Being Bullied – A Lack of Boundaries and Self-Esteem


When most people hear the word bullying, they normally associated it in terms of people being hurt emotionally and physically, and being that it is such a detrimental and devastating act, it affects a person’s self-esteem for most of their life. Bullying whether it happened when you were still young or at work will affect performance at school and at work/home and as we all know bullying over a long period of time, causes many emotional and health issues. Ultimately, it can destroy you mentally, emotionally and physically.

What most people do not realise that bullying occurs when there is a lack of healthy and protective boundaries, because that is why a person is hurt emotionally, physically or mentally.

Why boundaries are important

Boundaries help to keep you safe, and stop people from hurting you. It’s like having a fence (not a wall) around you. It sets limits on what people are allowed to do and not do to us, how they should behave around us, how they talk and treat us.

So why is it important to have healthy boundaries? You only fight for what you believe in, what you value and what your attitude is. If you don’t think you deserve to be treated respectfully you won’t stand up for your rights. Boundaries essentially are a reflection of how you see, feel and think of yourself (your self-esteem). Healthy boundaries will help you establish a good sense of self-esteem that will in turn help you in stand up for what is right in your life. Such as not settling for second best in relationships and thinking that it’s better to be in an abusive relationship than to be alone. Healthy boundaries can also help you change the way you act at work, perform 100% better; communicating far more effectively then you ever have. You will also be able to quickly pick up when your boundaries have been violated and be assertive enough to do something about it.

Boundaries are a set of rules that we set for ourselves about what we will or will not allow in our lives. These rules are found in our beliefs and values, therefore they define the way we interact with others and the way we behave in all situations. However, during our journey through life, some boundaries may have become blurred, or completely disappeared. Maybe they were never present in the first place. It is so essential to have healthy boundaries, because the only way you will become assertive, have peace and stay safe is to have healthy boundaries in place.

Some examples of boundaries

* No physical or verbal abuse

* I will not allow an addiction to control me again

* I will treat myself and others with respect

* I will be spoken to with respect

* I will not allow others to embarrass me

* I deserve to be paid a fair wage

* I should not fear speaking up about what I believe in

To explain in more detail what boundaries are and how they affect our life, I have explained them in more detail below.

Internal Boundaries

Internal boundaries are about what you will accept for yourself. Internal boundaries include knowing your own beliefs, values, thoughts, feelings and attitudes. They are about the decisions and choices you make for yourself and the experiences you participate in. For example you internal boundary may be that you will not implicitly trust someone you have only just met. You won’t just hop into their car, go to their home etc. until you get to know this person and learn to trust them more.

External Boundaries

Interpersonal boundaries are about what you will accept from others. They are the limits we set with those around us based on certain people, times and places. They are about what behaviours we will accept from other people and those which we will not accept. Another example may be that you will not accept someone at your work to yell at you or call you names.

Rigid Boundaries

People with rigid boundaries allow very little in and out about themselves (you need to reword this so that it makes more sense and links with the following statements). They leave little or no space for intimacy with other people. If you struggle with rigid boundaries you may appear withdrawn, unavailable or false to others, or you mask your emotions with an “Everything’s fine” attitude.

Signs of rigid boundaries

* Unable to change views or perspectives

* Unwilling to hear out others

* Blaming others

* Wanting to win at others detriment

* Unable to accept that you are wrong

Weak Boundaries

People with weak boundaries let other people walk all over them. If you have weak boundaries you will often do anything for other people as you may be fearful or feel guilty to say no. You lack a definite line of where your personal responsibility ends and other people’s responsibility begins. You could often be seen as ‘a follower’. If you have weak boundaries you may also blame others for your misfortunes and you may feel others are responsible for maintaining your emotions and behaviours. Also you may not respect the boundaries of others.

Signs of weak boundaries

* Being submissive

* Unable to say no

* Accepting responsibility for other peoples actions and responses

* Focusing on other people

* Being over responsible or irresponsible

* Giving away your power or taking too much power

* Having no sense of privacy in a relationship

* Invading other’s rights sexually

* Emotionally dependent

* People pleasing

* Feeling confused

So how do you learn to implement healthy boundaries that keep you safe and in control?

Flexible/Healthy Boundaries

If you have healthy boundaries you can regulate your own reality. This means that you can choose what you want in your life and also what is not acceptable. In addition you are able to communicate these needs to those around you. You will also take responsibility for your own behaviours and not take on other people’s problems. We call this not taking on other people’s monkeys. You also understand which one is your own monkey, and which monkey belongs to someone else. Most importantly, you are able to adjust your boundaries based on different situations.

It’s also about you knowing what you want from others, what you will or will not except from others, understand how you want to be treated etc. This list could go on for ever. However, the most important part of learning to implement healthy boundaries in place, is to firstly believe that you deserve to be treated well and to implement a new set of beliefs about what you believe your rights as a human being is. In essence you need to believe and know your assertive rights. Once you have these in place, healthy boundaries will just about come naturally.

Source by Nicolo Marcon

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