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  • Writer's pictureEmma Lakeland

Healthy boundaries, the road to happy relationships.

Let’s start with what do we mean by having a boundary?

A boundary is a line between us and someone else, one side contains you and all you have to give and the other has them and all they have and are prepared to give too.

What is a healthy boundary?

A healthy boundary means respecting, valuing and holding what is ours, are own actions, problems, feelings and emotions. Not giving or being expected to carry the responsibility for the actions, problems, feelings and emotions of another.

When respecting this boundary we are able to give and receive part of ourselves on our own terms out of a balanced choice without a need for validation of our existence attached to over giving or overtaking from another.

Two Types of boundary crossers

1. The over givers

2. The over takers

(both come from having mixed or no boundaries as a child and are often a traumatic response to emotional uncertainty, fear or pain, so no judgement is needed on whatever way a person’s survival pattern was created and lived). Both share a response to prime care givers being stressed, unavailable through mental health, addiction, overworked, history of trauma without healing and direct traumas, death, violence and abuse or neglect.

These people often end up in relationships together and are like magnets for each other with an unconscious need that wasn’t met in childhood waiting to be met in an unhealthy relationship dynamic, until healing is achieved on both sides


The over giver

The over giver tended to have an uncertainty to their survival with an emotionally unstable or physically unavailable prime care giver. A child depends on knowing that they can approach without fear or judgement and their needs can be taken care of in a stable environment.

When this is shaken or not met, a survival pattern develops of needing to know someone loves them or they are ok and alive by pleasing other people 1st, over giving to a fault. They are considered the more socially acceptable for their nice, kind traits, (being a good girl or boy, not upsetting anyone else, soothing the situation by fixing other people’s issues over their own).

They are often left drained, resentful and devalued for their efforts as they often give more than they have and don’t tend to ask for their needs to be met in return.

The over taker

The over taker often gets the bad end of judgement as they are often seen as cold, dismissive, selfish and over demanding of another. Remember this is a survival response of a child who was scared, hurt, had little or no safety, love or positive nurturing.

Their response to trauma was to react by distancing themselves from others, why should they trust anyone if the world is a horrible place. Mistrust of others leads to not knowing how to ask for their needs to be met, but we all have needs.

The over taker then develops a take and run with what they need instead response, or act out until they are seen and heard in some way, usually negative, resulting in a low self esteem from being seen as a difficult or naughty child. As adults relationships are hard as not only is their level of trust on constant high alert, their low sense of worth means they need a happy positive person who has enough to spare for them too, as they were never able to believe in themselves.

Their mistrust alarms often draw them into conflict with a partner, especially as their unconscious hurt child feels safer with distance. This then damages their self esteem even more and solidifies their belief that the world is a horrible place and end up feeling isolated and alone.


· AWARENESS - you may have learnt something new here today, that helps you identify parts of yourself that were great in surviving and the only way you knew how to get your needs met, but are then counterproductive by self sabotaging the boundaries that allow for a healthy relationship.

· CHOICE – the most powerful thing we have is choice, even when it feels like we don’t. When under pressure we flip into survival patterns. With awareness and choice we are able to question if each situation needs a survival response and choose not to go there or not.

· DETERMINATION – not to let the past control or define us, we all deserve a happy existence if we choose to create a new one.

· SELF FORGIVENESS and knowing our VALUE. When we experience boundary cross overs it leave a sense of regret, embarrassment and failure. We are all human and most of all we all desire connection, connect fully with yourself 1st, heal your need for protection or validation, know your worth and value your place in the world with or without another. Be the person you need and then share the love by giving by choice not trauma.

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