The purpose of ego boundaries is to protect the self. And through having these in place, one will know the difference between who they are and who someone else is. They allow for ones inner space to be protected and looked after.
These are not visible to the naked eye like a physical body is. And although everyone has a physical body, it does not mean that everyone has ego boundaries that are invisible.
As ego boundaries are what make one feel safe or unsafe and not the physical body itself; it shows how important they are.
This may partly explain why so many men and even women have become obsessed with gaining muscle. To compensate for their lack of ego boundaries and the sense of safety that they bring, one looks to create this inner safety by strengthening and armouring their body. I will go deeper into this in a future article.
There are many benefits to having ego boundaries. When one has them, they will feel safe to be who they are and on top of that – they will know who they are. This has got to be the primary reasons for having them.
Not only will one know who they are, but they will feel that it is safe enough for them to be themselves. Once this is the case, many other benefits will occur as a consequence.
The relationships that one has will also be a lot more fulfilling. For if one feels safe within and protected, the fear of losing oneself in another will not be there or it will have very little effect.
Opening up to the world and what the world has to offer will also be possible, without fearing that one’s personal space will be invaded. And if it is, one will have the personal strength to set appropriate limits.
Knowing what one wants, needs, desires and what their preferences are will also be normal to this person. And this is due to ego boundaries allowing one to be in tune with what is right for them. Instead of being caught up in what others want one to do or following others in order to feel safe within.
As one feels safe within to follow their own purpose and all that that means to them, there will not be a strong need to gain the approval of others. This will naturally make one feel free within. Having an inner centre will also be possible and this means that a sense of wellbeing will have a greater chance of being experienced.
No Ego Boundaries
For the person with no ego boundaries, it can create feelings of being: invisible, nonexistent, vulnerable, empty, and wide open to the world. This means that one will not feel safe to be who they are or that they are protected.
There are obviously extremes to this. Even though this could relate to someone who is shy or unconfident for example, it could also relate to someone who is overbearing, overconfident and loud.
However, being taken advantage of and compromised are often consequences for people who have no ego boundaries. This person may find it easy to say yes, but extremely difficult to say no. Through being wide open to the world, one is unlikely to feel safe enough to say no, for the fear of what may happen.
Knowing what their needs, wants, preferences and desires are will be difficult; it will be hard for them to know the difference between what’s theirs and what’s other peoples. And so this means that they are likely to need more approval than people who have strong ego boundaries; simply because they don’t have the same sense of inner safety and protection.
For the person who have weak or nonexistent ego boundaries, relationships are unlikely to be rewarding or fulfilling. Here, one may end up becoming either enmeshed to others or avoid them all together.
So if they become enmeshed they will lose the identity that they do have and take on whatever indentify they feel will please others. And if they avoid relationships for the fear of losing themselves, then it is only going to lead to pain and suffering.
These two options don’t give one much to work with and very little to feel empowered about.
People who have strong ego boundaries are having a completely different experience to people who have them. Having no ego boundaries is the recipe for leading a life that is without fulfilment, true happiness, real success or fulfilling relationships. One can feel like a doormat and that there presence on this earth is irrelevant.
When one has boundaries, it can only lead to a more fulfilling existence. Knowing what one wants, experiencing richer relationships, feeling safe to be oneself and protected are just a few benefits
If we were to take two people, one with strong ego boundaries and another with no ego boundaries we would see that they are both human beings. So why are they so different from each other?
As a baby one has no ego boundaries, it is when one starts to develop into a child that they should develop. This is because as a baby one doesn’t know the difference between themselves and the caregiver. Through the mother’s empathic care, which is made up of mirroring, validating and attuning to the baby’s needs, it begins to form a sense of individuality.
The baby will sense that it is safe to have needs and that its needs are different to the mothers needs. And this will enable the baby to internalise this model; creating associations of safety and of being protected.
If the one has a caregiver that is unempathic as a baby it will lead to the opposite things happening. The baby’s needs will largely be ignored and covered up with the mothers needs. And through this, the baby will have no connection to its needs. What it will learn is to tune into the needs of others.
What this will result in is not only the loss of ones needs being taken care of, but the loss of a self being created. It is through the mirroring and validating of one’s needs as a baby and then as a child, that allows one to form a self.
The association is, if my needs are ignored then I can’t exist either. Having a caregiver that forces their needs onto the baby and denies the bays needs, is a result of the caregiver having boundaries problems. Perhaps their childhood was the same and carried out the same behaviour.
This means that through their own lack of boundaries they are unlikely to recognise the baby’s personal space. So situations where the caregiver overwhelms, smothers, abandons and rejects the baby are going to be common.
What I have described above is just a general guideline and this means that there could be other variations or causes.
These early experiences created the ego minds associations and these associations then become how one perceives others and themselves. They are not the truth; they are simply what have become familiar to the ego mind.
And what is classed as familiar to the ego mind is what is interpreted as safe. This means that as these associations change, one will begin to develop ego boundaries.
How long this process takes will depend on numerous factors. Finding the appropriate support will make a big difference. A good therapist may be needed, for others a supportive friend or book may do.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.