Author: Ann Schiebert
Continuing our discussion about boundaries, it might be helpful to remember the image above. It is disrespectful and unkind to violate some one’s boundaries. It will put huge impediments on the road to Intimacy Filled Pastiming.
How long does one stay on the Internet while their partner is in the other room? (This is Intimacy Free Pastiming, by the way.) Do you approve of looking at porn on your computer? Is it OK to spend Saturday gaming on the web? Participating in any of these pastimes could be a boundary violation. What if your partner is opposed to these activities? This will become a future irritation and a source of argument and discontent.
There is simply some information that is not appropriate to share with your child or teen. These are called hierarchical boundaries. It is not appropriate to tell one’s offspring the intimate details of your sex life, or your divorce, or your work problems. When children are presented with such issues, they think that they are somehow responsible and that they should be able to solve the problem. Keep adult challenges for the adults and let your children enjoy their childhood.
Children, and especially teens, also have many subjects that they don’t discuss with their parents. Intimacy on a date, political views different from their parents, social and scholastic challenges at school are all among those topics that are often kept private.
Respecting hierarchical boundaries can actually bring families closer together because the family members can feel safe and free of enmeshment.
Gossip and Triangulation Boundaries
Ever participate in gossip about a family member? Ever become a party to character assassination about a friend who did some egregious behavior? Ever get angry with a family member and not communicate directly with him/her? Instead did you talk to a third family member about the person with whom you were upset? (Triangulation) Ever play two people against each other with you being the person doing the splitting?
If one has boundaries around gossip and triangulation, one removes one’s self from being in between other’s arguments, dramas, and reasons for righteous indignation. One can do this by saying, “Gee, this is really none of my business, and I just can’t listen to or talk about it.”
Most of us have limits about what we do with friends. For example, most friends aren’t allowed in the bed with an intimate couple. Most friends aren’t privy to the financial information of a partnership. There is information one just doesn’t share because it’s private. To share it would be violating a boundary.
There are many other types of boundaries, but we have covered the most important ones here.
Next post is going to be about signs of unhealthy boundaries!