Often the need for healthy boundaries arises out of unhealthy relationships. While an all or nothing approach may be appealing (i.e. leave the unhealthy behind), the reality is that people are complex. We may love someone who has a lot of great qualities and at the same time is difficult, controlling, or invasive. It is especially important in these situations that we raise the “stop sign” when someone’s behavior is unacceptable for us. In this way we teach others how we expect to be treated. This is part one of a process toward improving the relationship, and it is the only part the person feeling violated can really do.
Part two is up to the person who acts destructively. Their work is to do a deeper dive into why their behavior evoked a boundary in the first place. While the troubling conduct may stop toward the individual enforcing a particular boundary, chances are it continues with another. Often the core issue of what causes one to act inappropriately is not resolved with a boundary alone. Sometimes healing first requires a bottoming out for the one misbehaving. They have to suffer the consequences of their actions over time. That pain has the potential to lead them to a cracking open — a break-down to break through moment — wherein finally they take responsibility for their actions. From there they can repent, make amends, and try to restore trust.
It’s important to realize what part is yours when dealing with giving and receiving boundaries. And remember, it can be quite a gift to love someone enough to hold them to a higher standard.
May you be inspired!