Why Are Boundaries so Important?
Narcissistic personality disorder will suck the life right out of us…IF we let it.
One of the main operating tactics used by narcissists is to obliterate our boundaries and begin to control everything they can about us for the purpose of extracting “supply”. It comes natural to the narcissist, possessive and having non-existent boundaries, not to recognize the separation that exists between themselves and others. To a narcissist we are simply an extension of themselves.
Many of us were raised to believe that we didn’t have the right to create or assert our boundaries to the narcissistic leaders in our family or at school or work. We weren’t to have opinions of our own, but rather look to the narcissist to formulate opinions for us. When we establish our right to stand up for ourselves in the beginning, the natural attraction between an alpha narcissist and beta target would not be able to take hold and flourish. A narcissist will sense that we won’t be an “easy mark” and will move on to someone more easily controlled.
Boundaries are limits that we set about behaviors and treatment that we are or are not comfortable with. Boundaries are the dividing lines between our responsibilities and those of others. Boundaries surround our identity; the parts of ourselves that involve our physical body, emotions, spirituality, thoughts and behavior. Boundaries keep us sane.
Examples include: Having different opinions, recognizing that our feelings and thoughts are unique and are acceptable even if someone else doesn’t understand or agree, making choices that pertain to our lives, who we think we are vs. who someone else thinks we are.
As you can see, there are so many boundary variables that this can quickly become an area of confusion. Narcissists, are experts at plowing over boundaries without concern for consequences. They are hard wired and hard driving to disregard every limit you set for yourself even when it is entirely reasonable and within your rights to do so.
However difficult, it is IMPERATIVE that we protect our precious worth by developing limits about how we allow someone to treat us. The practice of genuinely loving ourselves and recognizing our worth is the basis for developing strong boundaries. When you love yourself, you desire to take good care of and protect yourself from harm.
Once your self love is flourishing, a desire to assert what you like or don’t like comes a little more naturally. Speaking up for ourselves, sharing our voice, telling our stories, exclaiming our truths, our hurts, fears, inadequacies, owning our stories, saying “No” more often; all of these healthy habits are the seedlings of our boundary system. With the absence of someone telling us who we are, we become experts on ourselves.
The bottom line is we want more of what makes us feel good and less of what makes us feel bad. Boundaries help us do that. We keep the good close and expel the bad, away from us by saying yes or no or “asserting our boundaries”.
A few boundaries we assert in the aftermath of Narcissistic Abuse:
1. No Contact
2. Separating our reality from that of the narcissist
3. Facing down the smear campaign holding on to who we KNOW we are
4. Regaining control in our lives by Saying “NO”
5. Not seeing ourselves through the eyes of our abusers
What boundaries have you developed as result of narcissistic abuse?