Growing up in an abusive home, many survivors weren’t allowed to stand up for themselves; sometimes, doing so was dangerous. This lack of autonomy leaves survivors struggling with building and maintaining healthy boundaries.

People who have formed complex post-traumatic stress disorder also have problems with boundaries. It is a part of the symptomology of CPTSD.

This article will focus on boundaries and Evergreen Counseling, an organization owned and operated by Annie Wright, our focal provider.

What the Heck is a Boundary Anyway?

According to Jonathan Wolfrum, LMFT, in a blog post titled The Importance of Forming and Maintaining Good Boundaries that appears on Evergreen Counseling’s blog site, boundaries are defined as “a large and complex set of behaviors and beliefs that allow us to differentiate between our own sense of self and our understanding of others.”

 

Another way to define a boundary is that it is an invisible space that separates one person from another. The space between might be physical and emotional or recognizing your responsibility to another person and what is not.

Physical boundaries include what you are comfortable with when it comes to personal space, sexual contact, and touch. Emotional boundaries encompass the line between how you feel and how others feel. With healthy emotional boundaries, you can take responsibility for your feelings and recognize the feelings of others.

You also recognize that you cannot control how other people feel or act and be aware of what you will and will not feel comfortable sharing with others and maintaining those limits.

Boundaries tell others how far they can go in their treatment of you. Without boundaries, people cannot know where you end and others begin, which sets you up for being in a destructive relationship.

Below are a few examples of healthy boundaries.

  • Saying no and accepting when others do so
  • Valuing any personal boundaries, you may have and not allowing others to cross them
  • Not allowing others to define who you are or your worth
  • Understanding that your needs are just as important as anyone else’s
  • Understanding that you have a right to your emotions and feelings
  • Respecting the value of other’s values, opinions, and beliefs
  • Understanding there is no need to compromise your beliefs, opinions, or values

Healthy boundaries allow you to live successfully while interacting with other people.

Unhealthy Boundaries

Unhealthy boundaries include disregarding your and other people’s values, needs, wants, and limits. Unhealthy boundaries also lead to abusive intimate relationships and significantly increase the chances of having other kinds of abusive relationships.

An unhealthy boundary is flexible to the extreme, allowing others to cross your lines and leaving you open to abusing yourself by catering to other people’s misbehavior, such as allowing others to spend your money while leaving you little for yourself.

Sometimes in a parent/child relationship, you may experience being ‘hooked at the hip’ where you do not have opinions of your own, and your mood is determined by how the parent is feeling.

Without adequate boundaries, you are left performing behaviors that make little sense and hurt you and those you are interacting with.

The behaviors and beliefs of survivors that accompany poor boundaries include:

  • Talking intimately the first time you meet someone
  • Falling in love with anyone who pays attention to you
  • Becoming overwhelmed or preoccupied with another person
  • Going against your personal values or rights to make someone else happy
  • Not noticing other people’s unhealthy boundaries
  • Giving too much and receiving nothing in return
  • Allowing someone else to use you
  • Allowing other people to define you
  • Believing those close to you should automatically know what you need
  • Self-abuse
  • Allowing someone else to abuse you sexually and physically

Trauma survivors lack the basics of building healthy boundaries but doing so is vitally important.

How Do You Build Healthy Boundaries?

For survivors of traumatic experiences or growing up in a dysfunctional home, setting boundaries seems like a foreign thing to do. You have not said ‘no’ for so long that it might seem unnatural or even cruel to set a healthy boundary.

Speaking up is critical and empowering. When you speak up and set healthy boundaries such as, “You cannot open my mail” or “You may not have my money; I need it for myself,” you will experience a freedom and power you have never experienced before or known existed.

Once you have begun speaking up for yourself, it becomes easier each time until you do it regularly. Life will have a different meaning, and your emotional and physical boundaries will be respected. There will be an angry or hurt response from those who were crossing your boundaries regularly, but they will get over it.

Allow yourself to believe that you are doing the best you can and understand you have the strength and accept powerlessness over others and some circumstances. You will find peace in accepting your limitations.

The question is what is good for you, and the answer is figuring out what it is you need. You will face challenges to your new boundaries as the people in your life adjust, and you must remember that change is frightening to them. As mentioned, some of your acquaintances will be angry, but they will also experience confusion and sadness.

However, if you state your expectations clearly and do not budge, people will learn to respect your boundaries, and you will gain the peace of mind you have been looking for.

Evergreen Counseling and a Course on Boundaries and Healing from Trauma

Evergreen Counseling is a therapy center located in downtown Berkeley California that offers high-quality, evidence-based therapy services. They offer treatment to those who have experienced trauma and other mental health disorders, including:

  • Depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Anxiety/OCD
  • ADHD
  • Stress/overwhelm
  • Addiction recovery support
  • PTSD
  • EMDR
  • Counseling for couples and families
  • Prenatal and postpartum mood disorders

Evergreen Counseling offers a six-module video course with an accompanying life-changing 53-page journaling workbook full of guided audio meditations, four incredible bonuses, and lifetime access to a private Facebook group.

“The program will teach you how to feel good no matter who is in your life.”

Ending Our Time Together

Healthy boundaries are critical to having a happy life. Without them, you are open to all types of abuses. This author was forced to build boundaries with my mother, who was taking advantage of me. She would let herself into my home, take whatever she wanted, and make long-distance calls on my landline.

I first told her she couldn’t enter my home when I wasn’t present. I did so, quaking in my boots because I knew the anger she was going to feel and how she would express it with fake hurt feelings and yelling.

However, after I built that healthy boundary, she eventually accepted it, leading me to form other boundaries with her. I learned that I had more power over my life than ever.

I encourage you to explore building your healthy boundaries because the freedom doing so brings is priceless.

“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.” – Brene Brown

“Setting boundaries is a way of caring for myself. It doesn’t make me mean, selfish, or uncaring (just) because I don’t do things your way. I care about me, too.”- Christine Morgan.

“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end, and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom.” – Henry Cloud

 

Winter Holiday Support

 

 

 

 

Winter can be challenging for those with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, especially with the holidays right around the corner. CPTSD Foundation offers you a daily hint and reading to help you lift out of the winter blues and know you are not alone.

https://members.cptsdfoundation.org/products/winter-holiday-support-2022/categories/2151415561/posts/2162004417

Are you a therapist who treats CPTSD? Please consider dropping us a line to add you to our growing list of providers. You would get aid in finding clients and helping someone find the peace they deserve. Go to the contact us page and send a note; our staff will respond quickly.

Shortly, CPTSD Foundation will have compiled a list of providers treating complex post-traumatic stress disorder. When it becomes available, we will put it on our website www.CPTSDFoundation.org.

Visit us and sign up for our weekly newsletter to help inform you about treatment options and much more for complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

The Healing Book Club

As of May 7th, 2022, the current book will be – “A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD: Compassionate Strategies to Begin Healing from Childhood Trauma.”

by Dr. Arielle Schwartz.

Here is an Excerpt –

Repetitive trauma during childhood can impact your emotional development, creating a ripple effect that carries into adulthood. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is a physical and psychological response to these repeated traumatic events. A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD contains research-based strategies, tools, and support for individuals working to heal from their childhood trauma. You don’t have to be a prisoner of your past.

Learn the skills necessary to improve your physical and mental health with practical strategies taken from the most effective therapeutic methods, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization, and reprocessing (EMDR), and somatic psychology. When appropriately addressed, the wounds of your past no longer need to interfere with your ability to live a meaningful and satisfying life.

This book includes the following:

  • Understand C-PTSD—Get an in-depth explanation of complex PTSD, including its symptoms, its treatment through various therapies, and more.
  • Address the symptoms—Discover evidence-based strategies for healing the symptoms of complex PTSD, like avoidance, depression, emotional dysregulation, and hopelessness.
  • Real stories—Relate to others’ experiences with complex PTSD with multiple real-life examples in each chapter.

 

Start letting go of the pain from your past—A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD can help show you how.

UK Support

If you or a loved one live in the despair and isolation of complex post-traumatic stress disorder, please come to us for help. CPTSD Foundation offers a wide range of services, including:

 

 

 

All our services are reasonably priced, and some are even free. So, sign-up to gain more insight into how complex post-traumatic stress disorder is altering your life and how you can overcome it; we will be glad to help you. If you cannot afford to pay, go to www.cptsdfoundation.org/scholarship to apply for aid. We only wish to serve you.

 

Mindfulness, Prayer, and Meditation Circle

Meditation can be an integral part of healing from trauma. Our 9-week self-study video course helps you integrate this fantastic grounding, centering, and focus method. Join the Mindfulness, Prayer, and Meditation Circle today!

 

 

A new Trauma-Informed Yoga program is now available! Check out our information page about this highly requested new program! #yoga #traumainformed #cptsd #mentalhealth #recovery #wellness https://cptsdfoundation.org/traumainformedyoga/

 

 

Do you have goals you need help to reach or help define what goals suit you? Have you considered working with a #traumainformed coach? Learn about a new opportunity and a Free Discovery Call!

 

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