Lesbian Relationships: Boundaries Vs Barriers

We would like to think we are stronger than we are and more emotionally stable then the next person, however that would be hard to prove. Even more so it would be difficult to believe. We all carry baggage and issues in our past that cause us to occasionally feel unsteady and shaken.

There are very few of us that can honestly say we are as stable and strong as we seem, for the rest of us it is a daily battle of finding that equilibrium. When people come into therapy it is for one reason, there is something in their lives that has became unmanageable. There is something that has been putting pressure underneath their skin like a splinter that has embedded it self and is now an infection.

What is that splinter whose mucous pus is causing so much pain in our lives? PEOPLE! It is usually a person or group of people. It is amazing how much power we give to others over us. It never ceases to amaze me how we allow others to create fears and anxiety to such levels that we are unable to function or become dysfunctional.

Dysfunctional is the clinical term for when the engine of our Begin is not running smoothly, and a little oil and TLC is needed. When we have allowed the action and behavior of ourselves and another to cause friction in different areas of our life, such as school, work, friendships, family, spiritually, and health. We start throwing rocks into our engine, when we have either built barriers or have poor boundaries with others.

We all have a personal boundary, it is an imaginary line that surrounds you and protects you from situations and peoples you feel threatened by. When the threat is real this boundary is indispensable to our survival, but sometimes the threats are not what they appear. Our past can cause us to imagine threats that are not there, when we have learnt mistrust and that everyone is an enemy.

When we have difficulty trusting we see treats that aren’t always there. Our boundaries soon became barriers or walls that are most likely causing us harm rather than providing protection. As kids we aren’t always taught healthy boundaries and we are forced to allow people closer than we feel comfortable. We may have felt that those we have allowed close took over our inner thoughts and feeling, abusing the lines that protect us, our boundaries.

As children we learn in situations like these, where are personal boundaries were not respected, to build walls instead. A learnt situation could be something like your parents wanting to know if your gay because of behaviors they have noticed, or being forced to date a guy so show you straightness, but it could also be something as destructive as sexual or physical abuse. In any of theses cases we will probably build walls as a coping mechanisms.

Unfortunately, as we grow older tools such as building excellent walls to survive the powerlessness of childhood, became weapons in adulthood. If we cannot let our lover in and trust her, she well never feel like she is in a committed relationship and there will be no intimacy. I have noticed in my own past and hearing stories from my clients that when we have walls we are emotionally unavailable. For most of us it’s been a life long experience that we have completely became unaware of this tapping out process. You most likely heard your partner call you “distant” or felt the neediness of you partner that seems to never be fulfilled.

When we are emotionally unavailable we cannot commit and we also happen to attract the emotionally needy. Human dynamics is an extraordinary thing where the magnets of our soul attract people who will continue to push the unmanageable monster within us as we will for them.

Here are some key steps in developing healthy boundaries:

1. Learn when others are not respecting your boundaries, for example when people are: over-enmeshment, disassociated, there is excessive detachment, victimized or martyrdom, aloofness or shyness, cold and distant, always in your face/smothering, and don’t respect your privacy.

2. Why are you letting others do these thing to you, most likely you have thoughts or ideas that you deserve it or that you are to blame in some way. At this stage seeing a therapist would be recommended to help you work through these maladaptive thoughts and damaging self-belief system.

3. Swap the old for the new! Get some healthier ideas and thought about yourself if something is not working for you let it go and try something new. For example, go from “maybe I deserve this abuse” to” I want people to respect me. I want a partner who supports me.”

4. Identify behaviors that will help to stay healthy, for example learn how to say “NO” and “thank you but no thank you.”

5. Be consistent once you decided to change. You have identified how do it, now do it in all areas of your life. Remember being healthy is a skill so the more you do it the more competent you become at it! So get practicing!

You deserve the life you want and you deserve to be happy. Don’t let anyone treat you any less.

Alex Karydi~The Lesbian Guru