Lately I have been told that I have trouble with personal boundaries. Well I lied I have been told this on and off through out my life, and I’ll be honest with you, most of the time I didn’t understand WTF they were talking about, because sometimes it seems all I have are boundaries. My walls are up man, way up and impenetrable. It’s like no one can get through, many times not even my therapist, except when it comes to men and then I feel like the welcome wagon rolling out the red carpet for every stone cold loser who walks the planet and the horse they rode in on. I’ll tell you what it gets tiring, really tiring. If you have been reading along these past months you will note that I have taken a break from dating and April marked a full year since the last time I was in a relationship and the last time I had sex, awful right. Yup sometimes it sucks, most of the time lately not so much. I have also had to weed some people out of my life. People who I felt were not helpful to my recovery from this boundary-less nature of mine. I have done it and sometimes I have not been so nice about it. Perhaps I have been too sensitive about it. Perhaps I have a sensitive heart. See sometimes I wonder if I am just building more walls rather than letting people and issues flow in and out of my life with grace and ease, you know like a water permeable membrane of something. But, so, I was looking up stuff about boundaries and I came across a little test on the website of Dr. Debra Mandel where she is promoting her book:
I love me a good book, but I have been staying away from them lately since I would rather just do my own thing right now and learn what works and what doesn’t on my own, but far be it for me to withhold information from you so I posted it. I have not read it and cannot vouch for it, but I like to give credit where credit is due. She also has another one called, “Your Mother is Not Your Boss” and if I were writing one I would entitle it, “You Are NOT the Boss of Me!”, but that’s another matter for another post. Anyway when I came across the site I saw you could take a test. I love me a good book and I love me a good test, so I set about taking it and I must say I was disappointed with my score, 54. I was disappointed and a enlightened because first of all I wasn’t totally devastated because I got a bad score and secondly I realize that I still have some work to do and I am in the correct place to do it. Oh and another important point I would like to make is, I did not run right out and buy the book as I would have in the past because I am feeling pretty fucking confident about where my life is going right now. I have however copied the test and am posting it here for anyone who likes to take tests. I will also preface by saying if you are in a physically abusive relationship right now you need to get help and there are tons of resources in your area that can help. Call your local police department, use the local number or if you feel you are in danger call 911. That being said here’s the test.
TAKE THE TEST: AT WHAT LEVEL IS YOUR HEART
After treating hundreds of people with sensitive hearts, I’ve developed the following exam to help identify the major indicators. By providing a detailed overview and familiar points of reference, the results of this test can serve as a valuable tool in helping discover if you-or someone you love-continues to suffer the havoc of an unhealed bruised heart.
Don’t be surprised if you identify with many or even most of these questions. Emotional wounds are found in every state, region, and family group; the process of becoming heart-sensitive shows no favoritism to intelligence, creativity, gender, race, or social class. Read the following twenty-five questions, and choose the response that best describes how you feel most of the time. Then add up your total score.
Never (0 points) Frequently (3 points)
Seldom (1 point) Always (4 points)
Sometimes (2 points)
Give yourself a 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 according to your answer to each question.
____ 1. Do you feel unloved?
____ 2. Do you feel undeserving of things you want?
____ 3. Are you dissatisfied with the way you are treated in your close relationships?
____ 4. Do you feel you were abused in childhood by any of the following: family, other caregivers, peer group, cultural prejudices, or sexism?
____ 5. Do you treat yourself destructively by eating too much or not enough, through alcohol or drugs, overspending, gambling, excessive exercise, or any other mechanism?
____ 6. Do you feel powerless or out of control?
____ 7. Do you get annoyed or scared when you discover you have different feelings, reactions, or thoughts from people close to you?
____ 8. Do you feel you stay in situations that may be hurting you or where you cut others too much slack?
____ 9. Do you avoid situations where you may experience unwanted feelings like fear, anger, sadness, or even happiness in order to appear “together” or “strong”?
____ 10. Do you feel shame?
____ 11. Do you take responsibility for things that have little or nothing to do with you?
____ 12. Do you censor your opinions or feelings for fear of being put down, attacked, or criticized by either friends, relatives, or strangers?
____ 13. Do you go out of your way to be nice to people even when you’re angry with them or when they have been unkind or abusive to you?
____ 14. Do you overreact to situations that aren’t really a big deal (or do others tell you that you do)?
____ 15. Do you have a pessimistic view of the world or of your future?
____ 16. Do you expect special treatment from people who don’t know you?
____ 17. Do you have relationships with individuals who call you “high maintenance” or “needy”?
____ 18. Do you startle at unexpected noises, loud voices, movements, or emotional reactions in others?
____ 19. Do you have difficulty saying “no,” or do you say “yes” when you mean “no”?
____ 20. Do you regret decisions you make?
____ 21. Do you dismiss your needs as unimportant or have difficulty even knowing what your needs are?
____ 22. Do you distrust the intentions of people who are nice to you even when they’ve never given you a reason to doubt them?
____ 23. Do you have trouble committing to relationships, or, if you’ve made a commitment, do you have trouble honoring it?
____ 24. Do you gloss over (or deny) “red flags” at the beginning of intimate relationships or friendships and then feel betrayed when problems develop later on?
____ 25. Do you feel that problems or “bad” things that happen are your fault even when you know or others tell you they’re not?
____ YOUR TOTAL SCORE
Once you’ve finished and added up your score, refer to the evaluation below to discover how deeply your wounds continue to keep you heart-sensitive and interrupt your thriving.
Note: If you scored between 0 and 5, any traces of emotional wounds should almost be nonexistent. However, if you feel that some of the symptoms of a sensitive heart are affecting your behavior or beliefs, then you could be in denial regarding a number of areas. In that case, read the evaluations for Levels 1 through 4 to see which one strikes the most responsive chord.
Level One: 6-24 points
Level Two: 25-49 points
Level Three: 50-74 points
Level Four: 75-100 points
If you are a Level One , you suffer a low amount of pain from emotional sensitivities. You may have done some healing work through self-help or therapy, may not have experienced your childhood as wounding, or you may have really done some positive mending in your life to make whatever you experienced less debilitating than it once was or could have been. Or, if you were badly wounded, you may have that wonderful constitution where even the worst events roll off your back, leaving you relatively unscathed. Nevertheless, you can benefit from this book because there is another level of emotional well-being-healthy-heartedness-that you may wish to attain.
If you are a Level Two , you are likely to experience a significant amount of distress in your day-to-day living and in your relationships. While you are probably not a complete prisoner to suffering, you may be, at times, driven by fear and anger rather than by conscious, rational decision-making. By entering a reactive mode, you may end relationships prematurely to avoid possible revictimization.
You’re prone to becoming defensive, and you believe the only way to protect yourself from inevitable danger is to cut it off before it even begins to happen. As a matter of fact, you may avoid relationships entirely or only have superficial ones, figuring they will deteriorate anyway. You’re likely to perceive more behaviors as wounding and as a bigger deal than they actually are in order to avoid any possibility of further emotional trauma. This style becomes an insurance policy to keep you safe. Yet this over-inclusion of behaviors into the category of wounds reduces your opportunities for spontaneity and for a passionate existence.
You tend to be on the lookout for potential emotional “wounders” in your life. You may unknowingly attract and select individuals who confirm your perception that people can’t be trusted. Because of your past fears, you may limit the delight of meeting new people.
If you are a Level Three, you probably wonder why you continue to be unhappy and chronically hurt in your relationships. You may feel like a victim of bad circumstances. If there were a hundred people in a room with ninety-nine of them “nice,” you’d be likely to find the one bad apple among them. You probably experience yourself as powerless and have difficulty seeing available choices and options.
You may believe you don’t deserve anything better and find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place. You rationalize wounding behavior from others as something you caused or deserved. Equally disturbing, you may fail to perceive such behavior in others: it’s what you’re most familiar with, and you don’t know to expect anything different. On top of that, you may not recognize or take seriously the possibility that you might be wounding others, rationalizing that you have no other choice.
If you are a Level Four , you probably constantly sacrifice your needs for the sake of others. You live in a psychological prison with maximum security, not able to see any escape. Because of intense shame, self-doubt, or self-hatred, you may not be able to accept acts of kindness even when right in front of you. You’re so used to being mistreated that you may not know any other kind of treatment exists. You desperately want to feel better, but you may not know where to turn for help. You also may not trust the help that is available. You may have become a walking magnet for mistreatment. Abusive people have radar for spotting you because they are consciously or unconsciously searching for someone to exploit, and you display all the hallmarks of the perfect target.
This test gives you an opportunity to see how a sensitive heart can keep you trapped. However, sensitive-hearted people share many specific characteristics, traits, and behaviors that can create problems, pain, and separation.