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In continuation of the conversation in our previous episode on Healthy Boundaries, relationship experts Debra and Rob Maldonado go deeper into boundaries in romantic relationships and how to identify red flags.

In this episode:

  • How being in a healthy relationship helps you
  • How to identify unhealthy relationship patterns and especially red flags
  • The basics of good boundaries include Open Communication, Cultivating Trust and Respect and what it looks like in a romantic relationship
  • What to do if you or your friend is in an unhealthy relationship

Episode Exercise: Take the quick assessment to see how you rate yourself in the three critical areas of Communication, Trust and Respect and where you need to start making improvements so you can establish boundaries and get the relationship you want.

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Episode Transcript: S1 | E13

Please excuse automated-transcription errors

Welcome to Creative Mind Living a podcast for people interested in personal growth based on the principles of Carl Jung, Neuroscience and Eastern Philosophies. We are your hosts, Debra and Robert Maldonado, the founders of Creative Mind Coaching.

Alright Rob, we are back with another episode and we are continuing our conversation this week on boundaries.

Yes, by popular demand. We are continuing our talk on boundaries

And we’re going to be talking about establishing and keeping our boundaries and uh, specifically for romantic relationships. And we all know that romantic relationships, how we do them is probably mirrored in other relationships in life. But we’ll talk about, uh, primarily romantic but keep in mind other relationships in your life. And I think this topic is really a meaningful right now because of the me too movement. There’s, it’s almost as if the me too, uh, kind of exposed lack of boundaries of poorly defined boundaries for all these women, uh, in their early life. For them to get into a position like that where and then, and the men, how they were trained that you can just take advantage of women and women are conditioned to say, don’t say anything because no one will believe you. And so we had this kind of combination of the two lack of boundaries, um, coming together in this big worldwide movement of speaking up and really starting to establish it. So I’m really excited for women of this time is to stop tolerating, uh, poor behavior and really start, keep it standing in your power. So those of you who are, um, you know, have experienced something like that. Um, we all have, I think every woman I’ve had sexual harassment I’ve had, you know, things happen that I just like, wow. You know, I wish I had stronger boundaries back then, especially as a young professional woman.

Yeah. Yeah. And it hurts everyone. That’s the thing about, uh, uh, not setting proper boundaries. It hurts the whole system, a whole society because you don’t keep boundaries in the men think it’s okay. And then they continue the behavior and they end up doing the same thing to someone else. So by you establishing it, you can actually stop the process, stop the pattern, or at least do something to shift the pattern in a way. And I think it’s part of cultural evolution.

Uh, you know, we, we kinda outgrow the old patterns and a new conversation as to take place, a new arrangement of what are the boundaries and how do we talk about them.

A lot of times I think people talk about boundaries, just relationships like romantic and then with family. But there are many different relationships that we have in our life that we need to establish boundaries in.

Absolutely. And, and even real romantic relationships don’t take place in a vacuum. They take place in a cultural setting, right? With families, with friends, and of course casual relationships where we have to deal with professionals such as teachers, uh, clergy, medical professionals, uh, colleagues at work and our partners, colleagues and families and friends. And those are the biggest problem, right? And, uh, acquaintances, uh, people that we casually know in passing, you know, we all have those levels of relationships have to have, uh, some kind of boundaries. And, uh, most of them are implied. We never talked the talk about them or define them clearly, but they’re implied. Meaning we kind of agree socially, just that that’s the way it is. Right?

So, um, what’s, why do we need these relationships anyway? I go, I can’t, we just live our own little life and, and be isolated and not have to deal with people.

Right. I think, you know, as human beings, we are a social group, uh, creatures. And so we find our fulfillment in relationship with others, so we have to deal with them. Yeah. And, uh, it’s the way we know ourselves, the way we develop, uh, as a person through these relationships, uh, the way we grow emotionally, obviously in a good relationship. That’s really where the growth takes place. And, uh, we communicate and maintain meaningful bonds with other people through these, uh, setting and understanding of boundaries. And then I’m like, God, like you were, you know, we’re talking earlier, it’s fun to relate to other people and be and be yourself without feeling like you’re walking on eggshells and don’t know what to expect or what they expect of you. There are certain people in your life where you have established boundaries and it’s, you know, like your special best girlfriend sometimes and you just, those, those relationships are so fulfilling because, you know, like you call each other on your stuff and you’re open and you’re honest and they know the real you. And it just feels so good and you’re just like, why can’t everyone be like you? And a lot of times I’ll have my phone, my clients tell me I wish I could marry my girlfriend instead of finding a guy. Cause I feel so good around her. It’s like, how can we establish a romantic relationships that are just as powerful as that wonderful best friend that you can be totally you with?

Yeah. Yeah. I, I can’t remember the movie, but it was, uh, one of the lines was a, at the end of the day, you just want to laugh. Yes. Want to have a good laugh and yeah, that’s a good romantic relationship. You can laugh together. So then the unhealthy relationships, and I think this is why people tend to not want to connect with other people or have a hesitation to really bond with other people. Um, uh, some, some behaviors that are, we’re really show that you’re don’t have healthy boundaries is either you’re doing it like teasing or bullying someone. Um, so let’s say you have an employee at work that isn’t really showing up. And so instead of being direct and saying, Hey, you were supposed to be on time. Here, you are very passive aggressive and you’re kind of bullying them a little bit or teasing them in front of everyone. Like, Oh, well, thank you for showing up. I’ve seen some couples like that. Couples, yeah. Like a, like you’re at the dinner party and, uh, out to dinner with a bunch of couples and then you’re like teasing.

Um, there was that movie. Um, uh, that woman with the, from Seinfeld where she was with the guy and at dinner she was saying, you know, I got him a cook, a, uh, diet book or something kidding around teasing him but billing him about his, his being overweight. And so that’s kind of a lack of boundary, um, power struggles where you feel as though you’re always trying to be in control and uh, romantic relationships. It’s who has the upper hand and a, and even w were one person’s overpowering the other person and the other person constantly feels like they’re being oppressed or the other way around where you feel like you’re bulldozing over the other person and they’re just kind of wimpy and they just like, and then almost like you loose attraction to that person because you’re like, I can just get away with anything.

I could just not show up. I could date five other guys. And the sky is still like, Oh, I love you. And so that’s really a unhealthy relationship. A angry outbursts. If you find yourself like losing it or them losing it with you. Again, unhealthy withholding love. Uh, when we were kids, we were disciplined, uh, with withholding love. When our parents were disappointing with us, we knew it. We were like, we felt it, feel them shut down. That openhearted, soft, loving mom has a stern look. She tells you to go to your room, you feel isolated. So we kind of do that in relationships. Like go to your room, you’re having time out. I’m not returning texts, right? Withholding love. So we feel that that’s not a healthy relationship. If someone’s mad at you for something you did and they just shut down, that’s not healthy.

So a lot of people, like I know I work with a lot of women that will tell me, you know, I said the wrong thing and I feel really bad and now he won’t return my texts. That’s not a healthy relationship do you didn’t do anything wrong. A healthy person would say, you know what, it really pissed me off that you said that. Let’s talk about it. That’s a healthy relationship. So if you feel that people are doing that to you, remember that’s not healthy. So you have to think it to yourself. Is this the kind of relationship I want?

Yeah. And we all do these kind of behaviors, but, uh, when it becomes a pattern and when you see it over and over in the relationship and it becomes like the way you’re interacting, then it’s a problem.

And of course there’s a couple others, like, uh, they’re coercing you to do things you don’t want to do. Pure pressure. They’re like, uh, you know, getting your friends to gang up on you or you’re doing that to them. You’re, you know, trying to coerce them. You need like a, I know for you, Rob, if you don’t want to do something, you don’t want to, you say, no, I can’t convince you to go to some party with my friends. It’s like, unless you want to go, it’s not, I don’t manipulate you or make you feel guilty that you don’t go, um, unreasonable demands like that and humiliation that humiliating your partner in public around other people or making them feel bad. Uh, here’s what I see a lot. Women, um, experiencing men like humiliating them because they were open, you know, and honest and that making them sh trying to shame them for their behavior.

And so we have to watch out for that and not healthy. Now here’s the red flags. These are like extreme, like these should be on like the Def con five, um, criticism, yelling, swearing, uh, angry gestures, coersion threats like when it gets really intense. So these other ones that I mentioned are kinda light and you could talk it through, but these are really like, like I said, Def con five better call, call, call and help, uh, violence. Uh, again, physical sexual attacks or threats. We definitely, that’s a big red flag. And then seduction that lets after a fight they’re apologizing and then they do the behavior again and then they apologize. And we see this a lot in abusive relationships. So definitely red flags. If you’re enjoying this conversation and do not want it to end, it doesn’t have to. You can join us on our Facebook fan page at creative bind method and continue the conversation, get tools, free visualizations, free downloads, and announcements of live events and new courses that we’re hosting. So join us after the show at creative mind method on Facebook. See you there. That’s right.

Wow. How do we, how do we do a good boundary setting and keeping, yes, what’s the basics? What’s a tick tick to turn the ship around and have great boundaries? Yes. So here are three basic rules to keep in mind. Communication, trust and respect. So what does good communication mean in boundaries? It’s talking and listening. In other words. Uh, I would say, yeah. So people think that they’re communicating, they’re talking a lot, but they’re not listening. So it’s a two way street that you have to think about YMCA in establishing good boundaries. You have to communicate your wants and your needs, but you also have to listen to your partner’s wants and needs. And you have to be open and honest. And this is one thing that, um, we often don’t want to hear the truth, not only speak the truth, but we don’t want to hear the truth. Like that movie. You can’t handle the truth. We, we want to be open to feedback and a lot of times we avoid communication and that kind of having those tough conversations because we don’t want to hear what that person has to say. Like, we want to hear them say, you know, I really am not interested in you, or I’m really not looking for a commitment or I’m really, I’m not feeling it with you.

Uh, we don’t want to hear it. So we kind of brush it away and we don’t ask directly. Uh, and we’re not listening. And so we have to be open and honest with how we feel, but also be open to receive their honest feedback. Yeah. Yeah. And I think we have to be very conscious of our body language and our tone of voice, especially men. Uh, you know, we have like a few months ago that was at a art Kelly interview, uh, with one of the female reporters. Yeah. Where he stands up and you know, he, he’s kind of standing right over her screaming that those kind of Oprah’s friend, he kept saying them over and over again. Those kind of gestures of very aggressive and you know, often people are not conscious or men are not conscious of the power that that has over other people. Uh, so yes, communication is good.

We want to be expressing our passion and our thoughts and all that. But you’ve got to watch the body language and the, and the tone of voice, right? You want to be open, calm as much as possible. Also, when you think of the tone, if you’re not verbally, because now everyone, no one talks on the phone anymore, everyone’s texting each other. So communication becomes bold, bolded, the yelling becomes a bolded. And so you have to be careful of people, you know, saying what the hell and you know, with the big quotes and shut up and that kind of, it’s, it’s the same as yelling and so all caps is yelling and so we have to be careful of that as well. And then a dumping or the silent treatment, you know, like, I’m going to just dump all over you. This is all my problems I have with you, where I’m just not going to communicate at all. I’m just going to withdraw communication and I’m just going to be quiet. And you see that happen. When people are mad, they got shut down and you’re like, well, talk to me. Nope. No, I’m just, I’m mad. I don’t want to talk. That’s not really establishing boundaries. It’s almost like punishing the other person without really telling them how you feel. And that’s the kind of, uh, a very infant style way of communicating.

Yeah. So number one, you need a good, uh, uh, uh, do you need to establish good communication between each other so that the boundaries and can be communicated clearly and effectively? Uh, the second principle is you have to cultivate trust. And this begins by being honest, which is often hard, but you have to be honest about your needs. Uh, you have to be express your displeasure when there is displeasure and you know, not a, in an aggressive way, not in a, uh, sarcastic or passive aggressive manner, but in a clear and concise manner.

I also think it’s really important to think about consistency when you’re cultivating trust because if you’re consistent with your boundaries and consistent with your communication, it’s much easier than if you change the rules all the time. And I think a lot of people that this idea of being reliable and responsible and uh, so they can know what to expect. Um, in a relationship, it’s, it’s that, wow, that didn’t bother you last week, but now all of a sudden this bothers you. That’s the, uh, that’s the holding, you know, the inconsistency that causes confusion and causes, lack of trust. Because now I the like for instance, if someone opens up to you and you have a great conversation and then the next time they open up to you, you shut them down. They’re not going to trust to open up to you again. They’re not going to, is it safe or not? And a good relationship is that mutual. If I open up, I trust that you’re going to be open to that as well.

That’s right. So be reliable and responsible and expect the same from your partner. Absolutely. And then what happens in a relationship without trust? Uh, you start second guessing, uh, each other in not believing each other. Uh, there’s betrayal, uh, by sharing of secrets, intimate secrets that you have between each other. You start to tell, uh, your friends or her, her, uh, family members, but he is, and you’re not telling him directly and don’t tell Rob, but this really gets me, really bothers me that he does this.

Yes. Obsessively checking on the other person. You know, we see that with couples where they start to get a very suspicious and always have to be a kind of keeping track of where the other person is and all that.

And so that is trust. And the last one is respect. That’s right. And trust and really and supporting each other is respect. This idea that, um, you’re going to treat someone like the golden rule. Like they, you, um, you value each other’s independence. So there is this bond that happens in a relationship, but you also want to respect their independence as well, their own life. They don’t need to be with you 24, seven that they don’t, unless Rob, you’re Robin, I should always together. But we respect her independence. We each have our own little projects that we do. We have a, a different set of friends sometimes that we spend time with. So it’s, it’s that respecting and not being, um, controlling every moment of their life and also their dreams. And I th I see a lot of women that are, they’re afraid to go for their dreams because their husband maybe isn’t, or partner isn’t as successful as them.

And so they kind of hold themselves back and then the unsuccessful partner is kind of dragging them down a little bit, is not respecting their need for independence or their need for reaching their dreams. And they went out like they’ve, they’re the, it comes out of fear. They’re afraid they’re gonna lose her or him to someone you know, to something else if they keep growing. And so remember whether it’s your partner who’s going off and going for their dream or you’re going off for your dream, you want a cheerleader with you that’s going to say, go for it. Can, you know, be excited. And when we first met you and I weren’t working together and I was writing my book, you were so supportive and respective of my dreams, you weren’t tearing me down and going, well dad, you don’t have a PhD. I don’t know if anyone’s going to buy your book. You were very, very, uh, empowering. And that’s really what you want in a partner. Someone who respects you and, and lets you live your dreams. Absolutely. And then, um, and be yourself. You know, they’re not trying to make you into something they want you to be.

Yeah. And, uh, respect yourself. Uh, because if you don’t respect yourself, you can’t expect your partner to respect you or other people to respect you. So self respect is really the key here. You have to learn kind of how to set boundaries with yourself, where it’s like, what you’re tolerating. Yeah. What do you tolerate in your own life? In your own, uh, kind of a personal sphere. So let’s do a quick little assessment.

Look at these three main areas, and then we’re going to get into what to do, how to do this. Uh, measure in your mind. Take a self assessment from one to 10 for each of these areas of how much healthy you think you are in that from one to 10. So communication, what we described, being open and honest, talking and listening, uh, really being that compassionate listener. One to 10.

Yes. And do you express your needs and desires?

A one means not at all and 10 means all the time. And most likely none of us are at a 10. So just be honest about that. Don’t, don’t, don’t cheat on the test. Three, you would not be a good plays. A seven would be really good. [inaudible] and then, uh, the second one is trust. How do you, how much do you, uh, how honest are you with others? How honest are you with yourself? Uh, are you reliable? Do you trust your decisions? Do you trust yourself? And do you trust the person you’re with? If you’re in a relationship, yes, I didn’t. Again, three not a good place to be. Seven really a good target. And then the last one is respect. How much do you respect yourself and how much do you believe if you’re in a relationship, your partner respects you? A one to 10. Again, three is not good. Yeah.

Anything under three is not good. Uh, anything above a seven is really good.

And so this isn’t a, a permanent, uh, assessment. And you take it and you say, okay, let me work a little bit now on these three. Communication, trust and respect. So let’s get into how to do that.

Unhealthy relationship, meaning your, your scores are low on all of these. Keep in mind, you can always work it out. You can always improve your communication. Uh, cultivate trust and respect. If you’ve tried these or you know, you, you get to the point where you try these over and over and it doesn’t work, you can always end the relationship. Hmm. You know, remember, you’re not trapped. You can always decide to say goodbye. Um, if you’re a stock, because we know sometimes people get stuck in situations, financially, financially, children, family commitments, et cetera. Uh, and there is a dysfunction and abuse and you know, uh, a real serious slaps in boundaries. You can always tell someone, get help there. There is assistance out there, there is help, there’s therapy, there’s counselors, there’s support groups, et cetera, that, you know, can help you work your way through these boundary issues.

And also, um, you know, when we say take steps toward the three, it’s, it’s, you take steps, you, it’s going to feel uncomfortable because it’s against your conditioning. And so you’re going to feel scared and you may even get a negative response, but you have to be unattached to that communication. You have to do it for the sake of doing it. And if the relationship is meant to grow together, he or she will grow with you and, and work with you. But if they shut down or they get mad, then it’s another, it’s a red flag. It’s like, well, maybe I shouldn’t be in this relationship. Maybe I’ve been, you know, blind to it. Yeah.

And if you’re helping a friend.

Yeah. Cause a lot of people that listen to our work aren’t really an abusive. It doesn’t seem to be a common over the people that follow us. But if you have a friend even that’s in a situation, yeah. Not necessarily abusive, but just in, in, in dysfunctional bad relationships. Well yeah. In situations where the boundaries are not really there, right. They’re not being respected consistently and it’s not a healthy situation because as we talked in the beginning, a relationship are there to support us, to make us happy. Right. To bring that joyfulness into life. Uh, so anyway, if you’re helping friends with it, with these questions, don’t make them feel bad about their choices. Right. In other words, don’t talk about, Oh, you should have known better. Or what were you thinking when you got into this relationship was a jerk when you met him. Yes. But be more supportive, kind of listen, understand, kind of, you know, put you put yourself in their shoes. The three things. Listen, communicate, trust, respect, respect. Yeah. Um, if they are really stuck, offered to go with them to find help or to get help, you know, a counseling or a support group and remember, don’t try to rescue them, you know, don’t take it upon yourself that, Oh, you fail them because you can’t rescue them. That’s not your job. Your, your job as a friend is to listen, be supportive, kind of give them that, uh, uh, that, uh, shoulder to lean on.

So yeah, for most of you, you probably have a little light, uh, impact with, uh, boundaries and that, you know, most ex, we don’t usually see a lot of people with extremes, but those little tiny ways that we lie to ourselves or don’t be completely honest, or we don’t ask for what we want or we don’t respect ourselves, those have a big impact on our life, even if they’re their boundary light. So remember that you deserve to be treated well. You deserve to be treated with respect and you deserve to have great things in your life. And a lot of times the reason you don’t have the things you want is because of poor boundaries. And it doesn’t make sense that something’s wrong with you. It just means that you were conditioned unconsciously to do this copying patterns from other people around you. And so I want to leave today with just this one message that there’s nothing wrong with you and that no matter what you’ve been taught, you can learn to evolve to a higher level. That’s right. You can always make it better. Yes. So everyone enjoy. I hope you enjoy this class and we will see you next week on creative mind living. We’ll see you soon.