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BellaOnline's Mental Health Editor

How To Keep Strong Boundaries

When you have strong boundaries you are respecting yourself and telling others that you matter. Boundaries are a way of keeping yourself safe and clear on who you are and what you will ‘put up’ with.

Your boundaries say a lot about who you are and what you will and will not allow from others. They teach others how to teach you and how you expect to be treated by them.

People with weak boundaries tend to be people pleasers, ‘wishy washy’ have no opinions, and allow others to walk all over them. Putting yourself last is not an attractive quality, all it does is turns you into a door mat and someone who is taken for granted and not appreciated.

It may seem counter intuitive, however when you put yourself first rather that putting others first, at your own expense it tells people you do not value yourself and that you are desperate for their approval. The more you do for people the more expect from you.

For many woman it feels wrong to have strong boundaries when with a partner. They want to show their ‘man’ how much they care and put them first - even when what is being requested is not what they want to do.

The reality is, a man (or in fact, anyone) will respect you as much as you respect yourself. If you keep giving to him and don’t allow him to give to you he will withdraw. He wants to know that you respect yourself enough to say no when you need to and to not just do things to please him or others.

Have you ever had someone do everything for you? Did you feel loved or suffocated? Was it empowering or annoying? Relationships are for sharing and supporting each other. When one is doing everything for the other they start to take them for granted and start to resent them because they feel obligated to them.

The cycle can go something like this;

The woman wants her man to know how much she loves him so she takes on roles that should be his, and does everything to make him happy even at her own expense.

He loses his natural role in the relationship and feels controlled

She starts to feel like he is withdrawing from her so she does more.

He gets annoyed and angry with her

She feels hurt because he doesn’t appreciate all the things she does for him

He withdraws and if they are not able to communicate what is going on for each other they eventually split up. When you split up like this there is no resolution so the patterns and behaviours are then continued into the next relationship.

Does this sound familiar? I think most of us have been there but didn’t understand what was going on. Without understanding communication becomes blaming and nothing gets resolved. The cycle is perpetuated and relived through all other relationships until there is clarity and your part is acknowledged.

This is not just a pattern for relationships with partners, it holds true of all relationships you have. If you are prone to having weak boundaries, observe how others treat you when you are always giving to them, and being too available.

Do yourself a favour and be true to yourself, speak your truth, and don’t give yourself away too easily to another. Keep in mind what a relationship means and stop over compensating to try to make it something that it probably is not.

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