Saturday, October 2, 2021

Boundaries in Relationships


Which boundaries do we need to set and communicate in our relationships?

~~ Watch the Video ~~


  • Matthew 10:16

  • James 1:5

  • Proverbs 12:15

  • Galatians 1:10

  • Proverbs 14:10

  • 2 Corinthians 9:7

  • 2 Corinthians 6:14

Matthew 10:16

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as wary* as serpents, and as innocent as doves.

phronimos: practically wise, sensible



– properly, "how we size things up," reflecting our personal ("visceral") opinions, i.e. what we consider "savvy" (smart). This always roots to our personal perspective ("inner outlook") which regulates our definition of being "shrewd," i.e. reflects personal mind-set 

-- Helps Word Study

The verse alluding to having an inward perspective that allows us to navigate amongst the unholy without being taken advantage of

“ trust everybody but cut the cards“

  • I’m going to assume the best of you, but I’m going to play by the rules

Boundaries are one of the most effective tools to achieving this goal

  • The armor of God is another

  • Following the Holy Spirit

The impact of poor boundaries

What does it look like when you don't have boundaries in a relationship?

  • You feel unsafe and disempowered

  • You feel hyper vigilant and anxious

  • You "walk on eggshells" to avoid upsetting the other person

  • You may have a hard time identifying what we feel

  • You stop trying to think for yourself

  • You feel hopelessness and depression

  • The other person is in your business and in our physical belongings

If you haven’t communicated your thoughts, wants and needs people won’t take them into consideration

  • You’ll find people are not paying attention to you

  • People will ignore your thoughts wants and needs

We become chameleons

Overaggressive Boundaries 

On the other hand, if you have overaggressive boundaries you invade the boundaries of others and make them feel bullied

  • Example: “I don’t do dishes”


  • In the last lesson we talked in generalities

  • Today we get real real


  • Introduction

  • Traits of Wholeness

  • Boundaries Review

  • Class Boundaries (Example)

  • Why is it hard to set boundaries?

  • Boundaries to Set in Relationships

Traits of Wholeness

We are in our series called Seeking Wholeness

How can we be  _______ healthy

  • spiritually

  • emotionally

  • mentally

Dealing with life’s current stresses and also being healed from experiences/wounds of the past 

We’re not just supposed to have eternal life

  • We’re supposed to have: joy, peace, patience, and self control here on earth

Traits of Wholeness

  1. Authenticity 

  2. Honesty

  3. Kindness

  4. Not seeking external approval / validation 

  5. Living by values and principles 

  6. Setting Boundaries

  7. Taking ownership of your responsibilities

  8. Living with purpose and passion

  9. Optimism 

  10. Confidence

  11. Healthy relationships with others

  12. Not losing control of your emotions

  13. Free from addictions

  14. Addressing Conflict

  15. Vulnerability 

  16. Not critical or Judgmental 

  17. Not jealous

    1. Genuinely applaud the success of others

  18. Forgive those who have wronged you in the past

  19. Know that you’re worthy of receiving love

  20. Not afraid to fail

  21. Able to manage irrational fear, worry, and anxiety 

  22. Selfless encounters with others

  23. Not manipulating others trying to control their actions/reactions

  24. You care about how others feel

  25. Patient

  26. Don’t give into peer/social pressure

  27. Can communicate directly

  28. Don’t take responsibility for other people's emotions

    1. Take responsibility for your own emotions

  29. Being led by the Spirit

Keep an ear out in this lesson for anything we should add to the list

Boundaries Review

What is a Boundary?

A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances. Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions. Emotional boundaries help us deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others. Spiritual boundaries help us distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator.

-- Boundaries - Cloud & Townsend 

A boundary is:

  • a guideline 

  • a rule 

  • a limit

It states… This is what I am OK with and this is what I am not OK with


When we practice boundaries, we take ownership of:

  1. Our thoughts

  2. Our feelings

  3. Our bodies

  4. Our decisions

Boundaries help us determine

  • What I am responsible for, and what I am not responsible for in relationships

We are not responsible for the other person’s wants.

  • We are responsible for our own limits.

Boundaries have consequences 

Goals of Boundaries

The goal of boundary setting isn’t about getting the other person to be's about getting you to be different

  • It’s not a manipulation tactic

Boundaries provide protection so that we can be vulnerable

  • They allow you to let your guard down


Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the behavior or perception of others through indirect, deceptive, or underhanded tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at another's expense, such methods could be considered exploitative and devious.

  • Manipulation is indirectly trying to change someone’s behavior

Hard vs Soft Boundaries

Boundaries can be hard and they can be soft

You are willing to compromise on soft boundaries but not hard ones


  • Jesus healed the Canaanite woman’s daughter 

  • Jesus made wine before His time

Jesus Had Boundaries

What were some examples where Jesus showed that He had boundaries?

  • Jesus drove out the money changers from the temple - Matthew 21:12-13

  • He often went away to pray - Luke 5:15-16

  • He only healed one person at the pool of Bethesda - John 5:1-15

How to Set Boundaries

Self Assessment

  • Am I aware when I am being controlled by others?

  • Am I aware when I am being violated?

  • Am I aware of my early warning signals?

Assess The Situation

  • How are you feeling about the situation and why?

  • What do you wish could be different?

  • Am I being selfish?

Pray About It

James 1:5

If anyone lacks wisdom ask God and it will be given to you

Establish what you want

You can’t set boundaries until you are clear on your desires

Define Your Boundaries

Remember, you’re responsible for your thoughts, feelings, body and decisions, but no one else’s.

Establish Consequences

Consequences should be chosen prayerfully—and ahead of time, so that you’re not making a decision in the heat of the moment.

Communicate Your Boundaries

  • Be direct and clear

  • Express it with logic rather than emotion

  • Boundaries should use “I statements“

  • Don’t say: “you always…”, “you never…”

You’re not expressing a judgment of the other person 

Example:  “when you yell at me it makes me shut down”

You don’t just dump all of your boundaries on someone you give them over time

Anticipate Resistance

This may cause

  • The other person to drawback

  • Tension

  • Conflict

This doesn’t mean that you were wrong to set the boundary

Seek Counsel

Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,

But a person who listens to advice is wise.

Get support

Obedience to God is the Ultimate Boundary

Galatians 1:10

For am I now seeking the favor of people, or of God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

If God gives direction or instruction about something that is your boundary

Class Boundaries (Example)

You can disagree with what I say

State your case, and I will decide when it’s time to move on

  • You can’t expect to continue talking about it until you change my mind or get agreement from the class

  • You might be right, but we’re moving on...


  • Muted

  • Asked not to come back

Why is it hard to set boundaries?

Why is it hard for some people to set boundaries?

  • Fear of rejection

  • Need for approval

    • In order to feel OK they need others to approve of them 

  • Internalized messages that your thoughts wants and needs are not important or not OK

  • Prior bad experiences trying to be assertive

    • They tried to be assertive and it backfired on them

      • Maybe they got written up at work

      • Someone broke up with them

  • Cultural differences

  • Low self-esteem

You’ll only set boundaries if you value yourself

Boundaries to Set in Relationships

Setting boundaries in relationships about

  • What type of treatment you are willing to except or not except

You will have different boundaries for different relationships

Traits of a Healthy/Unhealthy Relationship

  • Trust

    • Suspicion

    • Jealousy

  • Honesty

    • Game-playing or manipulation

      • Be honest about what you want or what you need

  • Self-esteem / security

    • Needing partner to provide validation

  • Respecting differences in your partner

    • Trying to change the other person

  • Willingness to help without needing to rescue or make yourself indispensable

    • Feeling like you have to constantly “rescue“ people close to you

  • Assertively communicating your needs and standing your ground

    • Feeling like people take advantage of you

  • Independence

    • Dependence

  • Taking personal responsibility

    • Blaming others

  • Paying Attention

    • Apathy - disengaged

  • Balance and reciprocity

    • Demanding or giving all the time


Proverbs 14:10

The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy.

You Own Your Feelings 

Feelings are your responsibility and you must own them and see them as your problem.    

don’t take responsibility for feelings of other

  • Don’t expect other to take responsibility for your feelings

Example: you had a bad day

  • People can act upset to manipulate you

Don’t tell others how they felt or didn’t feel or shouldn’t feel

“ you shouldn’t be mad“

Story: I used to take responsibility for their feelings

  • Manipulated

  • Women cry to manipulate 


Negative People

There are some people that when you interact with them, you leave worse than when you came

Some people only want to talk about negative 

  • Their issues

  • Their drama


  • Trump / Biden

  • Politics

  • Conspiracy Theories 

You may be right, and it may be true, but there are other things to talk about

We all have times when we’re going through something, but if all you’ve been able to talk about is you going through something for the past three years…

Example:  woman with abusive husband

Jealous of happiness

Some don’t want other people to be happy when they are not

Do you get mad when your mate is having fun with their friends?

  • but you aren’t doing anything

  • Or you had a rough day

Don’t make offers that you hope will be declined

2 Corinthians 9:7

7 Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

We offer to do something, but secretly hope the person will say no. 

  • We want to come across as a good generous loving person by offering.

Am I trying to look like a good person by making it seem like I want to do things that I don’t want to do?

If they say yes you will feel… Bitter, angry, resentful

We then secretly blame the other person for making us do something we didn’t want to do

Example: some people will try to shame you into offering 

  • “I guess I’ll just wash my car by myself this weekend even though I’m tired and you’re better at it”

  • Manipulation 

Get Comfortable Not Offering

Sometimes people outwardly comply but inwardly resent

You have to allow yourself to be OK with not offering

  • Be authentic 

But Don’t Shirk Your Responsibility 

This doesn’t include things that are your responsibility

  • Don’t be the one taking advantage of someone else

Sometimes we feel guilty because we really should be doing it

Example:  paying the bill for a meal

  • You get mad when you offer to pay for the meal and they say OK

Threatening To Break Up

Has anyone ever threatened to break up with someone to see if they will fight to keep you?

Some people threaten their significant other with break up to see if they will fight for the relationship

  • That’s manipulation

Example: I lost my job

Disengage and cool down before you respond

It keeps us from saying or doing something that we regret

No one said you have to deal with something the exact moment that it is happening

I'm getting really irritated right now so I need to take a step back or this isn’t going to be helpful“

Non-Christian Relationships

2 Corinthians 6:14

Do not be mismatched with unbelievers; for what do righteousness and lawlessness share together, or what does light have in common with darkness?

Romantic, friendship, family

There are two groups of people

  1. Those in the world

  2. Those in the church

“The world” means Godlessness

Wood Dulls Iron


  • You should know how you feel about something

  • You should know how you feel in general

Two people in a relationship should have two different emotional experiences

dismissing, rejecting, or assuming you know someone else’s emotions

  • “You weren’t sad”

  • “You shouldn’t be mad about it”

Not accepting that someone else can feel an emotion different than what we feel

Healthy vs Unhealthy


  • Responsible for your own happiness

    • Feelings are a natural chemical-based Response is based on prior learning

  • Emotional awareness and intelligence

    • “I am feeling anxious because of… And these are my options of how to deal with it“

  • Self and other compassion


  • Always placing your partner's happiness above your own

  • Believing your feelings are wrong

  • Believing your partner must feel the way you do

If you aren’t in touch with what makes you happy and what makes you sad then you won’t know where to set boundaries


You can empathize with someone else who doesn’t feel the same way, but it doesn’t have to change your feelings

Social awareness is the ability to pick up on what others feel, think and their opinion even if you don’t feel the same

Example: Politics

  • “I don’t see how he can believe that”

  • Me: “what do you mean you can’t see why he would believe it?“

Requiring Justification 

  • Being made to feel that you have to justify

  • Being made to feel that you have to present the evidence for the way you feel

Emotional dumping

  • Some people don’t respect the emotional boundaries of others

Being expected to be on call emotionally for someone

You can’t expect someone to always be emotionally ready for you to dump on them

You might trigger some memory of theirs

Example: you are complaining about the fact that your mother always wants to come over to someone whose mother just died

it is a boundary violation if someone dumps all of the problems on you and they don’t know you

Reciprocal self disclosure

  • Don’t share too much too soon

Example: Narcissist try to get personal information about you early to use in manipulating you later

  • Shaming you to keep you insecure

  • Smearing your reputation after a breakup so they look like the victim

  • Blame passing

    • “You’re just suspicious of me because that guy cheated on you with your sister”

  • Play on your insecurities


Lending out your possessions and items to someone else

It is OK to have a say in which of your possessions are available to someone else 

It is also OK to have a say in how those items are returned

Food Example

Food at restaurant?

Story: asked for the last bite of my pizza

  • Test

Story: Roommates food


Lack of privacy or secrecy

My stuff

  • Diary

  • Computer

  • Phone

  • Social media accounts

  • Email

  • Locked drawers/safes

  • Bank account

If you are insisting that your partner is not allowed to have privacy… What is that behavior communicating?  

  • What does that communicate about your relationship?

  • What does that communicate about you?

Cell Phone Password

Should you be able to demand your significant other’s cell phone password?

Example: restoring trust

  • You can’t bring boundaries that were appropriate for one relationship into another

  • If you need unreasonable access to feel safe then you have a problem

Story: even worse my kids figure it out

  • Concerned about some of the messages to mom

Restoring Trust

Story: movie - gave wife cell phone

  • Next day she heard a phone ringing

Some people have a secret

  • Phones

  • Social media account

  • Bank account

Where is this lack of trust or fear of abandonment coming from?

A breach of trust

  • Infidelity

  • Excessive use of pornography

  • Addiction

What you are OK with other people looking at, touching, messing with and what you are not

Married vs not married


I shouldn’t hold you hostage for the wrong things that other people did to me

  • Emotional Baggage

Michael Leadon


Boundaries and relationship

AIICEU counseling education

Seven boundaries you need to set in your life

Julia Christina counseling


Cloud and Townsend

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