A page from my eBook “Beyond Boundaries”….
In a word, nothing.
What I have a problem with is people using only boundaries (also known as “limits”). I have a problem with people thinking that boundaries are the end-all, be-all of relationship tools. I also have a problem with people using “boundaries” that are not really boundaries at all.
Let me explain… Many in the Non-BPD support community (loved ones of people with borderline personality disorder – BPD) seem to latch on to boundaries as the main tool for dealing with their loved one with BPD. While boundaries (if understood and used properly) can be an effective tool for you, boundaries are not the end-all, be-all tool in a Non-BPD’s toolbox. I have read hundreds of messages that advise others to “enforce their boundaries” with someone with BPD, as if boundaries will make the relationship more manageable. Actually, boundaries are not the most effective tool in dealing with someone with BPD. What are the more effective tools? I will explain those at length in this eBook.
Another problem with boundaries is that if a Non-BPD decides to use ONLY boundaries, troubles will occur. The reason behind this is that boundaries are an effective tool for YOU, but not necessarily an effective tool for the relationship. Often, when someone is using only boundaries, the person on the “receiving end” of the boundary will feel like they are being dealt with harshly, which, in some circumstances, can cause MORE rage. With BPD, the application of “tough love” is most often not effective. While tough love may be appropriate with substance abuse or other behavioral disorders, BPD is not primarily a behavioral disorder. It is primarily a disorder of the emotional regulation system (some researchers have suggested renaming the disorder to “Emotional Regulation Disorder”). It is a true mental illness with both biological and environmental causes and effects. It’s not just a person behaving badly, even though it can include severe behavioral dysfunction.
A final problem with boundaries is the misunderstanding of what boundaries are and to whom they apply. I explain this issue in the “About Boundaries” section of this eBook.
The reason I titled this eBook “Beyond Boundaries” is because the tools represented within are just that: they are tools to take your relationship to an effective level, beyond the knee-jerk idea that boundaries are the best tool for a Non-BPD/BPD relationship. Although many support groups, self-help books and even therapists provide the single tool of boundaries for your relationship, this eBook will provide you with an entire tool kit. Like any tool kit, the tools contained within are appropriate for different tasks. Your job, if you are willing to do it, is to learn the function of each tool and then practice with each tool until you have a complete mastery over it. That is the way to emotional freedom and peace in a difficult relationship.