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#199735 - 01/16/08 03:43 PM Boundaries and Self Esteem
Jem Offline
New Here

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 18
Loc: DC
One of the first replies I got when I posted here was a/b setting boundaries. I know this. So far the only boundary I have been able to set and stand by is: You cheat on me or physically hurt me again and I am gone.

And it took some doing to get to there.

I am lumping it in w/ self esteem b/c it seems to me that the lower the self esteem, the less boundaries you have.

I know self esteem must come from within, but how do you do it? I grew up being told I was inadequate. When I try to self talk, there's a second voice that says negative things. Not even anything specific, just hateful things.

So my question is, how do I begin to build up from within when I don't even want to look inside?

Once I do, will boundaries be easier to set?

Thank you so very much.


#199739 - 01/16/08 04:06 PM Re: Boundaries and Self Esteem [Re: Jem]
sweet-n-sour Offline

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Dear Jem:

I have been working on boundaries for a good bit of time now. I was never allowed any sort of boundaries when I was growing up. Even if I said "no" with a bit of manipulation from family members, it would shift to "maybe" and then to "yes."

When I first began posting here and one of the survivor's recommended that I maintain strong boundaries, I couldn't help but think..."boundaries, what exactly is a boundary?"

Might I recommend a very enlightening book that I have tackled in the past couple of weeks called, "Boundaries, Where You End and I Begin" by Anne Katherine. It has helped me to understand this whole concept in a more defined way.

I tend to agree that boundaries and self esteem go hand in hand. Allowing everyone to walk all over a person's boundaries steals away the value we feel within about ourselves.

Thanks for bringing this up on the board.

Best wishes,

Edited by sweet-n-sour (01/16/08 04:07 PM)
"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

#199835 - 01/17/08 12:52 AM Re: Boundaries and Self Esteem [Re: sweet-n-sour]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey

I totally agree with you that setting boundaries and your own self esteem are tied together. I never really thought about it before, but now that I do, I certainly canít disagree. How do you build that? Iím not really sure. Iíve had self esteem issues before of course, everyone has, but I havenít had to start from zero so Iím not sure how to do it. I can only relate to my own experiences of when my self esteem was in the toilet which was when I found out that my b/f had been cheating on me. In addition to all of the anger and hatred I felt for him, I felt it for myself too. For being stupid and not seeing it earlier, for not being enough woman for him, not pretty enough, not fun enough, not understanding enough, just plain not enough of anything. That was wrong of course, but it didnít stop the self loathing I felt for quite some time.

What helped repair that particular damage, more than anything else, was talking to my family, friends and co-workers who liked me and respected me for the person they saw. I needed to look away from the mirror for a little while and see myself through their eyes. While all I saw was a beaten down woman, they saw the me they had always known who is anything but beaten down. Itís hard to listen to others and believe what they say when you ďknowĒ something must be wrong with you, but if you do that and really listen to the good others see and say about you then you have a tool to use to maybe see a little bit of it yourself. Once that happens, you can start to re-build the self esteem that has eluded you and begin to realize that you are entitled to have things the way you want them to be. That doesnít mean there is no compromise at all, but rather it is finding and fighting for what you are not willing to compromise.

I donít know if this will help, but it is what worked for me.

ROCK ON................Trish

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#199838 - 01/17/08 01:12 AM Re: Boundaries and Self Esteem [Re: Trish4850]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Thinking a bit more about the benefits of listening to others. I know that many of the people here are fighting daily to undo the damage that was done by the people in their young lives who told them they were worthless. You're fighting it because you know or at least want to believe that what they said then was wrong but it's still a horrible ear worm that won't go away right? Well, if you spin it and believe that what everyone else says about you must be true, then why not all of the good stuff that you hear today? You are a good person; you deserve to be happy, you do deserve to be loved; you do deserve to love in return. You are entitled to good things! It's a simple thought, I know and much easier for me to think it then to put into practice, but when I turned away from the mirror on the wall started to use other people's eyes as my mirror, people who mattered, things started to look up for me.

ROCK ON..........Trish

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#199851 - 01/17/08 02:26 AM Re: Boundaries and Self Esteem [Re: Trish4850]
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon

I'd say you've done a really great job of setting a boundary. What more important one could there be to start with? Bravo!

It may sound a bit trite but that is exactly how you begin. You've picked two boundaries that are very important to you and you've drawn the line. At some point probably sooner rather than later you As you get used to setting and keeping those boundaries in tact you will become aware of others that need to be set. You will probably waver some on the next one before you actually set it, but in the end you will make that decision using the same courage it took to set the first ones. Others will follow, and as you set them self esteem will result.

Like Trish said, "You are entitled to good things!" Reach out and begin demanding them. You've already a good start.

Lots of love,


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson

#200155 - 01/19/08 03:00 AM Re: Boundaries and Self Esteem [Re: Jem]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Dear Jem,
Boundaries are a difficult thing. I've often felt, and still sometimes feel, that I'm living by HIS 10 commandments. I'm always conscious of the rules, and I do what I can not to break them. Touch was a difficult issue for us. I work in healthcare where I engage in touching people in one way or another every day. I'm also accustomed to using very direct, "to the point" questions, which he often has a problem with. While I do refrain from touching him, I WILL ask him the questions when indicated. It hasn't been easy.
I know what you mean about the self talk. But one of the hardest things I've found in our relationship, is how easily he responds to the negative.
I did the same thing you did. The first boundary I set was what I felt was the most important to me. I didn't want him to lie to me. He doesn't. I know that he doesn't. It's a beginning, and we all need that.
I didn't have the best childhood either. I wasn't abused, but I was adopted and had alot of self esteem issues related to that. I addressed them. I spent alot of time and money tracking down my natural parents. I found them. It turned out that my parents were 15, they couldn't keep me, and a year after I was born, they took the agency to court to get me back. They lost. In the interim, they got married and I have a full brother 11 months younger than myself. They kept him. My dad left when he was 4 months old and he met him, actually, after I did. My brother is a recovering drug addict.
I don't know if there is such a thing as having less boundaries. I have boundaries, but they are definitely different than his. I don't jump when someone touches me and I don't pull away when someone tries to get close. There are alot of things I can take and only a few things I can't. He tends to shut me out and pulls away for weeks, months and a few times, years at a time. That's the only thing I can't take.
I think, from reading your post, that you have looked inside. Cheating and physical abuse is something you just can't take or tolerate. Bravo for you!
Here's to new beginnings.


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