People with shitty boundaries* usually have a strong and fearsome inner critic.
An inner voice that says "you don't deserve that."
A gruff value-system that believes in hard work and earning.
A harsh-self-evaluator that knows others will stop loving you if you don't perform the duties and hard work and sacrifices relationships require.
(*Shitty boundaries are not bad boundaries, there's no such thing as good or bad boundaries, there are only boundaries which provide the experience we each have. Shitty boundaries are boundaries that provide a shitty experience, in the estimation and value-system of the person having the experience.)
This critic believes that hard work and sacrifice and earning will lead to *later* blessings, blessings that, by the time they arrive, you will deserve. It believes that there is a reward just beyond the next bend of suffering, and that when you get the reward you will finally allow yourself to feel good.
This harsh evaluator believes that love and honor and reverence could not possibly come for you NOW, not as you are, so flawed and damaged and broken. BUT if you are essential, if you are needed, if others depend on you, you will blossom into someone who must necessarily be loved. If you are there to help at a moment's notice, that's sure to make you valued. No one can argue with the lovability of the things you need!
A lot of boundary work is missing this simple question--are you actually allowed to feel good?
Do you truly believe that the things you want can be yours right now, that you can exclusively experience respect in relationships, and that your life can feel good all the time?
Or is your inner critic running the show, trying desperately to GET you what you want, because the idea of simply receiving it is inconceivable, shameful, or audacious?
Working with the inner critic is incredibly challenging, because any goal whatsoever is an open door for the inner critic to begin their work.
This is what makes me an expert at working with clients who have a strong and persistent inner critic--the work I do is not linear or goal-driven. It is not about creating or destroying. It is a martial art--noticing, allowing, following.
The inner critic thrives on criticism and opportunities to be critical. It's in a perpetuating cycle with thoughts that things should be better, that you have a goal to achieve, that you're doing things wrong.
Breaking the perpetuation of this cycle happens with skillfully tuned permission to not-achieve, not-improve, permission to be wrong and do the wrong thing. When this is held well, it is upright rather than collapsed--consciously resting rather than procrastinating or avoiding. The inner critic, disarmed of its war-fuel, can then be tricked into experiencing success in this very moment.
Because it isn't fair to call that part the inner critic, after all.
It only became critical because it got confused about success.
It's actually the part that believes in you and believes in your success.
Only the part that believes you can do anything feels justified to beat you up for not doing everything.
This is the part that believes in you the absolute most, the part that, given better information about how the world works, becomes your greatest inner ally.
This is the relationship my clients come to me to work. Working it the way I do takes you in directions you never imagined for yourself. It makes new things possible and reveals the hollowness of stagnant dreams.
It leads to boundaries in every area of life that are actually high-as-fuck standards. These standards return an experience you can approve of and agree with, as well as a value-system of what feels good and what does not feel good that is actually resonant with the entirety of you.
It's not enough to know that you choose your experience. You must unlock your ability to choose experiences that you have barred yourself from having in many small and subversive ways.
You must befriend and recruit that part of you that's critical so that its powerful devotion is curating the experience of your life that you desire for yourself on the deepest level.
I'll be here when you're ready, and if you want to just dip a toe in, check out The Boundary Course.