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Respect and Boundaries - frequently misunderstood topics

by Kathryn Wenzel on 10/03/15

This blog explains what most of us should have learned from our parents growing up, reinforced by teachers, coaches and other influential adults…

Yes another blog talking about boundaries, but with an interesting twist. The bottom line is that the issue of respect is the foundation of a healthy relationship.The awareness of boundaries, even on the most basic level, is key to respect. Right off the bat, we will tell you that this is a very tough, often misunderstood, and very frustrating topic. Respect is a subject matter that has become such a topic of distention, it often causes couples to split, separate, divorce and / or become involved in the legal system.We are talking about the violation of boundaries. We are not here to rewrite the book on boundaries.We are just going to present them in a different way, to help open the door of understanding. We will discuss seven very basic core boundaries that are universal and that everyone possesses. We like to use a form of sign language to help teach others to remember and memorize these boundaries.

Taking your right hand, draw a half circle above your head
 left to right, point it to your big brain, 
your mouth, fist on your left shoulder,
 hand over your heart, point to your big toe 
and now complete the bottom
half of the circle left to right.
Now, do this again and say “Spiritual” and
draw a half circle left to right above your head with your hand.
Say “Mental” while pointing toward your big brain.
Say “Verbal” while pointing toward your mouth.
Say “Physical” with your right fist in front of your left shoulder
 like a Roman Centurion.
Say “Emotional” with your hand over your heart.
Say “Personal” while pointing at your big toe. 
(We are really pointing at our crotch,
but because “personal” is our sexual
boundary, but point at your big toe.)
Say “Material” and with your right hand complete the bottom half of the circle,
left to right. Do this again and again and you will quickly memorize your seven boundaries.
These are our most basic boundaries.These seven boundaries are the foundation
of any and all healthy relationships. They also happen to be the foundation of the American Legal System. If we violate any of these boundaries we might just end up in criminal, if not civil, court and maybe even both. These boundaries are so interconnected that if we violate one, we most likely violated some of the others.Let’s examine them a little closer, with a basic definition for each;

Spiritual is our beliefs.
Mental is our thoughts.
Verbal is our words.
Physical is our actions.
Emotional is our feelings.
Personal is our desires.
Material is our belongings.

In a close intimate relationship, like a marriage, if we purposely violate any of these boundaries of one of the couple, we are psychologically violating the boundaries of the other’s as well. This is because the spouse may have no respect for the other and may actually be the one who is violating boundaries. Like we said, it gets complicated. Anyway, these boundaries are also interconnected to our responsibilities as Adults; as men, women and citizens of the United States. We are responsible for our beliefs, thoughts, words, actions, feelings, desires, and everything else we do. For in The United States we are expected to know the law and are responsible if we
break the law, regardless if we say we didn’t know about it. We all know this isn’t really always the case, because it seems there is no accountability anymore and everyone just “lawyers up” (hires a lawyer to get them out of trouble) and blames someone else for their behavior.Learning and understanding these
boundaries and learning to honor our own boundaries and the boundaries of others, are the goals here. The confounding variable, is the Ego (we love this word “confounding”). For when we are in our Ego, everything changes.The Ego holds a very immature, immoral and at times, wicked belief system, (the opposite of our Adult).This in turn changes everything with our thoughts and words usually to be focused on the negative, and the way we say things.
Our feelings become hypersensitive to everything, yet exhibit no empathy for anyone else. Our desires change and we now want what we want, when we want it,
and that’s usually NOW! At times it doesn’t make sense, even to us. This issue of respect, both self-respect and the respect of others, starts and ends with our Adult and our Ego. When we are in our Adult, it is almost innate to be respectful. When we are in our Ego we have no empathy, respect or trust and it shows in our attitude, behavior and especially our words. Learning about the boundaries and making a conscious effort to understand what each represents is important. It is also important to realize that these are also our triggers. When we feel violated, one or more of our boundaries, most likely were violated. When we are triggered, this means our Ego is coming out to play and he or she doesn’t play nice at all. When this happens, the Ego of the other person will retaliate by violating boundaries of the other person or persons who started this mess. The most common incident with this is with our spouse and now it gets crazy! With two Egos going at it, it’s like War! Either a cold war with silence and thick tension, or a red hot war with yelling, arguing and/or worse,or it could be a combination of both. Anyway we look at it, it’s Bad! It is vital to get back into the Adult:own the inappropriate behavior, apologize and commit to being respectful again. All it takes is for one of you to go off the deep end to get things started. It takes both of you to get things back on track, to have a respectful, loving relationship. 
Isn’t that what we all really want? 

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