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It’s Out of Bounds

Nearly every sport starts with play inbounds, within the defined confines of the game, and stops or pauses when a game’s play goes out of bounds, outside the game rules. Usually, there are written guidelines that declare what is inbound and what is out.

If only life were so simple with rules written down and consequences fair and equally delivered.

But no, our life and relationships are messy and complicated. But there are still limits and boundaries for our actions and behaviors toward others and ourselves. Or there should be.

“Boundaries are a way to take care of ourselves. Boundaries make our expectations clear, so others know what to expect from us and how we want to be treated. Boundaries are the foundation for happy, healthy relationships.”[1]

Boundaries can be both physical (personal space, touch, privacy or sexual contact) and emotional (the line between your feelings and other’s feelings), at the same time and separately. They are bidirectional and are about being respectful and taking responsibility—both saying no and hearing no.[2]

I didn’t learn what a boundary was until I was 50 years old. My original family’s dynamic didn’t allow for boundaries. We were constantly in each other's business. None of us appreciated how miserable that was for everyone involved or anyone within ear-shot.

Often we walk around with half-formed ideas about what we will do and tolerate in our relationships. It is a fuzzy area for many people. Often things need to go quite bad for a long time before a poorly formed boundary is activated enough to be felt and enforced. But there are always signs that boundaries have been broken.

Boundary awareness and its ripple effects

When someone crosses our boundaries, we have an emotional response. When we feel the initial emotion it’s how we know something has happened that doesn’t match our core beliefs and needs. We get annoyed, offended, defensive or angry. And then quite rapidly it can devolve into feelings of guilt and anxiety. Later we can also feel tired, depressed, rejected and abandoned.

If you don’t have well-formed boundaries, can’t enforce them or have over-the-top emotions when you try to hold that line in the sand, then more is going on than just boundary work.

These secondary boundary-triggered emotions are a sign that an unintegrated emotion is in play as well. For example:

· I can get miffed if someone invades my personal space unnecessarily and use my words to let them know it’s too close and move away. But if I get angry and start cursing at them, this action is not in response to my present circumstances. I’m pulling past trauma forward into my current reality.

· Suppose I lack assertiveness skills and don’t stand up for myself when I overhear gossip about myself. In that case, I’m not being nice and avoiding someone else’s hurt feelings when I don’t speak up. I’m experiencing an emotion that is keeping me from being in my power and defending myself. This emotion is not rooting in the present moment. It is being pulled forward from past emotional experiences that need to be resolved and integrated

Here are some signs that you lack good boundaries,

1. difficult or dramatic relationships (codependent relationships)

2. decision making is a real challenge (lost sense of self)

3. hate letting people down (can’t say no/people pleaser)

4. two words: guilt and anxiety (ongoing guild and fear)

5. tired for no reason (mild depression)

6. your filter and radar is off when sharing (oversharing)

7. You are constantly the victim of situations (taken advantage of/overlooked/blamed)

8. You are a little annoyed most of the time (going against your values and desires non-stop)

9. You secretly feel that others don’t show you respect (people don’t know how to act around you—you haven’t set boundaries to let them know how)

10. You might just be passive-aggressive (saying no when you want to say yes, manipulating/punishing others for your choices)

11. You often wonder who you really are (basing your wants and needs on outside opinion)

12. Your secret fear is of being rejected or abandoned (a private belief that being boundary-less will lead to love) [3]

Remove the barriers to boundaries

It’s not enough to understand that boundaries define the necessary rules in our successful relationship. Just like in sports, boundaries let everyone know how the game is played. As mentioned before, not enforcing our own or recognizing other’s boundaries exposes a triggered emotion that is in the way.

Emotions are triggered when a high-stress event’s emotions aren’t processed completely. The traumatic event didn’t allow time or opportunity for the body to clean up any “in-flight” emotion. In the future, the memory of that event has an unintegrated emotion. It can flare up when our current environment offers even minimally matching sensory stimuli.

And there is no judgment here. Triggered emotions are just your body saying, “Hey, there is an un-integrated emotion here, seemingly related to what’s happening right now. Maybe you should take care of it?” It’s similar to a different circumstance when your body says, “Hey, there is a hole in your skin, and blood is oozing out. Maybe you should take care of it?”

Self-care is needed and necessary, whether it’s physical or emotional!

Emotional Resolution, EmRes, resolves un-integrated emotions. This is your tool for emotional self-care.

The current emotional event is the entry point and GPS to the emotional root that needs resolving. Knowing or understanding the whats, wheres or whens of the high-stress event that laid down the emotion is not needed or required. Resolving emotions with EmRes can happen in the moment of the emotion or later in a session with an EmRes Professional.

By integrating embedded emotional memory, the way is clear to express our own and respect other’s boundaries. Without the triggered emotion, you will detect when a boundary is crossed more clearly. And you will be able to defend your needs and core beliefs naturally and without emotional backlash.

Game Rules are Awesome

When you can set boundaries, you’re more self-aware and take better care of yourself. Because you learn how and when to say no, you’re a better communicator, are less stressed and angry and to things you actually want to do. can say no. And as a result, you become a more trusting and understanding person and are better friend and partner. [4]

“When you're compassionate toward yourself about what you can tolerate, you're better able to express that to other people who have their boundaries they want to follow.” [4]

Be the MVP in your life game. Set Boundaries in your relationships and respect the boundaries of others.

And if you find yourself out-of-bounds—Use EmRes to remove the emotional obstacles so that your tournament play stays in-bounds.

Will you be ready at game time?


1. How to set boundaries with toxic people, Sharon Martin,

2. Healthy vs. Unhealthy Boundaries, Elenor Beeslaar,

3. 12 Signs you lack health boundaries (and why you need them, Sheri Jacobson,

4. 10 great things that happen when you set boundaries, Lindsay Holmes,

About Sue

Sue Siebens is an intuitive holistic healer based in Dallas, Texas. In her practice, she uses techniques that work at a fundamentallevel, where the roots of the illness, fear, and pain can be accessed and resolved. Sue teaches and writes to raise awareness about these new technologies so that as many people as possible can find relief and peace in their life.

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