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When I look back at my bad old days, there’re a number of things that stand out as emblematic of who I was – the fear of letting go of a bad relationship because I didn’t think I could do any better, being unable to relax and enjoy my time with one woman because I couldn’t stop looking for the shoe to drop… But there is one very specific night that, to my mind, was one of the most representative of how bad things were.

I had gotten permission from my girlfriend at the time (warning sign #1) to go play in a Mage campaign with my friends.

As a result, I became the sort of person who was very good at finding excuses for why things had gone wrong – it wasn’t Why would I do this?

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The other frequent cause for poor boundaries is an unwillingness to take responsibility for one’s own actions.

Taking a stand – saying that you will not tolerate or put up with certain attitudes or behavior – means being willing to accept the responsibility of that choice and thus shouldering the consequences.

After all, if you were better, cooler, or more desirable, you’d be able to stand up for yourself.

When you don’t feel as though you have anything to offer and you’re desperate for someone to complete you, you will tend to shift your boundaries and sacrifice your values for someone else in the hopes that this will prompt them to like you. They rely on obligation and allow themselves to be used – as well as live in fear of conflict or disagreement – because they don’t feel that they can rely on their own value.

One good friend of mine had a husband who would continually badger her into being willing to participate in threesomes with various female friends.