In the early stages of your journey, when you may discover that you do not have boundaries or that your boundaries are too weak; it is important to replace them with strong and firm boundaries. But sometimes if we do not continue to develop we can get stuck there. Having firm boundaries in the beginning is necessary because you are just learning how to place them. Think of a two year old toddler, we all know that when they first begin to talk their favourite word is “No!” and they mean it. However if they remained there imagine how much of life they would miss out on.
Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.Bruce Lee
Having grown up in a boundaryless home, and then entering a boundaryless and abusive relationship, it took me a long time to learn about boundaries and how to use them appropriately. At first I felt like having boundaries was rude and that people would be annoyed with me for putting them in place. I soon learned that the only people who were annoyed with my boundaries were the ones who had been taking advantage of me not having any. Once I was more comfortable with having boundaries and I knew that I could enforce them I felt empowered and I may even have put too many in place. My boundaries were rigid at this point because I felt like being flexible would mean being trampled on again. I did not want to let my guard down because I was not sure that I would have the strength to put it back up again.
Lack of boundaries invites lack of respect.Anonymous
This fear began to dissipate as I saw over a period of time that I was able to make my boundaries firm or more flexible. For example, with a co-worker whom I consider to be quite toxic, I was able to let my boundary down enough for us to work together and if they were behaving reasonably then we could even have conversations and enjoy each others company. Yet if their old behaviours crept back in I was able to put firm boundaries in place and create more distance between us. It is a good idea to practice boundaries at work or other places outside the home because setting them at home can be the most challenging. I have found that my mother enjoys ignoring boundaries that I put in place but that does not mean that I give up on having them, I just put consequences in place if they are ignored.
You best teach others about healthy boundaries by enforcing yours.Bryant McGill
Having consequences for someone violating your boundaries is necessary and important. Personality disordered individuals will search for holes and they will also want to see if you follow through with what you say. If your boundary is ignored and you want to politely end the conversation, leave the room, go home, or tell them that you no longer want to discuss the subject then you should do that. If your request to change the subject is ignored then you physically remove yourself from the conversation.
Sometimes you have to love people from a distance and give them the space and time to get their minds right before you let them back into your life.Unknown
Once you find the right balance and you feel that your boundaries are established. This is when it becomes more easy for you to be flexible. There are many situations where boundaries should remain firm in order to keep you safe and you will need to use your discretion for that. But if you feel as though some of your boundaries are too rigid and you are missing out on things then begin to make the effort to change that. Boundaries are your birthright and you can always play about with them until you have a boundary style that suits you and allows you to enjoy your life fully.