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Walls vs. Boundaries: Letting the Good In And Keeping the Toxic Out

In previous articles, we have talked about how to keep out what shouldn’t come in and how to keep in what shouldn’t get out. One important question remains, how do we make sure we let in what needs to be let in and share what needs to be let out? We all have known an overly talkative person. They speak endlessly. One can barely get a word in edgewise in their presence. We might be quick to assume this person has boundary issues, which they do; but did you know their words are actually a wall? A wall, which prevents them from being intimate with others? A wall which, in spite of their endless dialogue, never truly allows anyone to know them? Walls can show up in our life in all sorts of ways.

Talking Boundaries #2: Changing the Outcomes of Our Conversations

We closed my last article with the suggestion of Pia Mellody, author of Facing Codependence, to avoid using the phrase "made me" as it attempts to push the responsibility for our own thoughts, feelings and actions onto the other person, causing them to become defensive. Consider the following two conversations. Both are prompted by a situation at work in which a colleague and yourself have engaged in a battle of wills. For the sake of simplicity, let's say the disagreement is about when the weekly staff meeting occurs. Your colleague is a morning person and wants to start the meeting Mondays at 9:00 AM. You are not an early riser, not only do you function best in the afternoon, but you like

Talking Boundaries #1: My Feelings, My Responsibility

Have you ever said something you have regretted? As the words left your mouth, you desperately wanted to take them back. The stricken look on the face of the person to whom they were spoken confirmed the reason for your regret. Even a profusely-spoken and immediate apology correcting what you intended to express left your listener wounded and wondering which thought you expressed reflected the way you truly feel. Maybe the relationship was eventually mended. Maybe it has never again been quite the same. In our last article, we talked about our internal listening boundary. Today we are going to be discussing our internal talking boundary. Both of these boundaries are emotional and intellectua

Listening Boundaries #2: Responding to Feedback Through a Healthy Filter

In my previous article, we discussed how to use an internal listening boundary to categorize and process incoming information. When we receive incoming data, we want to file it into one of three categories: true, untrue or questionable. We closed the article wondering how we respond when someone violates our listening boundaries. Maybe they have yelled, lied, ridiculed or disrespected us in some other way. How do we respond as we stay connected to our value? We might respond by saying, “I don’t appreciate it when you speak to me like this…”, “It really hurts my feelings when…. Please don’t…” or “It isn’t okay with me when you…. “ (For more ideas, see the attached worksheet). If the person r

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