Published on December 27th, 2013 | by Sharideth Smith
Relationship Boundaries Protect You From These 4 People
The holidays are terrible. People all up in your none-of-their-business. You want boundaries? That’s adorable.
Adorable to them.
Necessary to you.
Boundaries are life giving in your relationships. They are the Superman of “Oh, hell no.” They cut your valium dosage down to less than half. They also come in from the backside to build your self-confidence. Learning to say no and giving those who push too far a straight arm to the face is empowering.
Here’s a news flash. You train those around you how to treat you. You never say no? They’re going to take advantage. You always let them bully you into answering their obnoxious questions or demands? They will keep at it until the day you die. When you can say “enough,” others will follow suit.
The reasons your family and friends violate your boundaries are as numerous as the tea cups in the collection at your Great Aunt Bea’s. But I’ve narrowed it down to four types of people who violate your relationship boundaries and how to deal with them.
1. The Sincere Person. There will always be people who mean well when they publicly embarrass you with awkward questions. For them, there is grace but no requirement for full disclosure. Try: “Yeah, um, about that…You know, thanks for asking, but I’m good. Maybe we can talk about it when we don’t have an audience.” A sincere person will back off, maybe even feel a little embarrassed if you’re lucky.
2. The Nosy Person. Feel free to shoot nosy people for sport. Shoot them with your words, that is. Nosy people are easy to identify. They ask questions they have no right asking, and they expect you to respond. They are so direct about it, you feel obligated to answer. NAY! There is an easy way to shut that mess down. Just one question: “Why do you want to know?” Then just stare at them and wait for the sputtering. This is called “The Awkward Bait and Switch.” Works like a charm.
3. The User. Those who struggle with boundaries (like you) tend to be pretty nice people. Often, too nice. They will open their arms to a 50-pound weight when they’re already drowning. And users know it. Users take advantage of people who have a hard time saying no, and they have exactly zero conscience about it. That’s the expectation. Not sure if you’re dealing with a user? Try saying no. If you get a guilt trip or anger or a “What’s the matter with you?”, you’ve got a user on your hands. Know what you do when you get something on your hands? That’s right. You wash it off.
4. The Abuser. Abusers like nothing more than someone who can’t say no or is too desperate to please others. It makes it easier for them to control, to isolate, and to create an environment of fear. If you cannot say no in a relationship without being punished emotionally, verbally, or physically, you are dealing with an abuser. Get help. You are NEVER as alone as an abuser leads you to believe. There are family members and friends just waiting for you to ask. Set your first boundary by saying “No more.” Make the call. Again, get help.
Look, nobody expects you to instantly become a powerhouse of self-confidence. Depending on their own level of douchebaggery, they may not expect it at all. Surprise them. Surprise yourself. Start with arm’s length and progress to a restraining order if necessary.
Individuals will tell you exactly how far back those boundaries have to be if you pay attention. The harder they push, the farther away the line moves.
Go get ‘em. Or…get away from them. Whichever.