Boundaries within a safe space are not meant to be set in stone. The problem of course comes when negotiation becomes a matter of pushing boundaries to simply benefit one side in the space or relationship. Nonetheless, boundaries can and should be negotiated in the creation of such a safe space, unless a hard limit is hit.

Regardless of whether a hard limit is involved though, the key thing about boundaries is to make sure that consequences are carried out. Again, not as a threat – but as a result of the violation of boundaries, especially those that have been negotiated. Consequences need not only be about leaving the relationship – another strip will cover that later.

If we struggle with the consequences of boundary violation, then we must understand our own role and responsibilities in keeping a space safe. In the special case of abuse, if the abuser is in the space, that space is clearly unsafe, so our boundaries may already have been threatened or violated. Otherwise, we do have a duty in the space to maintain the agreed upon boundaries, no matter how aggrieved we may feel.

Or we may end up being the ones causing others to feel unsafe in the space.