A while ago, I posted about taking photos of SP worksheets, and offered to share them here if people were interested. This is the first chapter I’m going to share. The chapter deals with boundaries. This is a theme (boundaries and control) that tends to come up again and again for me, and has definitely come up in the last few weeks. 

16 thoughts on “Boundaries 

  1. pink says:

    This is so helpful Alice, thank you so much for posting. Some of it is painfully familiar, but also really helpful to recognise & name bits I do that I hadn’t realised. You are doing such good and courageous work. Please could you post the name of the book or workbook if possible?

    Many thanks again,



  2. Thanks for this. I’ve read a little bit about somatic aspects of trauma but this is different from what I’ve come across so far – what you’ve shared here about how it relates to boundary styles is something I can identify with, and maybe something I should look into. I’m a little wary of the potential for adverse effects in any new approach I try, and have found that anything which involves bodily awareness or body work has tended to be a bit overwhelming for me (I’ve had significant problems with yoga, meditation and massage), so I was interested to find a note on the GoodTherapy page which discusses SP, about its limitations: “people who have a phobia of body or inner awareness may first need to experience some form of desensitization in order to benefit from this therapeutic approach” – I don’t know if I go to far as to call it a phobia in my case, but it’s definitely an aversion which is accompanied by avoidance behaviour.

    You’ve described in some of your previous posts that a lot of your discomfort with SP ties in with how it affects your relationship with Bea, and I wondered whether the physical aspects of it bother you much?


    • I’m not sure if this will answer your question, or be helpful, but here goes:
      I do have a lot of trouble with body stuff. I’ve spent most of my life being dissociated in some way or another. For a good portion of my life I was very disconnected (to the point my memories are disconnected and don’t feel like “me”) from my life and from myself. I functioned quite well, and was “perfect”. I’ve often described that as living in my head. I couldn’t be connected to my body, or be too much in the present because it wasn’t safe, either due to abuse taking place or because I couldn’t feel my feelings and still be loved and accepted by my mother. In the very beginning of trauma therapy, Bea would ask me to breathe, to focus on my breath and even that would send me over the edge and into a panicking spiral. We ended up with a sort of strange way of processing trauma, but it worked for the younger parts. The difficult thing was that I would know I was sad, but that feeling didn’t feel real, because I wasn’t connected to my body. Bea and I eventually found a yoga therapist who specialized in trauma. She was awesome. We spent a lot of time just sitting, and talking. The funny thing is, if I didn’t think about what she was doing, I could easily copy it thanks to years of classical ballet training. But if I tried to think about it, or be aware of or feel what I was doing, I would panic. Anyway, with lots of work and collaboration and doing things very slowly, I got to a point where yoga was something I looked forward to. Now I practice on my own or go to regular classes. But no way could I have even attempted to read any of this SP stuff back then! I was seriously body phobic. Just the word “body” is still enough to make me dissociate a little bit. The physical aspect of SP is what makes it aversive to me. The idea is really fully feeling my body, in connection to this more difficult therapy stuff (as opposed to yoga which is hard enough!) is terrifying. I guess where the relationship part comes in is because I end up scared I’m disappointing Bea, or not good enough for her because I’m scared and won’t cooperate. Bea also is different, or I guess she has changed her approach to things, changed her way of working with trauma material, and that makes the little parts wary. They don’t like or trust change. At the end of the day, though, Bea is still Bea, no matter what. I do truly believe that the heart or core or spirit of who she is never changes. It’s just that as she learns other ways to heal from trauma, she adds those things to her toolbox. It’s also unfortunate that they very thing that might help heal my hurts is also the very thing that hurt me: body stuff. And to little Alice, body stuff is body stuff and none of it is safe.

      So, that got longer than I planned, but hopefully it answered your question.

      Also, I do think that the body stuff can be worked on, it’s just a matter of being careful and slow about it. I mean, 3 years ago I wouldn’t have even been able to think about SP. Now, actually answering the questions or doing the exercises is not something I have been able to do– that is too overwhelming for me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Reading it is mostly okay. Some of it is confusing, like I don’t recognize those things as body feelings or whatever, or I just don’t get it. I’m not sure. I’ve not been able to answer any body stuff questions and won’t do the exercises in the book, but I read it and tell Bea that things in it confuse me.

      Like this “saying yes with your eyes”. What is that? Did I say yes with my eyes even though I didn’t actually say yes or no? What does that look like? Or feel like? I don’t get it. (That’s the sort of stuff confuses me a lot).


  3. All of in this system (apart from nineteen and I) have the underbounded style, whereas she and I have the other ones. I have holes in my boundaries and she is rigidly overbounded sometimes. We are definitely going to work on that. The younger ones are at risk of getting taken advantage of, and the two of us shut people out as a defensive move. Thank you for posting these x


  4. So interesting–I am learning similar things these days in my own therapy work as well. I work with C, the mind/body therapist once or twice a month. Just recently we were talking about body posture and its impact on emotions. This was in the context of the fight-fight-submit-surrender response. I said I tend to submit or surrender, which is also a source of shame to me (why aren’t I a fighter?). C said, first of all, they are all human responses and one is not superior to another. Second, to counter that impulse to collapse in on myself, I can be mindful of how I sit or stand. I can also practice chest-opening asanas in yoga. Things like that (which correspond to the recommendations here for a person who struggles with setting boundaries) feel helpful to me.

    Thank you for helping!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting that we are both working on this. I worked before in yoga therapy to do lots of backbends (which oddly is an Asana I love) to counteract my shoulders being collapsed. I still remember when she helped move my shoulders and posture to where they should be and how strange that felt—- and a little uncomfortable!

      I’m glad this was helpful to you! 💟🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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