The tricky thing about boundaries is that I might have a boundary that conflicts with yours. Basically we all have some boundaries. The friendships that last are the ones in which both parties’ boundaries do not conflict.
An old friend of mine said that she preferred to do something this way, but there was no way I could do it her way and since they were both boundaries of ours, we had the end the friendship. That’s life. She was not wrong with her boundaries and I was not wrong with mine. We were both simply protecting ourselves. Why must there be a right or a wrong party? We all have limitations. We all have trauma. We all have emotional flashbacks and sometimes they are just way too hard to feel or cope with. And so we must be vocal about our limits to each other and also be prepared that the other party might not accept our limits.
Boundaries are needs, preferences, expectations and limitations. Now, considering we all come from trauma, it’s impossible that we will be able to squeeze ourselves to fit each other’s boundaries. And why should we? Some people’s boundaries can feel downright oppressive and traumatic depending on which wounds of ours are unhealed.
There are some belief systems that I do not tolerate in others — not because they are bad people for their beliefs, but because they are triggering unhealed traumatized aspects of myself. I don’t see people as trying to purposely hurt me — they are just in pain (or not) and some people’s pain (or not) triggers too much of my own. I have to severe ties with that person to feel safe. While I am regular about expressing my emotions as part of my healing journey, I can only deal with so many triggers at once. Not only that —- I am really just trying to find a tribe that contrasts the dysfunctional environment I grew up in. These are the boundaries I need in place because having the right people around supports my healing process.
A lot of friendships, I gather, would last longer if we all could take more responsibility for our triggers and if we all could communicate with each other. However, if at least one party is not up for communicating, the relationship must end. The most solid friendships are those where both parties’ pain and limitations are in harmony and when both parties are able to communicate (in a timely manner) with each other if there is an impasse. If someone walks away from you, it doesn’t always mean you did something wrong. And it doesn’t always mean they are doing something wrong when they walk away. When we don’t feel safe, connection turns into protection-mode and so we must part ways. Putting up with someone who is causing you internal discord so you can feel like you are a mature person is just a false pretense that might later cause you to resent others or could even cause physical illness. People should always feel free to exit a relationship if that is what they must do to feel safe. Authenticity is health.
Relationships with others are how we learn about ourselves. Take notes of your triggers. Relationships are messy, by design. Often if it’s not messy, then someone might be being dishonest. People get hurt no matter what choices are made and no matter what boundaries are crossed or set. Both parties, due to their unhealed parts, might feel pain. We are all in pain, that’s why.