Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously. - Prentis Hemphill

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Sunday Circle Reflections, November 29, 2020

Issues around boundaries were present at today’s treatment. At both the throat and the heart chakras, I felt how sometimes, in particular, if you grew up in an environment that did not nurture clean boundaries, a lack of boundaries can evoke a kind of negative pleasure.

At the throat chakra, I could see that I was gagged with a black cloth and that someone was holding my throat very tightly. I could not speak, even though I wanted to. When the urge to speak or scream got strong enough, I would struggle against the gag and the hand on my throat. Strangely, the more I wrestled, the closer I felt to the faceless person who was hurting me. It was clearly a toxic dynamic, but it was a connection. In the struggle, I felt my deep need for connection and the fear of losing it if I succeeded in my attempt to break free.

At the heart chakra, there was a similar dynamic. My chest felt constricted to the point that I felt almost crushed by whatever force was gripping me. If I took a deep enough breath, I could break free. But invariably, the room in the absence of that weight felt scary and lonely. While the force felt crushing, I longed for the guaranteed connection to the person that was constricting me when it was absent.

At both chakras, I found myself in ebbs and flows, in and out of the same struggle. When I started to get some space and felt like I had an opportunity to escape, my anger grew, and I struggled hard. And then the person got close again. It was too close and designed to restrain me, but it didn’t matter; all I could feel was the negative pleasure in feeling connected to someone.

If the only closeness you felt to someone in your childhood was when they were invading your boundaries, good clean boundaries can feel like detachment and can mistakenly be perceived as a lack of caring. And if, as a child, you felt the most connected to your caregiver in your struggle against their invasion of your boundaries, a quiet and calm dynamic with someone you care for can feel scary and disconnected too.

There is no shortage of articles and advice on how to cultivate healthy boundaries and identify the hallmarks of codependent relationships. I love the way Pixie Lighthorse speaks about this topic in her book, Boundaries & Protection. This blog post and audio file by Mark Manson is also a good “field guide” to boundaries.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is the ability to recognize when you are betraying yourself to preserve a connection with someone. While the absence of a familiar connection may feel scary at first, the space you create makes the necessary room for something so much healthier if you are willing to tolerate that fear long enough to discover something different.

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