types of boundaries​ and how we hold boundaries

  1. rigid (intimacy = run!)

people who hold this type of boundaries tend to keep others at a distance emotionally and may appear detached or unemotional. they likely have difficulty asking for help and/or struggle with intimacy. 

  1. porous (take things personal and also take other’s shit as own)

these are people that tend to be overly involved with others, often taking on their feelings and problems as their own. they likely have difficulty saying no and/or setting limits.

  1. soft

these people is a blend of rigid and porous boundaries. they may have difficulty setting boundaries in some areas of their lives, while being able to set boundaries in others.

  1. healthy

people with healthy boundaries can set limits when needed and still be open to emotional connection and intimacy. they are able to ask for help when needed and can say no without feeling guilty or ashamed.

i didn’t pluck them from the sky, they are from a psychologist, Pia Mellody.

its like rigid and porous is on extreme ends.. and soft is the area many people are at, while making their way to healthy boundaries. in the ‘soft boundaries’, there are still difficulties holding for certain areas that are needed, and also feeling of guilt and shame when saying no.

that said, they may not be linear. and it doesn’t mean when we are in one, we stay there forever. people with healthy boundaries can slide back into any of the others in times of fatigue, rough period, stress or any other reason.

the above is a theoretical way of talking about types of boundaries. but what i see is that is how we hold boundaries.

and to me, the types of boundaries will vary depending on what is it, who is involved.

imagine the types of boundaries as layers of doors around us

we can have flexible boundaries at the most external level – maybe like a open door, cloth door –  flexible, fluid, translucent, etc where people can enter easily.

those are things that holds little importance or things we do not need it to be held tightly.

as the layers move inwards, it becomes harder, more solid, non-negotiables.. it is firm and cannot be crossed – or that would declare war. it’s kinda like as it moves inwards, it goes towards what we hold close to our hearts.

all of us have a range of flexible and non-negotiable boundaries that shift in and out for different people, things and context. (eg. how its okay for some people to do certain things to you and not okay for some others, or how it is different for environment, etc)

when two people meet, it is where boundaries meet.. when two people interact, they meet at that ‘door’ they are comfortable to meet at. and there’s chances of boundaries crossing when they hold different boundaries for the same thing.

and the more intimate the relationship, the more chances of it happening because there are more important things involved and one may deem it as non negotiable and the other might see it as insignificant/flexible things.

no matter how close or how much love two person share. we hold different boundaries for different things. there may be some things that our boundaries meet perfectly at the edge. but for most, boundaries are ought to cross a little here and there.

and when boundaries are crossed, we can explore HOW we hold them – rigid, porous, soft, healthy..

do we have difficulty saying it’s not okay and hold our boundaries? are we clear what the limits are? are we going crazy over something insignificant?

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