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Sometimes setting boundaries in your relationship can have a positive impact.

But most times, boundaries build a wall between you and your partner that sabotages your relationship further.

In today’s episode, I’m talking about the dark side of boundaries and what you can do instead to build a stronger, more loving relationship.

Here Are The Show Highlights:

  • The beggar’s secret for mastering relationships (3:05)
  • How to bust the chains of the mental prison you’ve subconsciously trapped yourself in (5:40)
  • Here’s why setting boundaries usually backfires and what to do instead (10:35)
  • Need to set boundaries? Here’s how to do it without your relationship crumbling apart (13:11)
  • Why you need to be selfish if you want to save your relationship (17:50)
  • Think you need to set boundaries in your relationship? Listen to this first… (19:07)
  • Half the trick to unlocking the full power and beauty of your relationship (19:23)

If you or somebody you know is looking to drop the ‘F’ Bomb of freedom in your life and break free from addiction, depression, anxiety or anything that’s making you feel flat-out stuck, head over to www.liberateaman.com and book a call where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you’ve been missing.

Read Full Transcript

It's time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F-word here: Freedom. We'll share, straight from the trenches, what we have learned from leaving our own addictions behind, and coaching hundreds of others to do the same—and since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it. [00:27.9]

Bob: Many moons ago in long yonder land of India where King had lots of subjects who hated guts. Long time ago, there's a King in India, his name, I don't recall from the legend, but he was a King. He taxed the people poorly. He was afraid of them and paranoid of them because he knew that they didn't like him as a King and so when he had to leave the castle, what he did was he had to go with an entourage of guards. Now he was paranoid enough that he went with an entourage of something around the likes of a like a hundred guards. I mean, he really surrounded himself with a huge entourage to the point where basically we would need to put a little wide load coming through, sign on the back. Ah, it wouldn't work anyway. So, he had a huge entourage also. [01:23.0]

Also, his castle was built in such a way to make sure nobody could enter. So it was, castle had a huge wall around it. He didn't want to have to guard too many entrances and give too many people the opportunity to come in and and slit his throat and whatever and take his kingdom. And so, he only made there would be one entrance. So, if you can imagine this castle or this palace where there's a wall and there's only one entrance inside, he made the wall, the windows small enough that it would be really hard for a person to get through. And then he put bars on all the windows to make sure that nobody could get through. So safe in his little palace, he had a limited serving staff to make sure that there weren't, he didn't want to trust too many people. And then at the front of his palace, he had this contingent of a hundred guards there. So, he would go out from time to time to the countryside collecting taxes, doing whatever else, you know. And as he was passing by one day, he was going down the road and there was a beggar on the side of the road, some old beggar, right? And he was, the King passed and the beggar was pointing and laughing. [02:24.5]

And this nettled the King, he'd seen it happen a couple of different times. And finally, one day he stopped and he went and grabbed the beggar and he got and he said, “Why aren't you laughing at me? What is it that I did that your laughing at me? I am the King. You deserve respect to the King” and the beggar, you know, “Oh, sorry, I, I didn't know. I mean I wasn't laughing at you. I was laughing at the situation that’s all.” And the King, “Situation! What situation?” And of course, the interrogation begins. The king is asking the beggar why he is laughing so hard, he knows the beggar was laughing at him. The beggar was being sly. Now a beggar knows human nature really, really well. I mean, think about it. He sits on the side of the road and he has the most clients of anybody, you know, he just sticks out his cup and he watches people. [03:16.8]

He knows people who say no, he knows people who says yes, he can size them up at a distance. He knows if it's worth it, even stick his cup out, which are the ones that are going to be so angry that they're going to whack him one. And so this beggar has been sitting there a long time and he's an old beggar, an old beggar. And so, the King is looking at it and he says, “Well, so what's so funny?” And the beggar says, “Well, it's easy. You are so afraid of people getting to you, but you don't realize that you're in danger at every moment.” The King is looking at him going, “Oh, how am I in danger at every moment? I have all these guards with me, my castle is built in these ways.” The beggar, just you know, waves his hand in the air. [03:53.6]

“Yes, yes, I know, but which, do you know that all of these guards are trustworthy? If one of them just one decided to take your life, could you stop it?” And this bothered the King. He couldn't sleep that night wondering, “Oh no, I don't even know if I'm trusting. I don't know if they're lying to me or anything else.” But he doesn't know how to solve the problem cause he's already done everything he knows how to do. So eventually he decides to hire the beggar as a consultant, meaning go and ask him his advice. He's not actually going to pay him. And so, he had, he checks the beggar, hires him as a consultant and he says to him, “What would you recommend I do?” And the beggar says, “This one thing, you go in, to your palace and you wall up that last entrance. [04:46.8]

Then the guards are on the outside, you're on the inside. None of them can get you.” The King looks at this for a second, he's like, “That's, that's genius.” He's super excited because the solution to the problem was much simpler than he expected. He was on his way going back and like he had just turned, he's got on the road, got on the road, he's on his way. Going back to the castle when he suddenly realized the huge flaw in the plan, “But beggar, he calls out, what if I want to come out of the castle? Won't I be caught inside like a prisoner?” And the beggar looks at him and he says, “You already are a prisoner. This way you will stay inside and the rest of us won't have to deal with you.” Too many times in life we are so afraid of other people getting close to us, robbing us, blind, hurting us in one way, shape or form. And some of these are legitimate concerns. [05:39.0]

So, I'm not saying that's bad, but too many times we're so worried about letting other people in that we build walls that effectively put us into a prison in our own life. The question that sparks, this is a question that's inside of the relationship space and a lot of, there's a lot of talk out there by a lot of coaches, psychologists by counselors and everyone else that talks about putting boundaries in place so that the relationship can be a safe place. I want you to look at what the word boundary is. The word boundary comes from the word bound. When you have a boundary, you are bound by it. Think of it like having a fence around your yard. You know Tim, the tool man, Taylor had a fence in the backyard and he and Mr. Wilson, was it Mr. Wilson? [06:21.9]

Maybe that's Dennis the menace. Either way, Watson, whatever was talking to each other across the fence and you could only ever see like the top of his head. It was a nice cool gimmick that the show did, but that was how they communicated, that was as close as they could get to each other. They could get pretty close, but the boundary was in place that prevented them from getting like really, really close. Right? And the same thing in a relationship, when you have a boundary, there's a certain piece that's bound. Now is this a smart thing to do? If the relationship is abusive physically, there's probably some other things you should do first, including called the police. If it's not abusive physically, but maybe it's emotionally straining or it feels unsafe emotionally, then boundaries can be a really powerful thing. It's a way for you as a person to step up and say, this is what I'm going to tolerate this. [07:09.2]

I'm not gonna tolerate this anymore. So, it's a way for you to claim your own power and your own ability to determine how your life is going to go and what choices you're going to make. So you say, look, if you do this, and we see this a lot with our clients where the wife is like so upset and she set a boundary. Like, “If you ever lie to me, then you're sleeping on the couch” or “If I catch you looking at porn again, then you're going to have to go and get a hotel room.” Or if you're on the computer at a certain time and there is, there's curfews, there's limitations on computers, there's filters, there's the ways that they talk to each other or there's what kind of intimacy is allowed. There's all kinds of different boundaries that people have put in place. [07:49.1]

And what this does is it takes a relationship from totally broken and totally wrecked to a place of if it's done well, some kind of mutual respect, meaning, okay, cool. This is where I live, this is where you live. When I was younger, I had to share a room with my sisters. We had this big room when we were living in Germany. And so, in order to to make sure that the boundaries were in place, we put this big set of shanks which are armoires, in between it. So like my room was separate from hers, we couldn't really see into it except for the little walkway to the door. And sometimes we'd like put a little tape, like, you can't step over here and I'm not stepping, that's on my side, you know, that kind of stuff. But we had a boundary and as long as we respected the boundary, everything was okay. [08:32.6]

The second it went haywire, sometimes we disrespected the boundary, but we only cared about it if we just didn't like the other person at the moment, which happens. Okay, so the relationship goes well when you have boundaries because it's a place of mutual respect. Is it the highest form of relationship? No, not at all, but sometimes it is an intelligent thing to do. So please understand when I'm talking to you about what, where I'm where I'm going with this. When I'm talking to you about healthy boundaries and when I'm talking to you about the ultimate and what a relationship can be, which I'm still exploring in my own life, I want you to understand that I don't believe that boundaries themselves are completely useless at all. I have seen them work incredible miracles. I've also seen them completely destroy relationships that otherwise could have been amazing because here's the downside of boundaries. [09:22.5]

The downside is usually it's the wife putting a boundary on the husband because often the husband is in some way shape or form the intimidating one or the abusive one or the emotionally unstable one or whatever. Unfortunately, there are a number of men that could probably put some boundaries in place, but they're being, you know, steamrolled by their wives and don't realize it and the wives probably don't realize that they're doing that either. They just decided to wear the pants for the family and just went for it. So the downside of boundary is this, if it's a husband and the wife is constantly telling him like this is a boundary, we need to set a boundary here. Wife has no long has now left the role of being a wife and now wife his mother. And so, you can't have a marital conjugal relationship of equals when one of them is mom and one of them has child and in my life, and Jasmine didn't put a bunch of boundaries on me, like she kind of kept to herself. But in the times when, then when that was the case or the times when there was, it always felt like an ultimatum. [10:19.6]

She may not have meant it that way often. She probably did, but she might not have, but it felt like an ultimatum. It felt like a reiteration of the fact that you're broken, you are not doing things right, you don't deserve good stuff. And I'm not arguing with any of that. But a reiteration of that which deflates the man and makes the man feel incapable of ever getting to a place where he's okay and if every time he's trying to interact with his wife and grow to a new level of being and the wife is constantly putting checks in boundaries, it often shows up. It doesn't always have to be this way, but in most cases it often shows up where the man just gives up or feels like he can't or gets frustrated with the relationship because they can no longer, they can't get closer than they already are because somebody put up a keep out sign. [11:06.1]

Not a punishment. I'm not looking at it like a punishment, but a keep out sign. It says I'm not comfortable with you coming any closer than this keep out. Right. The same thing goes with a woman. If the husband is putting up boundaries for the woman and saying, no, you can't do this or no, you can't do that, or I should be able to do this and this is just my stuff and the woman feels like she can't do anything and I see this happen. I mean men are doing it inadvertently a lot of times, but even just recently where there was a woman who was like, what do I do? Like I tried to talk to my husband about certain behaviors because I don't want it to happen anymore, but every time I bring it up he just gets angry and yells at me and tells me I'm the bad guy and we'll talk about gaslighting in another episode because that one needs to be broken down as well. [11:49.7]

But the men are setting inadvertent boundaries sometimes where they're just like, no, you don't deserve in my space, get out of my business. Right. This is my business. You don't need to know. It's a need to know basis and that too is a keep out sign. And the woman feels like she is crossing some lines, she just wants to be close to the guy. She wants to have a deep connected relationship, but every time she goes, she feels like he's pushing her out. Same thing happens. She feels like there's something wrong with her a lot of times, not all the time. Some women are able to see, Oh, this guy's just having a rough time, all right, cool. But most of them struggle internally and feel like they're doing something wrong because a keep out sign was put there inside of a relationship that was supposed to be a keep in. [12:31.7]

If you or someone you know is looking to drop the F-bomb of “Freedom” in your life, whether that's from addiction or depression and anxiety, or just anything that's making you feel flat-out stuck, but you have no clue how to shake it and just want help doing it, head on over to LiberateAMan.com and book a call, where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you've been missing. [12:59.0]

So, this is where our struggle with boundary comes. My invitation to you is this, if you need to set boundaries, set them, set them, but make them temporary. Don't set them as for now and for all eternity. Set them as right now this is what we're going to do and then we'll, we'll of course correct as needed as soon as like we see, see if things are shifting, Right! Temporary boundaries can be very, very helpful. But the question is where do we ultimately want to go? If the question inside of a relationship is that we want to become one, not just one flesh in sexual union, but one if we want to become one to completely dissolve into the relationship to where there's no distinction between me and her, not that we don't have individual personalities and stuff, but to where she's allowed everywhere in my life and I'm allowed everywhere in her life and there is no keep out sign anywhere. [13:53.3]

You can't have a boundary, it's impossible because a boundary is something that divides two things. So, if in a relationship you stick a divider, what you're doing is cutting the relationship in pieces, right? So, in the same by the, so how does that work as the next question? Like okay that's nice in theory Bob, that's great, but if I let him this close, I get scared and I get all this other stuff. Cool. The way this works in my relationship with Jasmine and whatnot else is, and this is not ever relationship's going to work this way, so I'm only giving you, my example. It’s like she's allowed to know everything about me. If she wants to know, I'll tell her and sometimes I don't want to tell her right away, but if she wants to know, she's welcome to ask and whatnot. And if I don't want to tell her, I'm not required to tell her everything. [14:39.0]

That's part of it. If her requirement is, every time I ask her, you have to tell me everything. That's also a kind of boundary cause it says if you don't do this, we're like were broken. Right? So, it means two people completely independently happy and who have decided together to work inside of a relationship in wherever they want. They can flow in and out. There's no leg that's mine and that's yours. I mean obviously clothing makes a difference, right? But there's, there's not this like required. If my wife wants to use one of my shirts, great, she asks, but if it disappeared and she just took it, okay, well my shirt disappeared. I don't even know who took it, whatever. If I started getting mad about that, whose problem is that? That's mine. Mine that a piece of cloth has control over my emotions. That's my issue. [15:26.8]

I'm the one that gave the piece of cloth that power. Right? The same thing with the body and the Saint. All the other pieces that go inside of a marital relationship. If they take it, I still have to learn to be, I still have to be 100% happy within myself. Now there's a level of respect there, but it's not a boundary in the sense of you can't come here. It's just a level of respect. I see another human being and I operate out of my humanity. I see that they care about stuff. I see that Jasmine wants some space or time to just read or watch a show or something cause she's had a rough day with the kids and so I just leave her space. Or I see that she's busy doing something as I start to talking, I'm like, oh sorry, I interrupted you. [16:03.7]

That's not a boundary its literally just I'm looking at a human being and I'm operating as if I were swimming in the current, right? So, if you're swimming in a river and the current starts to go a different direction, swimming with it is the easiest way to go. Acting in harmony as opposed to trying to swim across the current all the time. Now you may need to, if you're trying to get someplace, but ultimately both of you have a certain amount of direction and energy and excitement for life that you bring to a relationship. And what we're trying to figure out, Jasmine and I is always what we're trying to figure out, what we're figuring out. Sorry, I'm catching myself on the word trying. What we're figuring out is this, we're working so that we're in harmony with each other's current, so to speak. So, there's no boundary there. [16:47.2]

If I want to experience what true oneness with another being is, I cannot have a keep out sign at all because every time I say I don't like that, and all of your keep out signs are literally, I don't like that. That's not acceptable. Please don't do that. It's not okay. Those are all keep out signs. And the more of those that I have, and I still have some, but I'm obliterating them one at a time, but the more of those that I have, the less union I can experience. And personally, what I want to experience in a marital relationship is not just sex for lifetime, it’s not just having kids, it’s not just sharing taxes and, and house payments it’s not just going on vacations together. I want to experience total union. Maybe not everybody wants that, in which case, sure boundaries are great, but I want that. [17:32.8]

I want to know the pure joy that comes from having completely merged with another human being and felt that complete oneness that's in there and if that's got to happen, boundaries of any sort cannot exist. What needs to instead is humanity, that when you are in touch with your own humanity, with your own self and totally at peace within yourself and operate from that you will treat other people with a kind of respect and love that naturally flows from you. You don't have to sit there and have them have a boundary, in like manner so will they. Now if they're belligerent and whatnot, you still don't have to have a boundary, but you can make intelligent choices like, oh cool, they're doing this. I don't want to do that. I'm just going to go somewhere else. You don't have to explain it away. [18:21.8]

You don't. You just make a choice. So, all this needed is literally look at the situation, what's happening and let me operate as best I can with the situation. Sometimes that might mean leaving a situation, sometimes not. Okay. Paying attention to what's happening is the key. So, if your husband or wife is acting like a two year old, then you're going to need to treat them like you would treat a two year old from your humanity and love, but you're not going to trust them with more than you would trust a two year old with. That's just dumb. If they're treating like a, if they're acting like a, a mature adult, which I don't think I've ever acted like, but if they're acting like a mature adult, then you can behave around them like you would a mature adult but don't trust them. Just pay attention and instead of putting out all these, keep out signs, those are just because you're hurting on the inside. [19:11.9]

You have likes and dislikes and things that have hurt you and you don't feel safe. Handle that. Get to the place where you feel safe and where you can still pay attention and act in wisdom in order. And inside of a marriage relationship the two people both. It's time to stop trying to just create this as a business transaction and start to look for what real union it feels like, what, what, what really happens and what, what you're capable of. If two people, if you can get rid of all the boundaries between you have all the keep out signs and suddenly experience what life can be like when you're no longer saying get away because this is too close. Because the last thing you want to do with somebody that you've promised to spend eternity with is tell them, get out when all you really want is someone to get all the way in to see you for all of who you are. [19:59.2]

And to just love that. And I know it's scary. I know it's scary to let down all the walls and to let yourself be seen naked in all your glory, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, everything, but that's what we really crave. Just to be 100% totally accepted by another human being for all of what we are and not just for pieces of what we are that we think will be acceptable. So that's my take on boundaries. Obviously, everybody's got to find their own way with it, but I don't find them useful anymore. I did for a period of time, my wife did for a period of time I should say, and I still, I've used them too, right, “Get out of my office”, kind of thing, right?

Temporary, temporary, if you're going to use it, try and make sure that you always have an end point on it, but if you're really looking for union, boundaries in the end, have to completely disappear [20:47.3]

And that's it for today's “Alive and Free Podcast.” If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom bombs landing in your ear buds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcasts from. And, while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you. Plus, it's just nice to be nice. [21:08.9]

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