Benefits of Boundaries – and how to set them – Part 1


Boundaries safeguard your personal rights
. . . and so much MORE

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Coaching Series

Does YOUR Castle need a Moat?

Think of a Boundary like a moat around your castle.  It’s actual purpose was to keep scoundrels, bandits and warlords out and the people inside the walls safe to go about their lives and pursue their interests in peace.  That works!

During times of danger and conflict other friends and neighbors around the countryside could come inside the castle for protection.  A drawbridge spanning the moat provided a way for the keeper of the castle to let people in or keep people out.

So it is with happy, successful lives.

It is important to find a way to establish and maintain a safe distance from needs of other people that are not in alignment with our own best Self-interest.

Some people are not particularly evolved at the time they interact with you.  They tend to take advantage of the kindness of others — particularly the ones who don’t know how to raise the drawbridge to protect their own castles (like saying NO or leaving a situation before it starts causing trouble they repeatedly look to you to fix).

Related Post: 12 Tips to help you Take Back your TIME

Bounderies make you YOU

As my personal coaching mentor Thomas J. Leonard used to say,
“Boundaries help define who you are and who you are not.”

Emotionally healthy people set Boundaries that attract certain people and protect them from others. Learning to set and enforce Boundaries in a loving and appropriate manner are, in fact, two essential life skills most of us need to develop on the way to becoming healthy adults.

  • Setting personal Boundaries acts as a filter to permit those people who are up to where you are in life to come in and join the party.
  • Personal Boundaries also allow you to stop those who are not yet ready for you by raising your metaphorical drawbridge – as well as defining what actions are appropriate inside your metaphorical castle.

That, in turn, is reflected your experience of living – which frequently sets its tone – the tune to which you call yourself to dance.

Ideally, of course, we wouldn’t attract certain types of people and behaviors to begin with, but while we are working on that particular skill wouldn’t it be great to have a way to immediately course-correct?

Effective Boundary management is a great way.

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Boundaries, Standards & Tolerations

I’m skipping right over a few other steps to focus on what I call Boundary Technology — leapfrogging over understanding your own Needs and Values on the way to determining your Vision, Mission and Purpose.

However, looking through the other end of the telescope, understanding how to protect your energy might make working on some of those other foundational items easier and more effective.

But I believe it’s worth a short side-trip to explore Tolerations and Standards  – because they relate directly to determining those Boundaries. Lets start by defining what I mean by the terms:

How they relate

Tolerations often point to items where we have set our Standards too low or are not really committed to honoring them.  We are putting up with behaviors and circumstance that don’t reflect who we really are – usually trying, unconsciously, to meet some Need.

We always get our Needs met, even if it makes us miserable!  We’ll take a look at more effective ways to handle Needs in a future post, but for right now let’s see how that might play out with a few examples:

If our Need is to be liked or admired, or to gain approval, or even to remain employed where we are, we might waffle on our Standard to be treated respectfully.

If one of our Needs is to be a great parent and we are attempting to meet that Need by spending every spare waking moment engaging with our children, we might be tolerating a house that is driving us crazy for lack of attention.

What’s really lacking is a Personal Boundary!

The opposite can also be true.  If your spouse has unrealistic housekeeping expectations, for example, you might be stepping over your own parenting Standard for “lack of time.”  What’s really lacking is a Boundary!

When we have never determined our own Standards, or when we allow others to run roughshod over them, we are almost always tense and unpleasant to be around, so our Needs for love and affection remain unfilled and they continue to run our lives unconsciously.

It’s important to determine our Personal Standards and think about the implications in behavioral terms.  That’s where we begin to set a few Boundaries.

RAISE your Standards through the roof

Set them high enough that you can feel extremely proud of yourself for taking great care of YOU.  This is not an arena where good enough is good ENOUGH!

It’s not nearly good enough to expect expressions of love or friendship, for example.  Raise your Standard to “respectful and loving treatment at ALL times.” Then take some time to figure out what that looks like in your life.

Here are some garden-variety examples that many of us Tolerate:

  • If your mate yells at you or around you when s/he is frustrated, that’s not loving and respectful.
  • If your kids whine endlessly when they don’t get their way, that’s not loving and respectful.
  • If your partner says s/he will be home at a certain time and doesn’t call to amend the arrival time when things change, that’s not loving and respectful treatment.
  • If your mother-in-law usually calls at dinner time and your partner leaves the table to talk with her, that’s not loving and respectful treatment from either one of them — unless, of course, Mom has no idea that the timing is lousy.
  • And if you spend minutes of your own precious life preparing delicious meals for your family and nobody comes to the table to eat it until it is cold —  or they expect to be able to keep their eyes glued to their cell phones instead of participating in family time — that is definitely not loving and respectful treatment!

But what can you DO about it?

Wouldn’t it be GREAT to know how to set and protect Boundaries without having to resort to reading the riot act or acting in a manner that is hard or defensive?

Wouldn’t you LOVE to have a powerful, graceful, way to interact and conduct yourself to honor your own Boundaries as you teach those around you to honor them as well?

That’s exactly what we’re going to explore in this several part article.

Below is a preview of what’s coming up – the first four steps, which we’ll explore in greater detail before moving on to the remainder – so STAY TUNED.

Boundary Tech, Step by Step

The first step of Boundary Technology, once you have raised your Standards, is to identify where they are not being honored – whether it is a conscious Toleration for you or not!

Decide what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior toward you and around you and from you.  Only you can say what that is – but look to your Standards and Tolerations to help you decide.

Step Two is to make up your mind that you are no longer going to allow yourself to experience that behavior, beginning with your resolve to refuse to be around it .  Period.

Step Three: Once you have “drawn the line” in your own head, you need to have a plan of action when someone crosses that line, which they almost always will.

That’s what most people DO – they test.  Know what you will do if someone exhibits unacceptable behavior toward you or in your presence.

Unless you are tied to a chair, you always have control over
walking away before things get out of hand.
Don’t take the bait!

Step Four is to have “the Boundary conversation” with the people who need to hear it — at a time when things are cool, calm and collected.

Peacefully and in a charge-neutral fashion explain to them how you have decided to interact with them in the future, including your decision to walk away lovingly when things get tense enough that it is the only way to honor your own boundary.

The final steps detail the prior pieces of Boundary Management – walking away is actually the final step, to use when nothing else is working. We’ll take a look at those other steps as well as expanding upon Steps 1-4.

Your former experience of frustration
with the behavior of others can change totally!

Once you’ve internalized the process, at some point your Boundaries will become practically automatic.  You will rarely need to enforce them and you will stop attracting Boundary pushers and disrespectful people and treatment.

How come?  Because you’ll be broadcasting at a new frequency – the frequency of Self-care and Self-respect.

Haven’t you noticed that there are some people who simply exude self-respect, and that nobody ever thinks about messing with them — not out of fear of reprisal but out of a true respect for who they are? Anybody can learn to become one of them. You too!

And you will be amazed and delighted by how sweet your life can be!  So make sure you are following so that you don’t miss the upcoming sections of this article.

Of course, you can always hire me to personally coach you through the entire process in a you-specific fashion — and celebrate with you as you watch your experience of life get better and better.  Get in touch – I’d LOVE to partner with you.

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

97 Responses to Benefits of Boundaries – and how to set them – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Back to Boundaries | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

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  3. Pingback: Getting off the couch & getting going – Part 1 | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

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  5. K E Garland says:

    Thank you. I definitely needed to hear this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t we ALL?! Thanks for letting me know it spoke to you today.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  6. daisymae2017 says:

    Liked this post. Interesting. Shared on LinkedIn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Crystal!
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  7. Christy B says:

    The Boundaries Conversation can be a tough one.. even when both people start out calm and cool the mood can quickly elevate. I think though it’s important to have the discussion and hopefully even if tempers flare quickly they will lower over time. Mellowing over time can happen sometimes. Your multi-part series is off to a roaring start ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Christy. In one of the posts I plan to model a Boundary conversation designed to keep things calm – even if you have to take it in parts.

      The conversation is actually easier to navigate than some of the “enforcement” that comes later for most folks. But for those who actually give “Boundary Tech” a try, it changes things for most of them. (Just not immediately – lol).

      It does take commitment to eliminating your Tolerations and getting in touch with and honoring your Standards.

      Thanks for ringing in.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti and commented:
    In this helpful article, Madelyn Griffith-Haynie discusses setting personal boundaries: “Emotionally healthy people set Boundaries that attract certain people and protect them from others.” Please, read on…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, John, for reblogging. What a GREAT way to begin my day.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome, Madelyn! Have a great day!

        Liked by 1 person

        • You too, John. A thoughtful new friend (who is a part-time Uber driver) is taking me on “an insider’s tour of the city,” beginning at 3pm. Tink gets to go too – I am so psyched.

          One more cup of coffee and a few more comments and it’s into the tub to get ready to go.

          I hope you get to do some things that light you up this weekend too!
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

  9. An interesting post with a lot of truth in it, Madelyn. What you say about boundaries is very true and it is hard for nice people to set them well sometimes. I have been setting some strict boundaries at work lately and I am feeling much better now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amazing how well they work, isn’t it – once we connect with our entitlement to set them. Our lives, our rules!
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  10. dgkaye says:

    Brava my friend! Fantastic article. My post I wrote last week on Emotional Bullying is a more simplified version of your fantastic in-depth post here today. Goes to show how much you and I are on the same wavelength. 🙂 xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absitively! That’s why I linked to your post. Perfect complement.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 2 people

      • dgkaye says:

        Thank you so much for linking my post M. Omg, I didn’t even notice the link. So sorry I overlooked it or I would have thanked you on my first comment. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • lol- I figured that’s how you got here and why you mentioned it – that you clicked the pingback. Do you not get them?

          In any case, as many times as you have shared my posts, I was thrilled to be able to link to one of yours!
          xx
          mgh
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • dgkaye says:

            Aw thanks M. But no, I didn’t get a pingback 😦 I usually visit your blog twice a week, but came via Sally’s blog last night from her share of your post. 🙂 xx

            Liked by 1 person

            • I was so much fun for me to find my name on the same post as yours. Such a treat. You are the queen of structure, Deb – I know that’s at least part of the reason you get so much done.

              I still haven’t structured my visits since I fairly recently limited my outgoing posts to Mondays and Fridays – I’m just visiting around with the time that has been released by “downsizing” my output.

              This comment has inspired me to start to be more regular about when I go where. Thanks!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • dgkaye says:

              The feeling is mutual M, on all counts, lol. Now, I must find you on FB LOL 🙂 xx

              Liked by 1 person

            • NOT that you’d find me there often at all, but if you leave me YOUR FB “name” I’ll send you a friend request next time I’m forced to open it up or follow a link I didn’t notice would open it FOR me (don’t hold your breath, however — I really do assiduously avoid it).
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • dgkaye says:

              Lol, I did leave a message but here’s my page in case you get curious 🙂 http://www.facebook.com/debby.gies.3

              Like

            • Oy vey!!! Went to your page and tried to “like” – FB hung (“a script on this page is not working, yada, yada”) Click click click click, close page – return – go to MY page – scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll . . .

              Bad news, sad news, dinner photos, family photos, things to read to change my life, impeachment urgings, requests for money, more bad news, so-and-so is eating here, this is a photo of what so-and-so ate, scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll . . .

              Meme, meme, meme, meme, more bad news, hate our president comments . . . Really? . . .

              And then there were the ads, notifications of celebrities who are now dead, and “important” announcements like who is no longer on what TV show (crucial, since I don’t own a TV) . . . more scrolling . . . more of same . . . Never found your message, btw – over 30 minutes of my life down the tubes.

              How do you stand going on FB, Deb – or have the t-i-m-e with everything else you do? I avoid it because it makes me CRAZY(er). Good reminder of the value of boundaries – lol.

              Off to meditate to recenter!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • dgkaye says:

              ROTFLMAOOOOOOOOOOO Oy vey is right! Where the heck were you, lol. I had given you the link to my personal page, which you cannot ‘like’ personal pages. but ‘friend’ and message them. But feel free to like my author page (where I share some of your posts) next time you’re daring, lol http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye

              Like

  11. Oh, yes i had to learn it by myself some years ago, and to accept the impossibility helping all the people i want to help. 😉 Have a great weekend! 😉 Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are alike in that learning, Michael. ONE of us – many of them.

      To come to peace myself, I have to hold it either that they are not ready for a change in circumstance or that I am not the right person at the right time.

      The spiritual gurus remind us that our loving thoughts help as much as just about anything else – so I focus my energies on their well-being. I can always find a moment to do that.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  12. Reblogged this on Die Erste Eslarner Zeitung – Aus und über Eslarn, sowie die bayerisch-tschechische Region!.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for spreading this content around through your reblog, Michael. You are truly a dear.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  13. Tina Frisco says:

    The castle and moat image is very effective, Madelyn. Can’t get much better than stone walls and a drawbridge! Very little rattles me more than someone breaching my personal space or dropping by uninvited. Fortunately, I have no qualms about setting boundaries. I do, however, aim to set them with as much kindness as possible. If the recipient is obtuse, then kindness is replaced with emphasis ~ some folks mistake kindness for weakness, or a green light! I’ve told you this before but will say it again: Your posts always stimulate my little grey cells 🙂 ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Tina. Sad how kindness can be misinterpreted by some folks. Love the use of “emphasis” as what needs to happen next. You are such a transformed spirit.

      Speaking of transformation — I glitched my back and spent several days mostly lying down (only comfortable position while it was healing). That gave me time to attempt to figure out how to work my Kindle – finally! I’m still not up to speed on why some things work according to my understanding while others do not, but I WAS able to upload and read Plateau. I loved it, and plan to go back to read all of the Lynn Anderson content I skimmed through hurriedly to get to back to the story.

      I will review it on Amazon once I can sit comfortably at my computer for longer, and am able to get caught up a bit. TOP rating from me.

      Thanks so much – for writing it as well as for offering the free download that allowed me the bravery to practice my budding Kindle skills. 🙂
      xx
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tina Frisco says:

        You’re welcome, Madelyn. You are such a kind soul. Thank you for your lovely comment about Plateau. So pleased you enjoyed it. I’m sorry to hear that you hurt your back. I hope it’s healing and you’re in less pain. ‘Budding Kindle skills’ made me chuckle. I plan on getting one soon and imagine I’ll be as much at sea as you. I still haven’t mastered all the functions on my cell phone; and it’s merely a little flip phone with no camera, no Internet access, no bells and whistles of any sort. Happy to be in the no-way-techie club with you 🙂 ♥

        Liked by 1 person

        • I was gifted an iPhone I can barely manage – not kidding. I refuse to text, even, because of the tiny screen and tinier hunt-and-peck keyboard. I miss my flip-phone. Actually, I miss the olden days when phones were corded and all worked alike.

          My back is much better, thanks, but I still can only tolerate about 30 minutes of sitting at the computer before it begins to complain. If I had the bucks I’d replace that darned ‘fridge, even tho’ I rent. Nothing back-friendly about it. I’ve learned my lesson about chilling watermelon, however. Cut it up FIRST, and store in small containers – don’t EVER try to put it in the ‘fridge whole!!!
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Tina Frisco says:

            Once at a farmer’s market, the friend I was with swiped a watermelon. I gave her what-for and made her put it back. But how in the world she managed a clean getaway carrying that immense load is beyond me! Glad to hear your back is much better ♥

            Liked by 1 person

            • Good for you. A good friend of mine “stole” a live Christmas tree from outside a grocery store back in our college days.

              To be fair, it WAS after midnight on Christmas Eve and those trees weren’t likely to be purchased – and he and his roomie were barely keeping the rent current and wanted to take home a bit of Christmas cheer. But it was *still* stealing.

              Stores would garner SUCH good will if they’d put a sign out after midnight on Christmas Eve saying, “Free trees for everyone who hasn’t been able to afford to purchase one earlier. We thank everyone for your business – YOU make gestures like this one possible for us.”

              But I can’t help but chuckle thinking of these young bandits – and your friend, pregnant with watermelon.

              Oops – just got a call from a friend wondering where I am! Gotta’ run.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Tina Frisco says:

              Love the Christmas Eve Christmas tree sign. Brilliant ♥

              Liked by 1 person

            • Little kids whose parents were struggling could have a tree on Christmas morning – how cool is that?! Wouldn’t you feel GREAT about shopping at that store?

              Not only that – less for them to clean up and send to wood chippers post Christmas.

              I wish ALL places that sell Christmas trees would do that!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Tina Frisco says:

              Same here. This would make a great global movement ~ Free Trees Project. But how to reach enough people in enough cities to approach enough tree sellers around the world for it to be an effective global project … ♥

              Liked by 1 person

            • Kinda’ like the Kindness Rocks project that Deb (DGKaye) recently blogged about – we start from where we are and trust the vibration will resonate with others.

              July is probably not the best timing, however. 🙂
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday July 28th 2017 – Richard Ankers, D.G. Kaye, Madelyn Griffiths-Haynie and N.A. Granger. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

    • You are such a doll to include this post, Sally. Thank you SO very much.
      xx
      mgh

      Like

  15. Makes absolute sense of course Madelyn.. I do have a very effective moat.. I like having a house with a high wall or hedge and our last two homes in the last 20 years have had electronic gates. I have a thing about anybody just dropping in especially when they know you work from home.. the guidelines state.. phone call, text first. Have included in the blogger daily.. hugxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • GREAT physical example, Sally. In privacy deprived NYC nobody would ever think of “dropping by.” When I left, I couldn’t believe how many people thought it was perfectly fine to drop in without calling to see if it would be convenient for me.

      I finally had to laminate a door sign for coaching days – “Coaching – cannot be interrupted and please don’t ring or knock. It makes the dogs bark.”

      Ironic that folks could easily understand the idea that someone else had paid for my time so I was “busy,” but not that my needs for focus while I was writing or (especially) handling necessary admin. was a valid reason for saying “not now.”

      So I left a clipboard with a pencil tied to it and laminated another sign: “Working – please don’t ring or knock. Will be available again after 10pm. Leave your name and number and I will call you then.”

      Some still knocked, but it was much easier to get them to go away quickly – and after turning them away a time or two, they began calling first.

      ::sigh:: Working where you live has advantages and disadvantages.

      Thanks so much for including this post in Blogger Daily.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  16. All great strategies if one can keep emotions under control, but keeping emotions under control necessitates establishing boundaries to begin with. This frequently turns into a vicious circle. Are you planning to address this issue?

    Like

    • Indirectly and quickly, as conceptualized currently — after all YOU are inside your castle, and YOUR behavior counts too. Identifying what behavior is unacceptable from others and walking away before you get hooked emotionally (or before you act it out – to recenter) helps maintain your own.

      My short time at Camp Sunshine showed me that some of us NEED to be taught respect for physical boundaries very young (like the little one you described in a former comment). Most of us are expected to pick it up on our own – which is why we tend to have difficulties with boundaries into adulthood. Its a huge topic, so it will evolve over the series. Thanks for the suggestion.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • As we both know, we are discussing those who are insensitive to social cues so they haven’t picked them up in childhood. You are diligently trying to teach them behaviors that fit within the framework of social norms, I am suggesting that the concept of RESPECT for physical, as well as emotional boundaries is unknown to them. When they violate those boundaries, they meet with emotional reactions which, in turn, prompts them to react emotionally. If they don’t have control over their own emotions, the situation invariably escalates. It is a huge topic, I agree, but I am sure you will do it justice!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for your confidence, Dolly.

          As a result of our comment conversation, I am currently drafting an unplanned post where I will begin to differentiate physical, intellectual, social and emotional boundaries a bit before moving forward.

          I won’t be covering boundaries education for children who must be carefully taught to observe them, only mentioning it. My focus will be upon the adults among us who struggle with setting, maintaining and observing boundaries and have emotional reactions (i.e., “get hooked”) as a result.

          Even if children like the ones you taught (ASD, etc) never have the concept of “respect” for boundaries, they can and do learn what works and what doesn’t (like the Down’s children learning to shake hands instead of hugging to show affection).

          In my experience, most of their emotional upset comes when they cannot predict what is going to happen next. The more they understand about how things are going to go, the fewer melt-downs they experience, for the most part.

          But the boundary conversation is already HUGE without bringing in every “atypical” situation which, as you know, frequently necessitates an individual approach. That’s a separate conversation which would probably take an entire book to cover – even inadequately. YOU would be better qualified to write it than I.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Of course, your theme is adults, rather than children. I completely agree that what they haven’t picked up or haven’t been taught as children now has to be remedied by training based on understanding, and that’s what you are doing – and doing a great job of it, I might add!
            I obviously don’t expect you to cover children, and I think your categorizing of the boundaries is nothing short of brilliant.
            Looking forward to your “unplanned” post!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thanks, Dolly – but if you ever decide to write that book about helping kids develop boundaries, I’ll write your forward and buy the first copy!
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

            • Thank you, but it’s not in my plans. I am totally bent on having fun and not touching anything more serious than a frying pan.

              Liked by 1 person

            • lol – with YOU that frying pan is pretty darned serious!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • I am seriously thinking about eliminating the word “serious” from my vocabulary.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Seriously?
              xx, mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • yep

              Liked by 1 person

            • lol 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  17. Such a well written post Madelyn. This is a topic we could study forever because of its importance in our daily lives. So wish we had been educated in this early in life. Your mentor Thomas J. Leonard’s quote is so accurate “Boundaries help define who you are and who you are not.” Whew, there is a lot to digest here and we’ll be re-reading it for more of the nuggets of gold within it. Can’t wait for the next part. Cloud and Townsend would have to commend you also on this presentation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much. This Series will evolve over time, interspersed with the other things I write about (like most Series here). But thanks for seconding the importance – and for liking how I am beginning.

      I met T. relatively late in life (39, I think), but his Personal Foundation™ program was an eye-opener in many arenas I wish we’d ALL been taught as children (especially me!). Literally changed my approach to life in so many ways in 12 short weeks it was astounding.

      I’ve been having quite a few conversations with my 30-something friend about Boundary management in his own life, so that’s what prompted my taking on the topic now. It probably begs to be an entire book. Since I’m not yet eager to go there, I’ll be taking on the topic in pieces – sharing what I learned from T., from my clients, and from experiences in my own life since I became aware of it myself. Thanks always for your thoughtful comments.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • It can and does change our lives doesn’t it Madelyn. I know it did ours also! It is great when we can reflect back and see where there was no boundaries or they were too hard or soft. The ole 20/20 hindsight. First hand experience is a great teacher.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The BEST teacher – words really don’t teach. The benefit of articles like the ones of this Series is that they give us reminders as well as new places to LOOK — stepping outside our personal upbringings and histories to redefine “normal.”

          Since none of us get “do-overs” based on what we’ve learned, we can only move forward as more aware human beings, changing how we relate in the future.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes and reminders are good and learning more to enhance our supply of tools in our toolbox is critical. Oh if only we could get do-over’s I’d have a host of em. We live and learn and learning helps us live better.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Perfect response!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  18. -Eugenia says:

    Love this! Great advice.

    Like

    • Thanks, Eugenia. As my friend Cindi always says, “social lubricant.”
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  19. Sorry for all the separate posts but I wrote the first two while waiting on the A train. Here is an excellent article on how women are socialized to doubt themselves.

    View story at Medium.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not a problem – ever. (“waiting on the A train” – sob – missing NYC now!)

      You bring up a good point. Not only are we not taught boundary management, we are frequently socialized in the other direction entirely. “Don’t be selfish” often underscores female behavior (skipping merrily over the idea that *they* are selfish to want to run their own lives at the expense of our needs and goals). Boys are more likely to be taught to be aggressive – girls to be passive. It’s changing, but still too slowly – since neither are truly psychologically healthy ways to engage with life.

      Thanks for the link. I’ll give it a read over the weekend.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve calmed down a lot since I switched to the Night Shift last year November but that other side of me does come out when somebody tries to disrespect me. Security is a tough job, a tough field and as a Woman Security Guard if you’ve not tough and hard-nosed both the museum visitors and a few bully co-workers will run right over you. You cannot be timid and do this job. Men will and do get in your face to challenge your authority and you must stand up to them. And though museums try to hide workplace violence it exists. Getting physically attacked can be part of the job. However working at night I don’t see many visitors and most of the men treat me with respect. I’m a very tough outspoken No Nonsense Inner-City Woman.

        Liked by 1 person

        • WOW! I don’t think I’d last in your job. While by no means timid, I am nowhere near as “No Nonsense Inner-City” tough as you are.

          I’m glad you’ve found a way to get the respect you need to stay safe while you do your job.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Many women do leave. Especially the younger women. Since I had to keep this job I learned to be tough and to fight back. There were some episodes on my current shift but that guy managed to get himself suspended. I’m not afraid. More like they should be afraid of me. I’ve come thisclose to picking up one of the chairs in the break room and breaking it over his head. I have a very bad temper and if you corner me one of us might get hurt. The only reason I walked away after telling him off is #1 I need the job and #2 I don’t want to get arrested. Jail is not my thing. Other than that I have no qualms about punching, slapping or smacking somebody if they come for me. Life is a battle of the survival. And sadly in our society women are targets.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I hope you will have only GOOD experiences of people once you retire, and are free to explore ALL the sides of the Warrior Woman that you are.
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

      • Just to add a little more to the conversation. When I was a child I was timid and would cry at the drop of a hat. I was always getting beaten up in school and my last year of high school I got pushed or thrown down a flight of steps. Joining the Army helped me be tougher. As time progressed I got stronger except those years that I was with my Exe- That was a big mistake. After that I vowed that I would never allow another man to use and abuse me and I’ve kept my promise to myself. Well now being almost 60 I’m extremely outspoken, blunt with no filters. Once you show your true authentic self all the false/fake/phony people leave your circle right quick and in a hurry. I’m 99% Extra Tough with very little tenderness.

        As for people who try to give me advice or tell me how to live my life I will listen politely then go ahead and do what I intended to do in the first place. People don’t know my experience. They have not lived my life so I don’t know why they feel they can chime in to tell me I’m wrong about my feelings, emotions or reactions. Whether it is how I feel about myself or others. I’ve learned to do a good job of ignoring people. That’s why therapy does not work for me. I have no intention of doing what that person suggests mainly because I don’t like being told what to do. Life coaching and therapy is good for some people but I’m not a candidate for either one. It offers no benefits for me. Being a strong willed Woman I already know who and what I am. Life has taught me everything I need to know.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You have come far, kiddo – from being bullied to a strong Woman. Kudos.

          I totally agree – nobody can tell you how YOU feel – how could they possibly know? I hope you didn’t hear my comments about your kindness and love for Stephen as doing that. I was remarking on what I’ve read on your blog – I am always struck by how obviously caring you always are when you write about him. Rare, in my experience, and admirable.

          I was NOT bullied, so I can only empathize, not really understand, and I try to always say that. My apologies if I overstepped with my words – I hope you can believe it was not intentional in that case.

          You have my total support for living your life in the manner it makes sense to YOU. I”d never attempting to convince you otherwise — or to talk you into *either* coaching or therapy. I know that those modalities only “work” for people who *choose* them, not those who are manipulated into them. Not all coaches or therapists interact from that place, but I DO.

          AND, btw, nobody *needs* coaching — that stand is supposed to be part of the modality. It IS a good “short-cut” for some people, but not ALL – self selected. As I say in many of my posts, NOTHING works for everyone. Take what works, tweak what you can, and throw the rest into the garbage – lol.

          xx,
          mgh

          Like

  20. My Personality: Straight. No Chaser. No Filters. No Sugar coating. Mine is a No BS Zone. When people attempt to go beyond my boundaries with inappropriate behavior I let them quick and in a hurry that my parents Edward and Mable did not raise me to be a doormat. You gotta put rude, nasty, inconsiderate, bullying behaviors in check right away. As an expression that I’ve been hearing for several years goes, “What you allow will continue.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • “What you allow will continue.” — GREAT way to language the idea that we “teach” people how to treat us. THANKS!
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  21. P. C. Zick says:

    Loved this. I can set my boundaries, but sometimes don’t do it very gracefully. I’m working on it. But when I look around me at friends who don’t set boundaries, I see unhappy people who feel they are constantly being victimized. They don’t understand they are participants in the dances swirling around them. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely on point! Thank you for this comment. When we don’t know where (or how) to draw our “lines in the sand” we DO get caught up in the behavior of others and make ourselves miserable over it (with help – lol).

      I know what you mean about setting boundaries “gracefully.” Life-long learning for me too. It’s tricky, and takes more time than we want it to (and with some folks it seems practically impossible), but I have noted that it IS *possible* with most people and most situations.

      The big lesson is embracing the concept of our entitlement to what happens in our own lives. That flies in the face of what most of us have been taught.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 2 people

  22. I find I always learn this one the hard way. And when I decide my knowledge is a valuable commodity people don’t value it enough to pay. So, I just clam down. I can’t win. Cheers,H

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, but by maintaining your own emotional balance you DO win! There are many who agonize endlessly, collapsing “worth” with valuation by others. Everybody has their own financial set-points, and sometimes theirs comes into conflict with our own. You are wise to let it go and move on.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  23. Boundaries are so important to healthy relationships. I have had the hardest time with this in my family of origin. What is interesting is when I’ve seen loved ones setting boundaries with me! It is good because you know they have the skills, and it is humbling because you see they needed to do so. Definitely makes for better relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point, Molly – and thanks for the visit and comment. No two people are born with the identical view of the world, so of course we are going to step over a boundary of another from time to time. GREAT (tho’ humbling – lol) to be in relationships where everybody plays his or her own side of the net.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I will ponder about step one today…and if I have a strong base then I can climb on the ladder with step 2 and 3 ;O)

    Liked by 1 person

    • EXACTLY! We can only eat those “elephants” one tiny bite at a time. You are wise to underscore this important principle. Thanks!
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  25. As for other relationships I’m a lot like the movie character Madea. It doesn’t take much for me to read people the riot act.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love Madea – she’s a hoot. Not the best role model for kindness and calm in boundary setting, but a clear example of sticking up for oneself! If I’m pushed to that point I take it as a message that I waited too long to speak up (or to walk away).

      I can see from reading your blog that in your job as a museum guard you probably run across a lot more examples of boundary pushers you have to deal with. I’m not surprised you end up “exploding,” since walking away is not always an option – but it feels crummy in some ways too, I’ll bet. Like everything else, nothing works in the same manner across the board.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes both the visitors and co-workers will push your boundaries. When I first started working there I thought I could use reason but I quickly found out that did not work. Also Security is a male dominant ed department. For Women Security Guards it is a constant battle with sexual harassment. Once a male guard who was over 6 feet tall and weighed a good 250 lbs pinned me up against the wall in the galleries. This is where my Army training came in handy. My co-workers watched to see if he would choke me. So self defense is vital or else. Pretty much for the first 8 years I worked there it was constant fights. That’s why I moved to the night shift. There was one dummy there who got in my face but he regretted it. After verbally assaulted another female co-worker he has been suspended. In my industry you need to prepared for battle at all times.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh how terrible for you. I’m glad your Army training has prepared you to protect yourself. I had no idea that museum guards had to deal with violence. Thank goodness management is willing to suspend offenders.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sometimes. This guy had been harassing women for a good 27 years. The other guy who attacked me was allowed to retire. Being a male in this country has its benefits. As bad as things have been it made me tougher. It brought out a side of me that forced me to stand up for myself. Some of the women are just as bad but as I let certain females know that if they didn’t stop bothering me I’d gladly meet them outside. That would not have ended well for them. Nobody took me up on my offer especially once they knew I was in the Military. We are taught to eliminate the threat.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I look forward to the time you can retire and don’t have to live like that anymore. So sad to hear.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • I’m used to it. This is real life. It has taught me to be tough. No softness. You become your environment. My toughness overrode any tenderness a long time ago. Even before I started working at the museum.

              Liked by 1 person

            • And yet you are tender toward your brother – so it’s still there.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  26. tmezpoetry says:

    Awesome article, very important subject!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Tammy, for such an endorsing comment.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Great article. Over time I learned to set boundaries both in my personal and professional relationships.

    The process was more difficult in romantic relationship because I wanted to be loved but I’d rather be respected and single than with the wrong man and miserable.
    I’ve learned to love my single life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are not alone in THIS manifestation. We all have a Need for love, and frequently attempt to get it met in essentially dysfunctional ways and in the wrong places. How many times have we heard young women complain that they always fall in love with the “bad” boys?

      You discovered that self-respect is foundational – and made the wise choice not to engage in romantic relationships where it is difficult to maintain. I had to teach myself that one a few times too! I’m betting that meeting your Need for love is a lot easier with your brother. Not romantic love, of course, but the smoother ride that healthy romantic relationships encompass, once that crazy “in-love-ness” phase passes.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes my brother Stephen offers me genuine Love. He asks nothing in return other than spending time with me. He does not have an agenda. Truly Stephen is Pure of Heart. ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • And I’m sure he feels the same from you – ALWAYS in his corner. An amazing relationship for both of you.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

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