you to go deeper within yourself to do the actual healing work. They are preaching individualism through empowerment and it fosters the space for narcissistic thought patterns to evolve.
To move through an emotional boundary is to heal from the past experience that fostered it into awareness in the first place. If something triggers you, it is your responsibility to understand why in order to heal, rather than place an 'emotional boundary' on it only to not look deeper. Emotional boundaries are like bandaids, they help protect a cut or wound, but they won't heal it. When you place a boundary as an emotional response to not wanting to be hurt in the same way as the past, you are not learning the lesson from the past experience. Just reacting to it whenever it decides to pop up again, rather than respond in a new way, to match your healing.
The example I will give is from the personal experience that brought me to my main point. It involves my mother and our relationship. I will speak to my feelings and perceptions only.
Without going too deeply into my story, me and mother have not always had the greatest relationship. I had expectations of how my mother should treat me, the emotional boundaries I had set were not clearly communicated. As an adult, I looked at aspects of my relationship with my mother as a failure, where she failed to take care of emotions and how she hurt me. I brought those feelings and emotional boundaries- expectations, into my adult life and relationship with my mother, refusing to look back on the memories that just brought me anger. To avoid certain conversations or topics out of a boundary I created because my mother and I have differing opinions on things.
There was a day, several years ago, when I was unpacking some childhood trauma and decided to reach out to my mother and asked for details surrounding the event. When I called, I can admit that I was searching for something from her, expecting her to give me a new piece of the puzzle I was trying to put together. What I gained from that conversation was that I no longer needed my mother to support me in ways that I thought I needed her in the past.
How I healed from the wounds that created my emotional boundaries was viewing my mom as a person, one with her own experiences, her own perspectives. She was only able to raise me with the tools she had at the time. In hearing her, it seems ridiculous to say, but I was able to forgive her for being human. I held an emotional boundary that my mom should 'act like a mom' and anything less than that was unacceptable to me. I had to see my mom as an individual to fully understand my own experience. It was healing.
I'm not saying that all or any experiences need to be like mine, but I want to encourage people to go deeper than just saying, "if you do this, this will hurt me," because there is no personal accountibility in that. True empowerment comes from not being shaken, not being triggered by an outside stimulus. People preach setting healthy boundaries is what can bring you peace, and again, I will call bullshit. The more boundaries you set to keep you from being hurt, without doing the healing work, your peace will feel under attack because you were taught that your peace needs to be gaurded. It is fucking exhausting when you feel you need to protect yourself from the world.
In that thinking, you will remain separate. If you begin to use emotional boundaries as a way to empower yourself and protect your personal feelings without doing the work, it will be hard for you to deepen your relationships with others. The deeper you go within yourself to understand your Self, the deeper your relationships can ultimately go. Don't let emotional boundaries be what stops you from healing.
Remember it is always all about you.
Be kind and love each other.