1. What are appropriate boundaries for you? What topics are fair game to talk, when and for whom?
For me pretty much any idea or topic is open for conversation. I do find it very uncomfortable to talk about my emotions or how I feel to people I do not know. Even with friends to speak of my emotions makes me end up with no words. I really dislike when people pry and try and get information from me about my intimate past, relationships, or my children or my spouse. It feels really strange to have near strangers begin asking questions of that sort. I also tend to be uncomfortable talking about sex for some reason.
I do realize that when I trust emotionally I will tend to do so in an all-or-none black and white sort of way. I end up being way too vulnerable, then retreat to a defensive position....or maybe I started from a defensive position, thus why it hurts so much to be poked emotionally. I trust far too easily and absorb others into my emotional space far too easily.
2. How do you decide which requests from your friends / family / coworkers to fulfill, and which ones to say no to? For example, if a friend is asking you to listen to their problems, what would you consider in deciding whether or not to listen right then?
I will listen to a friend at any point, because I perceive them to often need to be letting off steam-not seeking me to provide them with a solution or guidance. I let them rant and occasionally will provide feedback. With respect to requests from others, I tend to evaluate what they can do themselves, what I have the time to do, what else I am obligated to do and try and find a happy balance. I like to show affection for others via action, but I also know i am very forgetful, thus am hesitant to commit.
3. Where did you get your idea of appropriate boundaries from?
The hard way. Mostly I let very few people in. Once I started letting more people in, I got hurt very much. Then I became more selective about who to trust and who to let in. I am a cross between a bitter old women and a naive little kid when it comes to emotional boundaries.
4. What were boundaries like in your family? (I am asking this question because boundaries are defined very differently in each of the culture I'm part of).
I cant even answer that question... My ex mom in law says I was raised by wolves. I suspect many of my emotional defensive barriers may be the result of the total LACK of emotional barriers in my family. They were a bunch of FPs and it was like the Fi-puke-o-meter was turned up to MAX. So I ended up being very good at blocking out other people's emotions as a result. I end up feeling as though I must be extremely reliant, thus I expect them to do so as well.I grew up being exposed to a massive amount of emotional pain that was spilled out of those around me-it made me close all the emo doors and windows so to speak, so I could function. To this day, my family will dump massive amounts of emotional pain at me to try and get me to loan them money. They use the pain and unhappiness of my nieces to manipulate my emotions, as I cant feel any emotional response to my mom or sister anymore-just coldness.