Violence Anonymous - Boundary Styles



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The following boundary styles are taken from Joan Casey’s Boundary Problems and Solutions

Problem Styles

He lets everyone know exactly where he stands and that he’s not moving. He is going to do things his way, even if it means doing it alone.
Buzz words: Too closed, inflexible, no spontaneity, unyielding, non-negotiable, unchangeable, stubborn, adamant, hard

She knows what she wants and feels but she doesn’t do anything about it in the moment. She doesn’t tell others or assert her limits in a way that will be listened to.
Buzz words: Too open, non-assertive, push-over, over-adapts, feels used and hurt, her gut says “no” while her mouth says “yes”, passive

He is emotionally or physically unavailable. Others might never know what he wants, who he is or, sometimes, even where he is.
Buzz words: Far, unreachable, disconnected, absent, non-communicative, loner, aloof, cold, removed

She takes on her partner’s likes and dislikes as her own so she only wants what he wants. She is who he is.
Buzz words: Over lapped, yes-man, no opinions of her own, loss of identity, too close, clone

She pushes everyone to go along with whatever she wants, regardless of his or her desires. She acts oblivious to others discomfort or resentment.
Buzz words: Sends out too much, pushy, forceful, bulldozer, invasive, bossy, interfering, interrupter

He has no time to realize what he really wants- he just is trying to make sure there is no conflict.
Buzz words: Takes in too much, tense, waits for cues, fearful, chameleon, vigilant, anticipates others desires

Solution Styles

You Set and maintain limits that are non-negotiable. You are clear with yourself about what you want and what is important to you. You maintain your stance even if others hassle or argue, and you follow through with your game plan. You know what is important to you and what you want. You stay solid in the face of conflict. Practice using a firm voice and body stance.

You know what you want and state it clearly. You are genuinely open to listen and get curious about how to work together. When you use Flexible you are happy and calm after the final agreement is made. Once you’ve decided to negotiate your initial plan, you really do let go and are happy with the outcome. You are open to all possibilities. You let go trying to control people. You compromise.

When you use Disengaged, you peacefully and consciously decide to break off your current connection, either for the moment or permanently. You are disconnecting from someone else and pulling your focus inward. You do not need to get the other person’s agreement or permission for you to use Disengaged. You learn to enjoy being with yourself. Practice initiating ends with meetings, phone calls and dates.

When you use the Engaged boundaries solution you are doing something to open the door to connection. You might be reaching out with friendliness or empathy. Or you might be responding by opening up and sharing. When you initiate you are being empathic, interested or friendly. You are vulnerable, open and sharing. You make eye contact and respond to others. You reach out to give or receive.

When you use the Assertive solution, you are making waves. You can be funny, loud, subtle, playful or abrupt. You take action, make noise and inspire others. You are a change maker and a leader. You take charge and express your point of view. You bring up something you want to do and present it in a way that influences them to join you on your quest. You stand out, speak up, and are seen. You learn to enjoy disagreements. You are willing to take a risk.

When you use Yielding, you are in the flow. You enjoy being part of the crowd and easily blend in. You have no agenda. You enjoy being in the moment. With Yielding you are receptive to what life has to offer and just ride the waves. You are open and curious and accepting. And you are a master at adapting as you weave your way in and out of an array of situations. You flow with what is happening. You follow other’s examples. You relax and enjoy.


© [ Joan Casey]
Reprinted with permission of the author. Approved for use in Violence Anonymous by the VA Fellowship-Wide Group Conscience [in future: Violence Anonymous World Services, Inc.]. VA’s use of this piece of writing does not imply VA’s endorsement of the author’s other works or activities.

Copyright © 2004 Violence Anonymous World Services, Inc. All rights reserved.