Childhood Abuse & Boundaries

For someone who has been abused at an early age, an unhealthy sense of boundaries can develop as a result. It can show up in many ways.

An abuse survivor will often have memories of a loved one (usually older) violating their trust and boundaries; and when it came time to say no they felt frozen or in some way unable to say no.

Sometimes a survivor might find themselves always worrying about what others are thinking. They track others constantly in order to guage whether or not someone they are with might suddenly want to violate their personal space. Sadly, if this space is about to be violated the tracker often allows it. It is a lose lose situation where a person is always on guard but when the time comes to act the learned action of inaction takes over, thus perpetuating the dysfunctional cycle of worrying about others while still allowing them to violate one’s self.

Another way a survivor’s boundaries can be blurred is by the desire to always be in the good graces of others, wanting to please them above one’s own needs; as learned during the initial abuse. This can impact one’s ability to show up authentically, and instead create an ability to adapt for all types of personalities in order to be able to make anyone happy. This creates obsessive compulsive traits, perfectionistic traits, and belittles one’s own life essence as less important than being approved of by others. Because of this, one might often choose to do something for another because it makes that person happy, even if it violates one’s boundaries.

These are just a few examples of the long reaching potential ways of being that can manifest, after someone’s boundaries and trust are violated during a time in their life when they are developing their way of navigating life. It is only when we can begin to see such patterns while also acknowledging our past trauma, that we can finally start rewriting our operating system and self identities to reflect what WE truly want.

Mediocrity or Full On

You know that saying, “You can’t please everyone all the time…”?

Technically, after years and years of sacrificing your own integrity and self worth you can definitely dial in a way of being that allows you to please everyone, all the time. I think a better phrasing would be, “You should not sacrifice your own truth in order to please everyone all the time.”

A while back, I had a conversation with my martial arts instructor who I asked about pivotal times in his life. We talked about issues with boundaries coming up constantly, and through sharing we came to the understanding of how this can relate to trying to please EVERYONE all the time. Trying to be liked by ALL my clients, all my friends, all my family members, all so I can avoid someone disliking me. This works great when I’m OK with being in relation to others from a place of diminished stature, a type of camouflage where I don’t stand out too much and I don’t disappear completely. But diminished stature won’t allow me to truly embody the level of integrity and confidence in my purpose needed to attain the success I want in this lifetime.

When you find your self, and your identity noticing similar things you are likely at a crossroads, where you can either choose to remain in mediocrity, or choose to stop trying to control whether or not people like or approve of you. For me, this is directly related to establishing clear boundaries, versus limiting my outward truths just enough to be liked but not loved, and to be insignificant but not disliked. When I say it like that, of course I’d rather walk through life loved or disliked. And sadly for a lot of my early life, my experience was one of mostly being liked but not loved, and being insignificant but not disliked. No thank you, I now choose to be loved or disliked, clearly and with easy acceptance of this truth. I am choosing to walk in my purpose proudly and with humility, not hopeful with insecurity.