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Boundaries a Step Dad’s Gotta Have ‘Em – The Two Types


Most of us have seen a “No Trespassing” sign.   This sign sends a clear message, “If you cross the line you will be shot”.  This type of boundary is easy to understand because you can physically see and touch the sign.  Personal boundaries on the other hand are harder to define because the lines are invisible and they are varied and unique to each individual. 

Personal boundaries are limits or borders that define where you end and others begin.  It is defined by the amount of physical and emotional space you allow between yourself and others.  Personal boundaries also help you decide what types of communication, behavior and interaction you accept from others an essential ingredient to successful life in a blended family.  The types of boundaries you set define whether you have healthy or unhealthy relationships.

Type of Boundaries

The two main type of boundaries are physical and emotional.

Your physical boundaries include:

  • Your Body
  • Your Sense of Personal Space
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Privacy
  • Other Physical Boundaries involve:
    • Clothes, Shelter, Safety, Money, Space and Noise

Emotional boundaries are just as important.  They protect your sense of self-esteem and your ability to separate your feelings from the feelings of others.  When you have weak emotional boundaries it’s like getting caught in a storm with no protection.  You expose yourself to being greatly affected by others feelings and can end up feeling bruised, wounded and battered.

They also include beliefs, behaviors, choices, relationships, responsibilities, and your ability to be intimate with others.

Examples of emotional and intellectual boundary invasions are:

• Taking responsibility for another’s feelings.  Not knowing how to separate your feelings from your partners and allowing their moods to dictate your level of happiness, sadness, etc.
• Sacrificing your plans,
dreams and goals in order to please others.
• Not taking responsibility for yourself and blaming others for your problems.
• Telling others what to think, feel, behave, etc.

Learn more about boundaries by reading the book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life

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