The most loving and compassionate people are the ones with the most boundaries- they're essential in all of our relationships, especially those with our family and loved ones.
Boundaries are often talked about in literature, and are a relatively easy concept to understand. However, setting boundaries around self and other is often much harder to put into practice in reality. When we are struggling in relationships with people we care about, there are many other factors which complicate our dynamics, and we often have to take our time to understand in family therapy what is going on in the system first, before boundaries can be redrawn or established.
Boundaries are learned behaviors, if we came from a family with too rigid or too weak boundaries, we will often repeat the pattern we are familiar with, or over-compensate.
Learning why we need boundaries and why it's hard for us to sometimes set them is important work to do in therapy. Sometimes, as a family therapist, I see that some people have a tendency to:
1) Put another person's needs, feelings and wants before their own.
2) Minimize their own need for boundaries.
3) Believe that boundaries will hurt or damage the relationship.
Part of the education I provide in therapy with teens, parents or families, in private practice or as Clinical Director is about the need for our own boundaries.