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A Little Workshop on Boundaries 

Here are some things to know about emotional boundaries, followed by a little quiz.                                                                                            

Boundaries are not walls or barriers. They are also not angry or hurtful. Boundaries are behaviors that are honest, respectful and loving towards one’s self. They keep the bad stuff out and allow the good stuff in. Healthy boundaries create intimate connections that lead to love.

       Rosa Ashe-Turner, PhD, LPC


Our boundaries develop very early in life. It’s the first developmental task of the infant. We have to bond with a care-giver in order to learn that we are welcomed into this world and that it is a safe place to be. This will happen if we are shown constant, warm, loving, predictable emotional attention. The care-give’s job is to woo us into relationship with the world by way of this bond. This bonding is very important because it is the prelude to building a strong foundation to withstand the separateness and conflict that comes with further boundary development. Naturally this early stage does not always go perfectly for us… and as a result we suffer from attachment issues that lead to boundary injuries that we take into our adult lives and relationships.


Fortunately, this is a condition that can be corrected with education, support and a willingness to take responsibility for changing our behaviors.


The following boundary problems may be created in the early stages of life, depending on what our family dynamics were at that time.


  1. The Compliant is a chameleon who takes on other peoples’ boundaries and is unable to set their own.

  2. The Non-Responsive sets up barriers against responsiveness to love.

  3. The Controller aggressively violates the boundaries of others.

  4. The Avoidant sets boundaries against receiving care from others.


Recommendations for healing:

Read these books:

  • Boundaries, When to Say Yes and When to Say No by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.

  • Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency by Melody Beattie

  • The Dance of Intimacy by Harriet Lerner.


Seek spiritual support and mental health counseling.

Take this True or False quiz:

  1. _____ Healthy boundaries in relationship means respecting your partner’s feelings, attitudes, behaviors, choices, and values.

  2. _____ Creating intimacy in your relationship means taking responsibility for your own feelings.

  3. _____ The way to communicate your feelings to your partner is by saying, “I feel that you… "

  4. _____ Being emotionally vulnerable by telling the truth about how you feel is the beginning of intimacy and connection.

  5. _____ Our feelings are a warning signal that tells us we need to do something. We are required to respond.

  6. _____ Not dealing with hurt or anger can destroy a relationship.

  7. _____ We are responsible for our own desires, wants, and limits.

  8. _____ Giving in to your partner’s anger, pouting, or demands destroys love in your relationship.

  9. _____ Allowing your partner to suffer the consequences of their own choices or behaviors if sometimes the most loving response.

  10. _____ When you set boundaries, remember to be lovingly responsive to the person who might feel pain as a result.

  11. _____ Your boundaries simply say clearly what you will or will not do.

  12. _____ Boundaries mean giving up control, and the beginning of love.

  13. _____ Different types of boundaries include words, truth-telling, skin, physical space, time, emotional distance, other people, and consequences.

  14. _____ Partners accommodate each other.

  15. _____ Self-boundaries include eating, money, sex, talking excessively, time, alcohol, drugs, and smoking.

  16. _____ The root of self-boundary issues is irresponsibility.

  17. _____ Establishing healthy boundaries for yourself is especially difficult if your boundaries were seriously violated in early childhood.


ANSWERS: All of these statements are TRUE, except for #3, which is false. 

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