Student Wellness

Drop Shadow

Healthy Boundaries

A Checklist on Boundaries in a Relationship

When you give up your boundaries in a relationship you:

  1. Are unclear about your preferences
  2. Do not notice unhappiness since enduring is your concern
  3. Alter your behavior, plans, or opinions to fit the current moods or circumstances of another (live reactively)
  4. Do more and more for less and less
  5. Take as truth the most recent opinion you have heard
  6. Live hopefully while wishing and waiting
  7. Are satisfied if you are coping and surviving
  8. Let the other’s minimal improvement maintain your stalemate
  9. Have few hobbies because you have no attention span for self-directed activity
  10. Make exceptions for a person for things you would not tolerate in anyone else/accept alibis
  11. Are manipulated by flattery so that you lose objectivity
  12. Try to create intimacy with a narcissist
  13. Are so strongly affected by another that obsession results
  14. Will forsake every personal limit to get sex or the promise of it
  15. See your partner as causing your excitement
  16. Feel hurt and victimized but not angry
  17. Act out of compliance and compromise
  18. Do favors that you inwardly resist (cannot say no)
  19. Disregard intuition in favor of wishes
  20. Allow your partner to abuse your children or friends
  21. Mostly feel afraid and confused
  22. Are enmeshed in a drama that is beyond your control
  23. Are living a life that is not yours, and that seems unalterable
  24. Commit yourself for as long as the other needs you to be committed (no bottom line)
  25. Believe you have no right to secrets

When your boundaries are intact in a relationship you:

  1. Have clear preferences and act upon them
  2. Recognize when you are happy/unhappy
  3. Acknowledge moods and circumstances around you while remaining centered (live actively)
  4. Do more when that gets results
  5. Trust your own intuition while being open to  other’s opinions
  6. Live optimistically while co-working on change
  7. Are only satisfied if you are thriving
  8. Are encouraged by sincere ongoing change for the better
  9. Have excited interest in self-enhancing hobbies and projects
  10. Have a personal standard, albeit flexible, that applies to everyone and asks for accountability
  11. Appreciate feedback and can distinguish it from attempts to manipulate
  12. Relate only to partners with whom mutual love is possible
  13. Are so strongly affected by your partner’s behavior and take it as information
  14. Integrate sex so that you can enjoy it but never at the cost of your integrity
  15. See your partner as stimulating your excitement
  16. Let yourself feel anger, say “ouch” and embark upon a program of change
  17. Act out of agreement and negotiation
  18. Only do favors you choose to do (you can say no)
  19. Honor intuitions and distinguish them from wishes
  20. Insist others’ boundaries to be as safe as your own
  21. Mostly feel secure and clear
  22. Are always aware of choices
  23. Are living a life that mostly approximates what you always wanted for yourself
  24. Decide how, to what extent, and how long you will be committed
  25. Protect your private matters without having to lie  or be surreptitious

*The California Therapist July/August 1990

Developing mutually supportive relationships: “Moving from dependence to independence is a major step toward maturity. But, moving from independence to interdependence demonstrates the greatest maturity of all.” (Downing, 1999)

  • Dependent people don’t feel they can accomplish what they want on their own and need others to help and/or do tasks for them.
  • Independent people are able to work hard to get things done on their own, but don’t ask others for help when/if they need it.
  • Co-dependent people are motivated by their need to help others and rely on the approval and/or dependence of others in order to feel worthwhile. How would you describe someone who is independent?
  • Interdependent people have confidence in working and accomplishing tasks alone, but recognize the value and joy of giving and receiving help.