The Need for Boundaries – “Do No Harm” Starts with Me

Licia Berry

Licia Berry

My experience with folks that don’t observe boundaries is that we need to let them know they have crossed them; otherwise they don’t get the opportunity to learn how they are being harmful.

I used to think that as a deeply spiritual person I needed to turn the other cheek…that I was reflecting the divinity in myself by allowing them to be hurtful, telling myself they were having a bad day, “beaming unconditional love at them”.  As I have grown spiritually, I am learning that allowing others to be hurtful violates the number one divine law that I learned, which is “Do No Harm”, and that allowing others to harm ME means I am violating that law.

I have also observed that giving someone feedback about how they have crossed a boundary gives them the opportunity to correct their behavior, and if they are truly wanting to heal themselves, and opportunity to go inward to see why they are driven to cross boundaries in the ways they do.  But it doesn’t happen unless I let them know they were hurtful to me.

I let some people in my life hurt me for a very long time because I was “too spiritual” to say anything about their trespasses.  I wasn’t creating any urgency for them to heal. I was actually contributing to their woundedness by not setting any limits.  In co-dependency terms, this is called “enabling”.  As I began to cherish my well being, and set limits when they crossed healthy boundaries, my life began to improve.

Join me for a discussion on Feminine/Masculine Leadership and “The Need for Boundaries” on Illumined Hearts Radio this Saturday at 1:00 Eastern.


Understanding Trauma

It has been about 16 years or so since I became committed to my healing journey.  I was not willing to do it just for me before that, it took getting pregnant, when I knew I had to do this for my unborn child.  I was not going to pass along my pain and shame to my child.  It has been quite the ride – like many of you know from experience but life keeps getting better, and I am getting better at handling life without it throwing me back, way back into some painful reaction to what is going on around me.

About a year ago or so I learned about Pia Mellody and her work.  I started asking around and found that many know of her and like what she has to say.  I have listened to some of her audio and plan to purchase some of her books.  What I have heard so far is excellent and a few light bulbs have gone off in my head. Pia also did a great job of defining all levels of abuse and codependency.

I am working on boundaries right now, really setting them for myself and the people around me.  About time, with a teenager in the house, I better have that one down.  I love the fact that I am always finding the next thing I need to learn or that I am ready for, when I am ready to hear it.  If have faith in this process now.  When the student is ready the teacher shows up. It is so true!

I am posting this information here if perhaps others would like to learn about Pia Mellody and how her work is helping people with the effects of childhood trauma, treatment and addictions.

Svava Brooks

Review of “Crazy Love” A Memoir

Crazy Love: A Memoir by Leslie Morgan Steiner

Leslie Morgan Steiner, a Harvard graduate with a coveted position at Seventeen magazine and a hip apartment in downtown New York City, seemed to have it all. She had already achieved sobriety, after determining she did not want to follow in her mother’s alcoholic lifestyle. Her father distanced himself from the family by immersing himself in his career. In her early twenties, Leslie had youth and independence to encourage romance. The handsome and charming Conor showed up at the right time.

Had Leslie been aware of the behaviors of a potentially abusive man, she might have realized that all that he said and did were manipulations based to suit his needs. He was in it for himself. But she fell in love. She wanted to “help him overcome the years of abuse and neglect and pain…And if I could make him whole, we’d be one person. He’d be mine forever.” The foundation for relationship was faulty; it would require insight and experience to recognize the potential for collapse.

The reader learns the signs of an abuser, at first subtle, such as snide remarks about friends, and then covert, such as demanding forfeiture of her career. Leslie cannot make a decision without mentally challenging herself first, asking, “What will Conor think?” or “How will Conor react?” The problem is, he is so unpredictable, she can never anticipate his reaction.

Woven throughout this story is a dog that Conor insisted on having, yet Leslie was reluctant to acquire. Leslie nonetheless became attached to the dog. It was interesting to read the details of the dog’s behavior during the dynamics of the relationship.

The reader learns of unexpected betrayals during Leslie’s most difficult times, as well as a surprise redemption. Also, the reader learns how hard it is to live with abuse, to survive the physical and emotional wounds, to leave, to get restraining orders, make impossible choices, to move out, to move on. This book was well-written, incorporating information, insight, and depth of characters. We ask, “Why didn’t she leave?” and Leslie Morgan Steiner tells us. We might ask, “Why didn’t he stop?” Too often, he can’t.

This book reads like a psychological thriller, yet it is true life, and is only one of thousands of stories like it. Read it to know that someone you know may be at risk.

Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story