Healthy Boundaries Versus Intimacy Barriers

Boundaries and Barriers

Some boundaries are absolutely essential. Setting and enforcing them unwaveringly helps keep us safe. And that’s especially important in these days of rampant Character Disturbance. But we can also draw lines that only impair our ability to connect. And intimacy barriers are often the ruin of relationships.

It seems paradoxical that some of the lines we draw are necessary whereas others are problematic. So what’s the difference between a healthy boundary and an unhelpful barrier to intimacy? That’s no so easy thing to explain, but in this week’s post, I’ll do my best.

Protecting the Heart

Nothing is as precious as the human heart. Too bad it gets wounded so often. That’s life, however. And in the age of more widespread character dysfunction, it’s more common than ever. So, we have to protect this precious heart of ours. And we should strive to protect the hearts of others. That’s what setting healthy boundaries is all about. We don’t allow others or ourselves ourselves to cross cetain lines in order to keep hearts safe. And that’s empowering. But all this comes with a price. An overly defended heart is hesitant to open. And a hardened heart finds it difficult if not impossible to intimately connect.

(See also: The Keys to Self-Empowerment.)

While we owe it to ourselves to protect our heart, we can’t let ourselves forget its supreme value. Again, nothing is as precious. And we always have a choice as to whether our hearts are open or closed. It may seem like we don’t have a choice at times. But we always do. And, ironically, only when we open our hearts can the light within us radiantly shine. (See: pp. 73-74  in The Judas Syndrome.) But an open heart is a vulnerable heart. And character impaired folks don’t have proper regard for that. They jockey for what they want without regard for the impact. That’s how so many hearts get bruised.

Getting the Balance So the Light Can Shine

We have to get the balance right. We have to know how to protect ourselves. But we also have to learn to discern when and how to open up. Unless we’re open, we can’t truly connect. In this world, that can never be perfectly safe. But once we learn how to process inevitable pain and how to avoid unnessary pain, we can move toward the proper balance. And I’ll be talking about this issue in greater detail over the coming weeks.


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