According to the authors, John Townsend and Henry Cloud, there are ten laws of boundaries:
- The Law Of Sowing and Reaping – Actions have consequences. If someone in your life is sowing anger, selfishness, and abuse at you, are you setting boundaries against it? Or are they getting away with not reaping (or paying the consequences for) what he/she sowed?
– I have to remember to walk away. If that is leave the room or house. It is OK if they rage and have an issue but I don’t have to be subject to it. I don’t have to make a stink about leaving it is about me not trying to control there actions.
- The Law of Responsibility – We are responsible TO each other, not FOR each other. This law means that each person refuses to rescue or enable another’s immature behavior.
– I am not responsible to deal with someone who can’t see they have issues. It is not my responsibility to point out who is right, or where they see they are wrong, or where they don’t get it, or where they are just being ridiculously unfair.
- The Law of Power – We have power over some things, we don’t have power over others (including changing people). It is human nature to try to change and fix others so that we can be more comfortable. We can’t change or fix anyone – but we do have the power to change our own life.
– I have the power to change my life and not be held back from hurting broken people that I am changing and have changed. I am a free agent to change and can do it and better myself and not feel guilty that does.
- The Law of Respect – If we wish for others to respect our boundaries, we need to respect theirs. If someone in your life is a rager, you should not dictate to him/her all the reasons that they can’t be angry. A person should have the freedom to to protest the things they don’t like. But at the same time, we can honor our own boundary by telling them, “Your raging at me is not acceptable to me. If you continue to rage, I will have to remove myself from you.”
– I need to learn this more. I CAN remove myself from the situation, if they are unhealthy. I don’t have to feel bad or uncomfortable about it.
- The Law of Motivation – We must be free to say “no” before we can wholeheartedly say “yes”.One can not actually love another if he feels he doesn’t have a choice not to. Pay attention to your motives.
– I need help in understanding this one more.
- The Law of Evaluation – We need to evaluate the pain our boundaries cause others. Do our boundaries cause pain that leads to injury? Or do they cause pain that leads to growth?
– I need to look into this in more depth. I need to keep on top of this as I grow.
- The Law of Proactivity – We take action to solve problems based on our values, wants, and needs. Proactive people keep their freedom and they disagree and confront issues but are able to do so without getting caught up in an emotional storm. This law has to do with taking action based on deliberate, thought-out values versus emotional reactions.
- The Law of Envy – We will never get what we want if we focus our boundaries onto what others have. Envy is miserable because we’re dissatisfied with our state yet powerless to change it. The envious person doesn’t set limits because he is not looking at himself long enough to figure out what choices he has.
- The Law of Activity – We need to take the initiative to solve our problems rather than being passive. In a dysfunctional relationship, sometimes one person is active and the other is passive. When this occurs, the active person will dominate the passive one. The passive person may be too intimidated by the active one to say no. This law has to do with taking initiative rather than being passive and waiting for someone else to make the first move.
- The Law of Exposure – We need to communicate our boundaries. A boundary that is not communicated is a boundary that is not working. We need to make clear what we do or do not want, and what we will or will not tolerate. We need to also make clear that every boundary violation has a consequence. A boundary without a consequence is nagging.
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