Baggage And Boundaries

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By Brandon Jamil

Time to throw out their baggage and set boundaries for your life

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We’ve all been in a relationship or some form of partnership where we’ve taken on the energetic, emotional baggage from other people. I’d like to believe that most of us with a loving heart, empathize with these people and we feel it’s our obligation, duty to fix and or help that person in-need. It usually plays out like this:  We engage with someone of our interest (not necessarily romantic) and we allow ourselves to take on their baggage. We allow them to dump all over us; we attempt to clean up their emotional baggage, often (when we’re not aware of our own empowerment) they’ll walk away feeling like a brand-new person and will come back wanting more. Meanwhile we feel abused, confused, used! I truly don’t think that any person that comes to us with their set of emotional problems is aware of how vampiric their energy is. Because you are the light they’ll spew it on you until there is no you left.

Earlier this year, I had a friend Andrea whom I realized our bond was only built on co-dependency (sucking the life out of one another.)  She would call me when the shit hit the fan with her husband. She had no inner compass for her life as she was rebuilding the entire landscape of her life. At this point she had already purchased land, created her own business; which was very successful might I add. Also, she had a one year old. Communicating with her family about her growth and new-found freedom, liberation as a woman was a foreign concept to her family. She had no true emotional support. I had spent months doing the inner work to begin my journey, and walk my own path.  I could relate to her pain, fear, and profound joy. I understood the moments of despair that arisen in her when it was time to leave the old world behind. I comprehended what it meant to choose your destiny over a romantic relationship because after-all; there was another world to co-create.  But here’s where things got sticky… Neither one of us had strong boundaries within our friendship. Which is why the friendship hit the wall. Sooner or later we’d blamed each other for not showing up how we’d promise we would. Only to discover that it wasn’t neither of our responsibility to fill other voids, mask each-others suffering nor carry each-other to the other side of the journey. I know both of us were in transitional moments of our lives, how the hell did we think that the blind could lead the blind anyway?

I have read about boundaries but how do I set them?

We’ve all read about boundaries or have some idea of what they are. If you’re like me and have researched this topic on several websites… No one seems to have a real-life approach to boundaries. The truth is boundaries are for you! Boundaries are meant to facilitate your participation with another person on your terms. Setting boundaries has nothing to do with a power game or dictating people. This is an example of how you set boundaries:

Andrea calls me and complains about how her husband won’t compromise with her on this year’s plans for the baby. She goes on by saying how she wants to leave him because he doesn’t listen to her and she feels that she is alone in her marriage. Furthermore, she is now looking for an apartment building downtown because she feels that her life is outgrowing his. NOW THIS IS WHERE BOUNDARIES COME IN!

My response to her: I listen without interrupting her, I acknowledge every point she has made. When she is done, I communicate firmly; I understand your marriage is on rocks. As your friend I can listen, however I think it’s best you process your thoughts, feelings within yourself first. Then talk to your husband about these relationship issues. I can’t really involve myself in your marriage because it’s not my place to cast judgment or co-sign a relationship I’m not in. By stating my boundary that I am not allowing myself to be involved in the choices Andrea must make. I am communicating to her that I will not take on her marriage problems. I will not take on her emotions that she has not communicated to her husband. Also, I am demonstrating that I am not here to cause or stir up more drama in her life.

What if people don’t like my boundaries?

This is more about self-respect and not a popularity contest. You must be okay with setting the rules for your life and how you will choose to participate with others. If someone doesn’t like your boundaries you then must look at what they value within your shared bond. Do they want a friendship that allows both of you to expand or do they want a friendship that enables you as an emotional doormat? You must choose. I have found that when we begin to demonstrate self-respect others will respect that as well. Again, you’re not asking for someone to like your boundaries. You’re requiring of yourself to show up in your life powerful.

People don’t respect my boundaries!

There’s a learning phase when setting boundaries. Especially if it’s family, long-term friendships, where you showed up not having boundaries. Do not be alarmed when you begin setting boundaries and the people around you start looking at you as “who do you think you are.” We will all go through this and honestly this is an important part of your development. It takes a while for people to respect apart of you that you did not respect. It’s not something you want to blame yourself for. After-all, you didn’t know or have the tools to do so. This is an opportunity for you to step deeper into yourself and hold yourself with more grounded, stronger self-esteem. Keep in mind that at the end of the day, your job is to only respect yourself enough to know what your boundaries are and set them without apology. If you should have someone disrespect your boundaries, you must choose how you will participate with them moving forward. That choice will be your set personal boundaries.

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