You are on the opposite end of the spectrum from rigid boundaries, as the name implies, you really have no boundaries, and this is likely harmful to you. You have no filter of what comes in and what goes out. You can offer too much personal information about yourself; which can lead to others taking advantage of you. You often lack the capacity to say no altogether. This can be a dangerous combination. You often find yourself overwhelmed by the emotional load, the physical work, and the mental aggravation dumped on you. You are the rescuer for everyone; you are a door mat. You may be enduring abuse of various kinds, and eventually may turn to an addiction to help you cope. You have little time for yourself or self-care. You really need to look into setting some boundaries!
When you think of this prevailing boundary type of Nonexistent Boundaries, ask yourself in what areas of your life it is most true. People actually have a mix of different boundary types. For example, someone could have healthy boundaries at work, porous boundaries in romantic relationships, and a mix of all four types with their family.
The appropriateness of boundaries depends heavily on setting. What’s appropriate to say when you’re out with friends might not be appropriate when you’re at work.
What are the Four Boundary Types?
Personal boundaries are the limits and rules we set for ourselves within relationships.
A person with Healthy Boundaries can say “no” to others when they want to, but they are also comfortable opening themselves up to intimacy and close relationships.
A person who always keeps others at a distance (whether emotionally, physically, or otherwise) is said to have Rigid Boundaries. Rigid Boundaries represent a protection from vulnerability, where hurt, loss and rejection can occur and be especially painful.
Someone who tends to get too involved with others has Porous Boundaries. When boundaries are Porous, you may easily take on the emotions and needs of others, and you may experience difficulty identifying your own emotions and needs.
Nonexistent Boundaries mean, of course, that you have no protection at all. The walls have crumbled, and the doors are broken down. Raiding parties come and go at all hours of the day and night. Nonexistent Boundaries are marked by excesses.
What is important about knowing your Prevailing Boundary Type is being able to specifically address where they may hold you back in your relationships and in your potential.
For more information about assessing your personal boundaries and learning skills to set and enforce them, read these posts:
Boundaries: The Inside Story
Standing Up for Yourself: The Right Way to Be Assertive
Download The Practical Guru’s FREE 30-page mini course in boundaries:
“A Guide for Setting and Enforcing Healthy Boundaries”