Boundaries are essential to our well-being. They are required for wholeness. They are critical to establishing and maintaining our identity. Boundaries are those internal mechanisms that alert us when someone is trespassing our soul through inappropriate behaviors, attitudes or words, with controlling maneuvers and emotional power plays. Boundaries prescribe our emotional, soulish space, our sense of where we end and someone else begins. They determine what we perceive to be inappropriate behaviors and grant permission to enforce personal violations when someone engages us in ways that feel uncomfortable, controlling or otherwise inappropriate.
Healthy boundaries arise from our Needs and the basic Wants that come out of those needs. In order to have a viable personal boundary system, we must know the difference between our wants and our needs, and we must have permission within ourselves to protect those needs. For those who have had healthy childhoods, this comes somewhat naturally. For those from more tainted childhood experiences, instinctive responses are likely to be exaggerated with either rigid boundaries enforced by anger or thick walls, or no boundaries at all. In the latter case, the person's sense of self is like an open range with no fences; people walk through at will with little, if any, consequences. This person has little if any sense of who - or why - they are. They are defined by others and ruled by external forces.
Many sincere Christians feel selfish or guilty in enforcing boundaries, viewing it as an un-Christian response. A close study of the life of Christ reveals a very powerful boundary system that obviously did not compromise His utterly loving, compassionate ways. It takes spiritual growth, through prayer and relinguishment and the study of Christ's life, as well as emotional healing, to find our way with boundaries.
Elsewhere on this site we are developing pages that pertain to emotional wounding and the ways of God for healing of those deep issues. As they come up we will place links here for your convenience.