The past weeks we’ve been discussing boundaries. You know why we all need boundaries and how to set them. This week is on what to do when people refuse to respect those newly set boundaries.
I truly believe most people are good natured and don’t want to hurt others. Some people take a bit to get use to a new routine. However, with a few reminders they will respect you boundary – and you. This is how healthy relations work.
But today we are talking about how to deal with those folks that are still waiting to hop on the emotionally healthy bus.
In my experience there are two types of boundary breakers – that ones that fear losing you and those ones that want to use you.
Let’s start with the ones that fear losing you. Typically these are good hearted people with good intentions, but internal insecurities that have not resolved. They can smother you with an unhealthy interpretation of love. This is the parent that tries to take over parenting their adult child’s children – without need, or comes in the house without invitation at all hours of the day and night. These pushers only want the best for you – their interpretation of best. These people are oblivious to the fact they are running roughshod over your life.
You set boundaries – “Mom, I appreciate all you do, but please don’t come over and let yourself in at ten at night just to check on us. Vern and I really need you to visit during the day and call first.” The next night mom pops in at ten o’clock at night while you and Vern are working on some night moves. Let’s face it. No reminder is going to work. Change the locks, kids, and don’t share that key.
Yes, this is an extreme example, but it’s a true story from a friend. There was crying, screaming, and accusations that Vern put my friend up to repealing her mother’s freedom. In the end Mom learned to use the phone. Mom had lost her husband the year before. Greif can cause same people to act off. Grace and firmness won the day.
However, there is another class of boundary breakers I’ve encountered. They know what they are doing. I was married to this sort. I do not believe that most people are bad, but I do believe that the bad ones enjoy pulling others into their mire. I’ve come to the conclusion that insecurity is also at the center of these types of actions. The difference is they completely lack empathy. I’m discussing narcissist and anti social individuals.
Pushers feel love, but posses poor skills. Anti-social and narcissistic individuals use the imitation of love and friendship as a lock pick to your life and then slowly begin to manipulate you, violating your boundaries. They are highly skilled in manipulation.
A conversation with them on why your boundary is in place only leads to more information on how to manipulate you. Give your boundary without reason. Draw your line in concrete, not in the sand. Then do not engage. When they step over the line, and they will, leave the relationship. When they call screaming and yelling, or cold and with ultimatums, hang up. Leave the room. Do not engage. When they twist your words – ignore them. Document and record your conversations. When they agree to a boundary and violate it – play it back, say nothing. Do not engage.
If you can, leave. They will eventually tire because what they want is to play with your emotions. If you do not give them what they want – they stop playing and eventually leave you alone.
The majority of the boundary breakers you meet are pushers. They are annoying, but still lovable. They try to control without even knowing. If you have a full blown narcissist or sociopath in your life – get out of the relationship. If it’s a coworker start a ‘CYA” or Cover your assets file. Document everything – same goes for anyone getting away from a marriage. *Be sure to check your state’s laws on recording conversations in legal situations*.
Today’s topic was not as pleasant as others. However, it is important to our emotional and mental health to discuss this issue. You deserve to be in a healthy, loving, kind relationship with yourself and others. You deserve to feel safe emotionally and physically without the drama of abuse. You deserve the chance to grow into the person you came here to become. You deserve love.
Set your boundaries. Stick to them. Know that most people are good in heart and not everyone needs a place at the table of your heart.
Join us next time as we wrap up the Boundaries series with a discussion on how to set internal boundaries.
Until next time, In all you do,
Craft no Harm,
Moriah and the flock