I was raised in a "children should be seen and not heard" time back east in New York. Having a right to our opinions, especially as a child, wasn't something that was in the cards for me or any other child. Suffice it to say that boundaries were a very confusing topic for me as I got older. Moving on... so I go to college and learn (from these well intentioned books) that I have a RIGHT to my opinions, and I CAN draw boundaries. What they DIDN'T teach me was Psychology 102. What do you do when no-one listens, cares, or it just simply doesn't work? What do you do when you realize that no-one HAS to care, listen, or otherwise adjust? It doesn't have THOSE directions on the fancy lists and grids that your therapist gave you. The truth about boundaries is that people are complex. They come replete with personal histories that dictate how they respond on an automatic, and often highly unconscious level. If you simply learn about boundaries, and then try to draw them, you may find yourself disappointed more often than not because you can't control how others respond. As adults we all have our own "stuff" and others may not be capable of doing the right thing with your boundaries even if they wanted to. How we each "do life" is based on years of becoming who we are (using that term loosely). So what then do we do?
Know the truth about boundaries:
1. they are only yours. At any given time the best shot you have is to make sure they are reasonable and communicate them in a way that is non defensive, 2. things don't always go our way and you need to learn to let go of the outcome, whether or not they like it or listen, you can only request 3. if the request doesn't yield the results you had hoped for, that doesn't mean your boundaries are wrong and your shouldn't have drawn them, and finally, 4. sometimes we must accept what others are and are not capable of giving, and some people you must love at a distance while others you should get away from completely.
Boundaries can work. With a little information and some newly learned skills, you can increase your chances of having your boundaries heard and respected (from the right people) exponentially. Believe it or not there are techniques to take what would seem as a dead end attempt and turn it completely around. .