When children are denied emotional boundaries they are vulnerable to being toxically shamed and deeply wounded. Regardless of what it is you value, whether it’s your innocence, dignity, self-worth, personal space, or even moments of joy and happiness, they can all be denied if your boundaries are crossed.
Take, for example, the child whose step dad likes to expose himself to her. She immediately tells her mother, who tells her to shut up about it. The biological mother is unwilling to take responsible actions to protect the child. Instead, the child is forced to tolerate the repulsive actions of the step dad’s exhibitionism in order to keep mama happy. But the child knows their actions are wrong. The unspoken message is, “We are depending on you to keep us safe from the law.” These flagrant violations will create an emotional burden by forcing the child to carry the secrets of someone else's criminal behavior.
The confusion that these boundary violations create begs the questions: “Just who is really responsible for whom?” or “Where do you end and where do I begin?” or “Do I ever get to matter?” These types of perpetrators have a fear of the law, so the child develops a false sense of guilt and fear of the law for no reason. It often lasts long after they are grown.
Think you’re not a surrogate anymore to someone else’s self-centered emotional theatre? Are you married to, or in a relationship with a practicing alcoholic, drug addict, or any form of behavioral addict? If you are, you may not be aware that the primary union is between the addict and his addiction. You are just trying to become relevant. Co-dependents seek the familiar until they heal from their emotional traumas and learn to set strong, healthy, flexible boundaries.
In order to develop and maintain emotional boundaries, a person must be willing to be completely honest with him or herself when it comes to personal feelings. When a person can say, “Yes, that’s correct, I have a choice today,” a successful healing process to repair emotional boundaries is underway. You can choose whether you wish to surrender your emotional well-being in order to be in a relationship with an emotional abuser or not. You get to determine, how do your relationships correspond with your emotional integrity?