Well, well, well… I don’t know why but apparently I continue to be a subject at WTO. Weird. I posted about this a few days ago. I’ve been out of touch with the blog for a few days, while I do family stuff and take care of my email list. I really admire the people on my list; they do a great job of being both honest and validating with one another – while at the same time providing constructive advice to one another.
Boundaries… I’ve posted about boundaries many times before. I think boundaries are one of the most misunderstood concepts in the non-BP/BP relationship. While it is difficult to be a parent of anyone (much less someone with BPD) and provide no guidance to your child – I mean, it is natural to want to provide some advice and guidance to children – boundaries in the sense that many people on the Internet understand them are not effective in an emotional situation. Now, WAIT! Actually boundaries ARE effective… OK, how can I say they aren’t effective and are effective at the same time?
The major problem with boundaries is that most of the Nons out there believe that boundaries are something to “control” or “moderate” their BP’s behavior. This concept is absolutely ineffective and untrue. Boundaries created for other people (whether they have BPD or not) are not effective – especially when the other person has a general fear of judgment like those with BPD. Those types of boundaries are not really boundaries at all – they are RULES for the behavior of another person. They will not work in emotional situations.
Boundaries that DO work are those you set for yourself with respect to other people’s behavior. In other words, boundaries that guide your OWN behavior are effective ones. If you say to someone, “I will not go to a restaurant with you if you are drunk” (for example), what you are really doing is setting a boundary that limits/affects your OWN behavior given certain conditions. That type of boundary is effective because you, as a non-BP, have complete control over it. You can choose NOT to do something given a set of conditions.
I would encourage you to examine what “boundaries” you have in place and see if they are rules for other people’s behaviors or if they are actual personal boundaries that manage your own behavior and reactions. If they are the former, I expect you will end up being frustrated quickly. If they are the later, then you can find some peace when they are applied to a given situation. This statement isn’t meant to imply that someone with BPD will automatically accept your application of personal boundaries (to yourself). No, they might rage at you or try and convince you to do otherwise (i.e. go to the restaurant even if they are drunk), but you are the master of your own behavior and you can always be firm and say, “No.”