Boundaries are built in behaviours, not words.
How many idle words do we hear thrown around from the lover saying " I would never do ....... " to the boss promising to "sort things" .. all of which have no substantial value, until actioned!
We say what we want people to believe, what we want to be true but we behave in a way that represents what we really believe or at least what we will accept. The lover does that thing and the boss might just move on after appeasing you with words.
Words are often intentions, sometimes wishes but they are not active and they are not fact. Whether intended or not, they are only words, until actioned.
Look at boundaries like a diet, just because I say I am on diet doesn't mean I am, just because I want to be, doesn't mean I am and just because we all know I should be doesn't mean I am!
Boundaries are built in what you do when people are not respecting what you said.
Boundaries are not a one-time thing, they are a daily self-check. An ensuring your words align with your own behaviour and what you accept of others behaviours.
As adults people breech our boundaries sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously, which is always an invitation for us to express and behave in alignment with our own values.
It is easy to feel others "should" respect our boundaries and know them without taking responsibility for verbalizing and acting on them, however, boundaries are individual to each person, there isn't one set of rules and more importantly our boundaries our responsibility to communicate and act on, never others!
Boundaries were broken down by my therapist in a fairly simple way, boundaries are the things you are and aren't ok with and you will know because it feels off. Whenever we feel off it is our responsibility to reflect on thet experience, identify our need within it, manage our reaction and assert our needs clearly verbally and in our actions.
Boundaries are not always comfortable to admit and can not always be met by others. Regardless of whether a person can or can't meet a need, we are responsible for asking for it. At that point, we need to look at how we relate to others when they do not meet or can not meet our boundaries or needs and how we want to behave when they don't.
Incongruent behaviour from us creates incongruent relationship dynamics with others. Which results in us co-creating dynamics that are not respectful of our own boundaries or needs. True boundary setting is done in how congruent we are with ourselves and where we place our own self-worth and value in relation to others. It is in how we manage when others don't or can't respect our boundaries.
A quick question guide to boundary setting ..
* What felt off?
* What do I want/need?
* How can I ask for it assertively?
* How will I behave to honour it?
Maintain responsibility for your own boundaries if someone can't/won't/doesn't respect them don't let that stop you from respecting them!