Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Chapter 3 - Boundary Problems

Okay, before you sigh and wonder how many chapters there are in this book, I'll just tell you.
There are 16.
I'll try not to bore you over the next 2.5 weeks!

But, it's just too good not to share.
I think this is a book everyone should read!

In chapter 3, the authors talk about boundary problems. They point out that boundary conflicts
are in no way limited to those who "can't say no". It is also related to what you HEAR.

Here is a chart:

CAN'T SAY NO - The Compliant - feels guilty and/or controlled by others; can't set boundaries
CAN'T HEAR NO - The Controller - aggressively or manipulatively violates boundaries of others
CAN'T SAY YES - The Non-Responsive - sets boundaries against responsibility to love
CAN'T HEAR YES - The Avoidant - sets boundaries against recieving care of others

The author points out that you can be any combination of the above. IE a Compliant Controller, A Non-Responsive Avoidant, A Compliant Avoidant, A Non-Responsive Controller... or you can just be one or the other.

Compliants: say yes to the "bad" in life. Compliants have fuzzy and indistinct boundaries; they "melt" into the demands and needs of other people. They can't stand alone, distinct from people who want something from them. They pretend to like the same restaurants and movies their friends do "just to get along". They are chameleons. After a while, it's hard to distinguish them from their environment. They are unable to say no for various reasons: fear of hurting other person's feelings, fear of abandonment, wish to be totally dependent on another, fear of someone else's anger, fear of punishment, fear of being shamed, fear of being seen as bad or selfish, fear of being unspiritual, fear of one's overstrict and critical conscience.

Avoidants: say no to the "good" in life. They are unable to ask for help, to recognize their own needs, to let others in. Avoidants withdraw when they are in need; they do not ask for the support of others. The authors point out that boundaries are supposed to be able to "breathe" like fences with a gate that can let the good in and the bad out. People with "WALLS" for boundaries can let in neither the bad nor the good. Therefore, avoidants are stuck in a cycle of feeling drained, with nothing to replace the lost energy. These people have no boundaries where they need them, and boundaries where they shouldn't.

Controllers: Not respecting others' boundaries. Controllers don't respect limits. They resist taking responsibility for their own lives, so they need to control others. Controllers are percieved as bullies, manipulative and agressive. The author divides controllers into two groups; agressive controllers and manipulative controllers. Agressive Controllers are people who don't listen. They run over other people's boundaries like a tank. They are sometimes verbally abusive, sometimes physically. They live in a world of yes, and there is no place for someone else's no. Manipulative Controllers are less honest than agressive controllers. They use persuasion and talk others into saying yes. They indirectly manipulate circumstances to get their way. They use guilt messages. They usually deny their desire to control others; and brush aside their self-centeredness. The author is quick to point out that compliants and avoidants can also be controllers.

Nonresponsives: Not hearing the needs of others. This person neglect responsibilities to connect with people, and to love. We are responsible to care about and help (within certain limits) others whom God has placed in our lives. To refuse to do so when we have the appropriate resources can be a boundary conflict. Nonresponsives fall into two groups also: 1. Those with a critical spirit toward the needs of others. They hate being incomplete in themselves, so as a result, they ignore the needs of others. and 2. Those who are so absorbed in their own desires and needs they exclude others (a form of narcissism).
Phil. 2:4 says "Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others".

Nonresponsives and be controlling also. Controlling nonresponsives have a hard time looking past themselves. They see others as responsible for their struggles and are always needing someone to take care of them. They gravitate toward someone with blurry boundaries, who will naturally take on too many responsibilities in the relationship and won't complain about it.

It's all very interesting.

A final boundary problem involves distinguishing between "relational" and "functional".
"Functional" boundaries refer to a person's ability to complete a task, project, or job. It has to do with performance, discipline, initiative, and planning. "Relational" boundaries refer to the ability to speak truth to others with whom we are in relationship.
Basically, functional boundaries relate to the "Martha" in us. Relational boundaries refer to our "Mary" parts. (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus didn't mean that Martha's busyness was bad; it was just the wrong thing at the wrong time. Many people have good functional boundaries, but poor relational ones; they can perform tasks at quite high levels of competence, but they may not be able to tell a friend they don't like their chronic lateness.
The reverse can also be true. Some people can be completely honest with others about their complaints and dislikes, but be unable to get up for work in the morning!

Okay, you should have just read the book, since I practically wrote it again above.
I find a lot of things I can relate to in it. I see myself in a LOT of ways.... I think I have okay functional boundaries, but I DEFINATELY have issues with my relational boundaries.
I am still trying to decide for sure which "category" I fit in.

What are you?

1 comment:

Heth said...

Oh my gosh, I feel like I need to read tht again just to get a grasp on it. Wow, I see a little bit of all of them in me, depending on the situation or relationship. Hello sin nature!!