The Art of Boundary-making and Disengagement

One of the arts that is rarely spoken about, yet we bump up against it all the time, is boundary making and how to not get caught up in our own or other people’s negativity or chaos. Our bodies react in certain situations with clinched fists, heart palpitations, rigidity in the back, tight throat and other ailments that we don’t attribute to poor boundary setting, yet are absolutely a result. Things like ulcers, addictions and diabetes.

We can often hear ourselves say, “I thought I was pretty clear with him about not liking his behavior, but he did it anyway.” Or, “Why can’t I decide what to do with my life?” And we really are sincere about not understanding why these things keep coming up in our lives.

For a lot of us, our childhood training, either spoken or implied, told us that we didn’t have the right to set boundaries. Our bodies, our possessions, our very lives were not honored. This may have caused us to abandon ourselves. Our survival mode kicked in and we gave in to trespassers. This behavior became a habit and as adults we struggle to learn that boundaries are good for us, and that we have the right to create the boundaries we need to keep us safe and comfortable in our own skins.

Here at Joy-Based Living we learn the languages not only of the Healing Fields that Mario Martinez teaches, but we also learn to recognize the subtle and not so subtle Wounding Fields. When we practice Honor, Commitment and Loyalty to ourselves, we are setting boundaries, not only with others, but with ourselves. We may, at first, feel very uncomfortable setting these boundaries.

Some people may not like our new way of being because they haven’t learned the language of Honor, Commitment and Loyalty. Honoring our choices, committing to do something and practicing loyalty by following through — that is boundary setting. “We aren’t building walls, we are building fences,” as Debbie Happy Cohen said in her recent video on Boundaries (Practice #5 in the JBL Beginner’s Guide).

Yet without this understanding of the Healing Language, we feel as if we are building walls. We feel as if we have to protect ourselves. I ask, from what am I protecting myself or from whom do I feel I need protection? Often it goes back to past hurts and fears. When I can see that, then I can learn to set boundaries that are healthy for me.


There are many ways to deflect other’s actions in order not to be pulled into their drama or chaos, including not engaging. This is something I learned a long time ago. If I don’t engage, that means no commenting to the person directly or indirectly, then it’s like the person is speaking to a mirror instead of a sponge. Their words get sent back to them, rather than getting absorbed into me.

It is when I engage, meaning I have expectations of the other person that they may or may not be able or willing to fulfill, speak with judgement about them or a situation, that I leave myself open to hurt, chaos, etc. I become my own worst model at that point.

If my boundaries are clear, not just to the other person, but also to me, then I honor myself. I stand firm in that clarity. I can walk away knowing that I did the right thing, made the right boundary. I feel joyful and loving.

Not engaging doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means you are honoring yourself by not getting into the negative, chaotic rumbling in which some people like play. There may be a moment when you can take a deep breath before immediately commenting; you can show compassion without getting involved in their drama. There may be some wisdom you can impart that is helpful but not judgmental. Just the action of not engaging can be a great example to some who might not know that is an option.

When we SEE people, they give us subtle clues of what they need. The chaos may be the facade they need to keep you from really seeing them. They can’t bear to be seen. Their experience with being seen may have been painful. So they create chaos in order to not be in pain.

No matter what the reason someone has for their behavior, you are only accountable to you. Your boundaries are for you. They tell people what is acceptable to you and what isn’t.

The process of knowing yourself well enough to know what is acceptable is the work we do at JBL also. Each of us holds space and applauds when others reach new realizations and new areas of growth. We encourage each other to move through the uncomfortable situations, new boundaries, and soar in their new identities. It is magnificent to witness myself and others continuing to uncover joy and to live a joy-filled life. So satisfying…

About deJoly

Coaching people into having the joy-filled life they want is my passion.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Art of Boundary-making and Disengagement

  1. Reblogged this on Joy Based Living and commented:
    Got boundaries? If you need any help with them, check out this great article by deJoly!

  2. This is AWESOME! Please post at JBL Facebook!

  3. Pingback: The Art of Boundary-making and Disengagement – Joy Based Living

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s