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Boundaries: Do You Know Where You End and Someone Else Begins?

Boundaries: Do You Know Where You End and Someone Else Begins?

fence300By Loral Lee Portenier, PhD —

Do you know where you end and someone else begins? Many times our boundaries are permeable and other people’s stuff (e.g., personality, values, beliefs, baggage) can come in and define who we are. Conversely, our stuff can move into their space and define who they are. When you think of boundaries, think of the expression “Good fences make good neighbors.”

A lot of times, people will interfere in your life. They may do this for any number of reasons. Sometimes they have an agenda. An example of this is when a parent gets someone to offer their grown-up son or daughter a job or a cheap apartment so the kid will move out and act like an adult. Or the same person might do or say things that will result in his or her own parents moving into assisted living so they are not on their own anymore. As you can see, someone’s agenda may seem to be positive or negative, depending on how you view it, but it is an agenda, nevertheless.

Other interference comes from people who have somehow reached a stage of enlightenment that is light years ahead of everyone else. They are omniscient. They know everything about everything and they have all the answers for other people’s challenges. (The rest of us mere mortals think of them as know-it-alls.) They are so enlightened that they have reached the point where there are two ways of doing anything-their way and the wrong way. Naturally, they will interfere, I mean intervene, on your behalf when they see you having questions or are doing something wrong (that is, not their way.)

And some people are simply the helpful type. They see a problem and want to step in and help resolve it. They mean well, but in trying to be helpful, they easily step over the line into meddling. I tend to do this quite a bit and people find their own ways of putting me in my place, which makes me take a step back and try to remember that my job is not to save the world.

Yet boundaries apply to ourselves, as well. Back to that neighborly fence. You may resolve never to throw your stuff over the fence into the neighbor’s yard, and you call them on it if they do it to you. Yet in what ways might you be trashing your own yard? What abuse, for example, do you heap on yourself? What important responsibilities do you allow yourself to weasel out of?

In short, then, it is important to your overall quality of life to know where your boundaries are. Know where you end and someone else begins. Know what you allow and do not allow, both from yourself and from others.

Dr. Loral Lee Portenier, transformational psychologist and coach, works with women who are tired, hurting, or confused to help them reclaim their power, renew their passion, and revive their purpose for living. She teaches people how to turn life transitions into transformations instead of disasters as they learn how to live their dreams. Discover more about how she can help you at

Request your complimentary Discovery Session now!

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