We know that one very important aspect of taking loving care of ourselves is to set loving boundaries for ourselves. Whether or not a boundary is loving depends upon which aspect of you is setting the boundary — your ego wounded self or your loving Adult.
The intent of the wounded self in setting a boundary is to have control over not being controlled or rejected by another. The ego wounded self comes from the fear of being invaded, rejected, engulfed, abandoned, seen as wrong, bad or unworthy, and projects these possibilities from the past onto the present moment. Instead of discerning what is actually happening in the moment, the wounded self protects ahead of time, just in case someone may be invading or rejecting. The wounded self enters an interaction already defended against his or her fears.
The intent of the loving adult self in setting a boundary is to take loving care of oneself in the moment. The loving adult discerns whether another is open or closed, loving or unloving. As a loving adult, you are compassionately aware of your feelings in the moment (Step One of Inner Bonding ). If there is anything other than peace within, the loving adult immediately moves into an intent to learn (Step Two of Inner Bonding) to determine what you are reacting to (Step Three) and how to handle it lovingly (Step Four). The loving adult then sets the boundary (Step Five) to take care of yourself. Sometimes the boundary can be set softly, along with an intent to learn with the other: "I don't like being spoken to with this anger (or defensiveness, etc.). Do you want to talk about what is upsetting you?" Other times, when you already know the other will not open, the boundary needs to be set firmly and acted upon immediately, saying something like "This doesn't feel good. Let's talk when you feel open," while disengaging from the conversation.