You crave connection but tend to avoid intimacy in close relationships, and have relatively few close relationships. You may seem detached, even with romantic partners, which can cause tension between you and your partner at times. However, you like to keep others at a distance to avoid the possibility of rejection and hurt, or of being suffocated and the loss of independence. You are unlikely to ask for help, and prefer to work things out on your own without the intrusion of others. You are very protective of personal information and pay close attention to your passwords and digital security. If you journal or keep a diary, there is a sturdy lock or access code to it.
When you think of this prevailing boundary type of Rigid 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, rigid 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 it holds you back in relationships, robs you of your potential, and leaves you feeling exhausted, humiliated and hurt.
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”