How ACoAs Boundary Invade


whether you like it or not!

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Boundaries – #4


• It’s only natural that IF our parents —-> invaded us, then we never learned good Bs, so we in turn —> boundary invade others.
We unconsciously assume that this is a form of expressing love & don’t see anything wrong with it. In fact, to many ACoAs it’s not boundary invasion but ‘connection’.  The deep-seated reasons for continuing this pattern are familiar: to follow our family training, stave off our fear of abandonment, deal with loneliness, to feel needed & desired, to have a sense of purpose (for Rescuers)….

• SO – when we’re told to back off (even in a nice way) or anytime someone won’t let us be symbiotic – we feel hurt, ashamed & ostracized!  It doesn’t matter that we may feel uncomfortable, even angry, when others violate our Bs.  As long as the WIC is running our lives, we still want to have that familiar kind of attachment to others – even when we don’t actually like someone!

• It’s true that some ACoAs, particularly Introverts, find it hard to be in large groups – like shopping, special events or the subway – they cannot handle being ‘space invaded’, altho extroverts are much less bothered, if at all. However, all humans & even many animals become physically & psychologically stressed when personal Bs are violated, whether they’re aware of it or not – especially over long periods of time.

In his work on Personal Space, Robert Sommer says “The violation of personal space increases tension levels enormously.” He conducted experiments in public places by getting much too close to strangers & observed that it provoked tension-releasing responses – they began tapping their toes, pulling at their hair, getting completely rigid.

• In general, people either shut down (to be polite) or get aggressive (react angrily) when someone is invasive. For those of us with WEAK Bs this is important to notice when we insist on being the perpetrator, whether intentionally or not. We may not like to see ourselves in that light, but we need to admit the truth about the way we act out our damage. It’s also important to have as much info as possible to help us change ingrained patterns (to counter the voice of the Bad Introject), since it’s so hard to convince the WIC that what he/she feels most comfortable doing is actually not a good thing for ourselves or for others.

☛ Space Invaders don’t have an ‘end’ to their sense of self – everyone is assumed to be in the realm of their personal space:
• some are controlling – like to tell others what to do, say & feel
• some are hyper-responsible – carry the weight of world on their shoulders.  No one is as competent as them, so they have to take charge – they’re just trying to get the job done
• some are insensitive, self-absorbed, unaware — like the main character in the movie “What about Bob?”
• most have such great FoA so great that  – if we give the other person breathing space, it feels like we are going to die

EXPL: A attractive, intelligent but terribly insecure 23-year-old has finally found a charming, handsome boyfriend with a good job & a great motorcycle. She can’t believe her luck! Because FoAhe lives in another city she doesn’t get to see him very often, so every minute with him is precious. She’s waited her whole life for someone to love her & now she’s ecstatic to spend an occasional weekend in his big apartment.

• On her first visit, that Saturday morning is wonderful – making love, snuggling, listening to the birds chirping & the Country Music station playing.  Desperate to not lose that warm feeling, she follows him into the bathroom, & as he’s sitting on the john she perches on the edge of the tub to talk to him, their knees touching.  It doesn’t take long for him feel uncomfortable being watched, & shoos her out. Over the next few months they go on fun road trips, go dancing & have great sex. But her insecurity, clinging & boundary invasions overshadows all the good times & eventually he has enough. She’s devastated but doesn’t understand what really happened!

These are a few of the ways we cross boundaries (add your own):
These are a few of the ways we cross boundaries (add your own):
• stand too close to others                • use physical intimidation
• talk loudly on cell phones, in movies…. talk over others
• don’t allow others their privacy    • touch others without asking
• barge into a room without knocking, like bathrooms, bedrooms…
• look thru others’ documents, rooms, drawers, medicine chest….
• use sex to manipulate emotionally, as a reward or punishment
• force sex on someone who does not want it, with or without physical / emotional abuse during sex

• say whatever we want, whenever – with no regard to place, time or others’ feelings
• take too much – by being passive and dependent
• tell secrets we promised to keep (triangulating)
• use verbal abuse & psychological intimidation, make threats
• try to define limits for others (what they can or can’t do)

• butt in on others’ emotions, pressing them for info, insisting they tell us how they feel, try to fix their pain
• assume others know what we are feeling & expect them to meet our needs automatically.  When they won’t or can’t – we experience depression & endless resentment (obsessional anger)
• are unable or unwilling to respect the rights of others – to have different needs or opinions from our own
• insist we know what others need – constantly giving advice & expecting others to follow it

It’s important to ask permission to enter someone’s personal space, whether mental, physical, personal spaceemotional or spiritual.  We can picture everyone as having a fence around them & learn to knock at the gate before barging in. If they say NO, walk away! If our Inner Child feels rejected we can give ourselves comfort for being sad & scared, and explain to the WIC that everyone has the right to their privacy – including us!

NEXT: Boundary Distortions – #1


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