ACoAS & WEAK Boundaries (Part 2)

rigid Bs 

so I don’t upset other people

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & WEAK Bs (Part 1)



They represent not having the right to our needs, often expressed as a general passivity in life – letting people & circumstances push us around.
BTW, you may notice that some of these expressions of weak Bs are the same or similar to those of rigid Bs. This is only natural since the underlying causes all come from our unhealthy upbringing.

SEXUALB invasion
We have weak Bs if we:
• can’r distinguish between love and sex
• have sex when we don’t want to
• feel a need to always be in a sexual relationship
• attach our self-esteem to being sexually attractive
• let others touch us, even when it’s uncomfortable or inappropriate
• “fall in love” at first sight  – just because someone seems interested or reaches out to us

We have weak Bs if we:
• are indecisive. & therefore unpredictable, undependable
• set no specific limits on our willingness to help others
• sacrifice our own goals, projects & self-care to help others – from FoA
• don’t protect our need for privacy, letting our physical space be invaded, such as letting people — stand or sit too close
— take and/or use something of ours without asking
— snoop around in our things…… without doing something about it
• allow others to take as much as they want from us (time, $$, energy….)
have to do something a certain way or modify our behavior so that someone else can continue their unproductive or unsafe behavior – as an enabler of any kind of bad or self-destructive behavior
• let others determine our wants, needs & tastes, sacrificing them to the desire of others
no choiceWE:
• give too much, either by being controlling (B invading) OR overly responsible (having to do everything ourselves)
overcompensate for when we think we’ve messed up in word or action
• measure another person’s caring by material gifts – how much, what kind
• accept unwanted gifts to not hurt feelings or make others angry

We have weak Bs if we:
• let other’s influence / effect our behavior, unclear about our own preferences
• always verbally agree with others, even when we actually don’t
• are afraid to ask for help, so have to constantly manipulate others to get what we want (indirectly)
• personalize everything, over-reacting to feelings or behavior of others (assume other’s reactions are all about us)
• feel like we’re covering something up or keeping a secret, such as battered wives hiding injuries, kids covering up parental addictions, emotional torture, mental illness….
• get too close too fast, share too much personal info (especially our faults) before establishing mutual trust
• ignore our inner voice & rely on others’ opinions, values & emotions
• allow the expectations of others to define our potential
• compromise values & beliefs to please others or to avoid conflict

We have weak Bs if we:
• are dependent for our identity & emotional well-being on what others think of us, so have become chameleons OR isolates
• symbiotically attach ourselves to someone, something – anything!
• need constant reassurance from others that we’re acceptable
• feel everything ‘too much’m not able to contain or soothe emotions
• are not cblend or leaveomfortable being alone – at least some of the time
• people-please – say yes when we want to say no, & then act out later, either on ourselves (S-H) or at others (passive-aggression)
• are constantly preoccupied with & overwhelmed by others’ emotions, needs & problems (take on as if our own), feeling responsible for their happiness & fulfillment
• ignore our own discomfort, anger, anxiety or fear so someone else can be happy & comfortable
• feel & act like victims, have no balance of power or responsibility in relationships
• have a high tolerance for abuse, for being treated with disrespect
• can’t say no, even when wanting to, for fear of rejection (abandonment)

NEXT: RIGID Boundaries – #1

ACoAs & WEAK Boundaries (Part 1)

so they won’t get mad, or worse – leave me!

PREVIOUS: ‘Rigid Boundaries’

REVIEW:Safe & Unsafe People
and  ACoA Rules – Healthy (Part 1-3)



People who were brought up in a relatively healthy home have what’s called a ‘cohesive or integrated self’, based on consistent, good-enough parenting. They got enough of their needs met early on, which gave them a strong psychological foundation in the form of the internalized Good Introject.
Thrivers have good personal boundaries (Bs) that are self-protective but still allow them to be sensitive to the needs of others, making them open to giving & receiving nurture in relationships.
(MORE: read excerpts from: “The Reciprocating Self…healthy Bs

Healthy Bs  can be illustrated as a circle of our personal space – that has gaps, so we’re not walled in – but with a door at each opening, which WE are in control of.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 2.27.06 AMWeak Bs (blue) have those same gaps in our personal space BUT without any doors, so the openings indiscriminately let in useful, neutral or damaging experiences.
EXP: We’re available to absorb the negative, poisonous energy of constant complainers & blames. ALSO – it makes it easy for others to get under our skin or stomp on us!

In contrast to Thrivers, no matter how we were wounded – ACoAs ended up with either :
i. a ‘vulnerable self’ & weak boundaries.  These are easily hurt by people, places & things (PPT), as well as noticeably needy, actively looking to be taken care of by others because of poisonous internal resources (Toxic Introject).  The most wounded ACoAs have:

ii. a ‘fractured self
, subjected to such severely bad parenting that they have almost no internal resources (no strength, resilience, esteem, empowerment, hope…), who are truly fragile, with no Bs, & so desperate that they cling, whine, complain, ‘suffer’… OR come across as demanding, controlling & rageful, cruel….

enmeshed• Since boundaries are not inborn, the way we were raised determines the state of our self-protective mechanism as adults. Weak Bs, also called diffuse, are a common result of a damaged childhood – when parents treated us as property, or an extension of themselves, or annoying pest to be swatted away.

They were over-controlling, sexually abusive, neglectful or attacking, using us as a substitute spouse or substitute parent (role reversal)…, while they disowned or tried to crush the Real us!
Whether totally oblivious, OR too involved in our lives in wrong ways, never leaving us alone — it was extremely hard for us to define who we are.

• This family symbiosis shows up as: members who ‘understand’, accommodate & over-tolerate bad behavior (spouse – of the drinker / rager…  children – of sick, abusive parents….), making them increasingly dependent on each other at the expense of outside relationships.

In some cases the understanding becomes a twisted form of empathy, so that members ‘feel’ each others’ thoughts & emotions, wishes & needs – especially their suffering.  This kind of empathy is unhealthy, preventing the children from having their own separate thoughts & emotions, AND from getting the comfort, understanding & help they need to develop normally. It stifles personal growth & independence, insuring that outsiders are excluded from having meaningful relationships with anyone within the family.

• Remember the Co-dependent triangle? When we’re in our Victim Role we have weak Bs, so co-dep trinaglewhen anyone disrespects an important boundary of ours we feel discounted, hurt, oppressed, ignored, abused, or taken advantage of.
The Victim’s slogan is “poor me!”, yet we perpetuate it by staying with emotionally unavailable Persecutors & Rescuers, trying to get the love & attention we desperately need but don’t feel we deserve. At the same time we may also turn into Perpetrators by imposing ourselves on others! & then rage when we become too frustrated with anyone who’s not capable of satisfying our demands.

NEXT: Weak Bs (Part 2) – Characteristics