I need to have a clear understanding of where your territory ends and mine begins in order to enjoy a healthy relationship, which is normally my goal when interacting with people in my life, either briefly or for much longer time frames.
This territory involves several areas for consideration including my physical space or body, which is fairly easy to define. I prefer a minimum of 1-2 feet of personal space around my body, unless I invite you to be closer, either by words, actions or previous experience. Close talkers and hoverers make me feel uncomfortable and I will generally take a full step back from their overly close proximity, to regain my personal space comfort level. I do not worry that taking a step away will hurt their feelings, I am more concerned with my own. In the past when I was a true codependent I would of endured high levels of discomfort so that YOU could be comfortable even if I only thought you might be offended.
My emotional territory is a more elusive factor, and also depends on our past experience. I wear my heart on my sleeve, its easy to tell my mood, in fact just this morning at work, someone I have had a few interactions with could immediately “tell” that today I am upset, out of sorts and she intruded by wanting to know what happened. I claimed my emotional territory by telling her nothing was wrong, she knows I am not being 100% truthful and I do not care, its none of her business what is wrong today. It’s just not her territory. In the past people would say mind your own business.
That leaves both mental and spiritual territory which I treat in much the same manner as my emotional territory. I guard against those who would unknowingly upset my balance. Sometimes its myself. I grew up a melancholy child, I trace it back to being sexually abused by several people, there was the gang of 3 teenagers when I was nine who terrorized me in a laundry room.
They did not need to actually penetrate me in order to do lasting damage. There was the father of twins from down the street who tried to kiss me in his car, I knew what his intention was too. My older cousin, home from the war who cornered me when I was 14, what a slime ball. And the older girl who invited me to spend the night, I was so thrilled to have her attention, and then she did put her hands inside my vagina. I ran home crying and never spoke of the betrayal until, well, until I was 39 years old. That was when I recognized I own my personal territory. Just me. It’s all mine. No one else has the right to my body, my mind, my soul or my brain. I may give my territory with my explicit permission, but I get to say when. Maybe this comes naturally for some people but it did not for me, I have had to create safe spaces, I have had to learn my boundaries. Because I have learned mine, now I recognize your territory also. I now know exactly what my territory is today and because I know, I feel secure.