One of the easiest problematic themes to identify in our music is poor boundaries.
As my frequent readers are no doubt aware, I am a firm believer in boundaries. These are the limits we set around ourselves in our relationships – they are what we will accept from others, what we will not accept, and the consequences for violations of these boundaries.
Often, those with poor boundaries grew up in a non-validating household, though not necessarily an abusive one. Abuse, obviously, is a violation of personal boundaries; if you say no, and something happens anyway, you learn you have no power or control over your body, and that others do not respect your limits. Correcting this misperception is often the primary function of therapy. However, simple non-validation can also lead to poor boundary development – asking to use the restroom and being told “you can’t have to go, you just went,” or trying to ask for what you want, and being totally ignored, teaches us to mistrust our own wants, needs, and feelings.
Personal relationships often see the worst boundary violations. The lines between ourselves and the significant other blur, creating an unhealthy and addictive relationship; those who have been enmeshed with a partner know how frightening this can feel, how emotions run unchecked, how powerless you can seem.
Unfortunately, examples of this issue are put forward as the ideal for romantic love almost constantly. Listening to this song, I was reminded how we can’t depend on others for our entire well being, and how doing so is crazymaking.* (really, Dido? You can’t be until I’m here? YIKES!) Also, the Spice Girls have a great one which can be enjoyed for maximum nostalgia here.
However, as a change of pace, I’m going to put in a song with kick ass boundary setting, by Alanis Morissette from her first album (the first CD I ever owned, as it happens.) Lyrics are here; I fully recommend reading along! This is such a great example of setting boundaries between two people, I absolutely love it. Enjoy!
*I am by no means saying those around us don’t affect us – they totally do! But depending on other people to determine our emotions isn’t healthy, and deprives us of personal autonomy. If I’m having a bad day just because you are, I’m also not going to be able to offer support and healthy feedback for you – it’s bad for everyone.