Setting healthy boundaries with those who have none

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/09/2020 (754 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

You may know that I go live on Facebook several times a week, talking about various topics: mindset, nutrition, exercise, and so on. I have a lot of fun with these videos, and you can find them on my social media. Just search my name.

The other day, I was honoured to have a friend ask me to talk about setting boundaries with those who have none, and she particularly stipulated “without hurting their feelings.” After confirming with her that the person in question was not a child or a person with special needs, I told her the following.

Just as we cannot control other people, we also are not responsible for their feelings. Adults are responsible for their own feelings. They may need help dealing with them, so they may benefit from a referral to a life coach or a therapist. But you are never responsible for other people’s feelings. Check with yourself that you are not speaking to them with the intent to hurt. If you are being kind but firm, their anger, disappointment or tantrums are on them, not on you.

As to the boundaries themselves, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is only one reason that people feel entitled to violate our boundaries. That reason is that we have taught them that it is OK for them to do so, by tolerating their behaviour.

Allow me to shout from the rooftops that it is OK to say no to things you don’t want to do. It is OK to take time for yourself, even if it is “only” for a cup of tea and a good book. If you are caring for a toddler or a sick person, you may have to make arrangements to be able to take that time, but you must never, ever, allow anyone to make you feel guilty for taking it.

It is OK to set spatial boundaries as well. You can refuse to allow people to show up at your house unannounced. You can refuse to let people use your things. You can refuse to go places you feel unwelcome.

The habit of allowing people to violate your boundaries is just as hard to break as any other habit, but with support, you can do it. Not only will your own life be better, but you are actually doing your friends and family a favour by modelling healthy boundaries and healthy self-love.

You may need to keep repeating this until you believe it.

What boundaries will you set today?

Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog/

Hadass Eviatar

Hadass Eviatar
West Kildonan community correspondent

Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan.

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