The Discomfort of Boundaries

Boundaries are hard as a survivor of childhood trauma and abuse. Not just because of the expression of your wants and needs but also because of the fear of loss or rejection if your boundaries are not respected.


I’d like to share a recent take-away from the Survivor Peer Groups I facilitate.

We were focusing on boundaries: what are they, what boundaries did we lack as children, how does that affect us as adults, why do we need them, how do we set them, and why are they so freaking hard?!

I was reminded of numerous times that I have struggled to set boundaries as a parent, as a friend, and in relationships.

My all or nothing approach is a lack of boundaries.

My people pleasing is a lack of boundaries.

My burnout is a lack of boundaries.

Why do I abandon myself that?

Initially it was because I believed this is how life is. Relationships were transactional for me, I give in order to receive regardless of the cost to myself and my well being.

As I heal, I am learning to embrace my worth and with that has come an awareness of my need for personal, emotional, and physical boundaries.

It is becoming easier for me to identify the boundaries that I both need and want in my life and from the people in it. It is becoming easier for me to voice my boundaries.

Until they are challenged.


Finding My Fear

Then what? The frightening possibility that I may have to stand up for myself feels confrontational and gives me anxiety. So …

Do I just continue to let people challenge them with gentle reminders of the line they have crossed? Maybe, the first time around, or if it is a relationship that is worth the investment and the other person is receptive of the communication.

However, there should also be consequences for not respecting my boundaries if they are repeatedly dismissed – and that is where I suddenly found my fear.

What happens when someone decides my boundaries aren’t worth it and they walk away? What if they get upset with me, or judgemental in their rejections.

The black and white answer is that they don’t deserve to be a part of my journey; but tell that to my conditioned emotional responses that say I was too mean, rigid, or selfish with my needs.

This is where practice and sitting with discomfort comes into play, the healing in real-time stuff.

Boundaries are hard to learn after a lifetime without them.

On goes they journey 💪🏻❤️

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