Barriers and Boundaries
Protection or defence?
In these stormy times I was reflecting on fences (mainly because my fence is going to need some repairing). But rather than outside fences I was thinking about the inner ones.
Do you ever feel like you are behind a wall? Are you aware of your boundary? And like Kings and Queens in ancient times do you defend that boundary hurling rocks and stones out against marauding invaders?
What is your boundary like? I once saw depression described as being bricked up in a chimney, the sufferer occasionally pulls out a brick and waves a hand out, only to thrust the brick back when anyone responds.
Do you have a tall wall, is it wood, brick or chain link fence, can you be seen? Or is it a metal shield, is it big enough? Do you hide behind it, is the person behind the barrier the same as the person presenting in front?
Can you visualise a barrier at all? Do you feel you have any defence from the world?
Why do we need them? Well they do protect us keep us safe.
You may well find that you have colleagues or friends that you are a little wary of and others who you can trust with anything. How do we make those judgments? Well based on peoples behaviour, but more so on our previous experiences. Did you ever tell a friend a secret only to have them blab it all over the school? The younger you were when it happened the deeper the scar will be and it shapes your subsequent behaviour. Did a partner cheat on you? Either romantically or within business? How do you view such partnerships now?
Do you sit behind your shield or barrier criticising the world in general? Where does that come from? I am willing to bet you apply the same harsh judgements to yourself. Equally do you get pushed around, overlooked at work are you a bit of a doormat, worse still are you being bullied? What is your boundary like and how is your self esteem?
Do you feel you have to maintain a standard, be a great example to everyone? Is this becoming a bit wearing, is your shield getting a little heavy?
It is normal and right to have a boundary but is it serving you? Are you exhausted or constrained by maintaining a front. Is it something that protects you and is useful or do you use it to hide behind and throw brickbats over? Is it thick or thin, flexible or rigid, high or low.
What does it say about you?
There are no right answers, just have a look at yourself or close friend and family. You will often be able to see patterns in others behaviour and it may ring a few bells on your own behalf.
Ultimately we want flexible strong boundaries, that move and grow with us; allow us to feel secure and unconstrained and won’t blow over at the first winter storm. Do you have any fences that need mending?