Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.
We have all had people in our lives that have violated our boundaries, whether it’s a family member who expects you do whatever they want, a neighbor who believes they are the only one’s living on your street, or a friend who just drops in without giving you notice.
Reflect: Has anyone crossed your personal boundaries with you? How did it make you feel? Violated, angry, or powerless.
Personal boundaries are important and here are 4 major reason why:
- Protects you from being manipulated.
- Protects you from being used.
- Protects you from being violated.
- Separates who you are and what you think and feel from the thoughts and feelings of others.
Emotional boundaries protect you from feeling guilty for someone else’s negative feelings or problems or taking comments personally.
Having healthy emotional boundaries you are able to do the following:
- Say no to tasks you don’t want to do or have time to do.
- Protect your time-don’t overcommit.
- Ask for space because we all need time.
Traits that people have who do not respect your boundaries:
- Lie regularly.
- Take advantage of your kindness.
- Manipulate to get what they want.
- Don’t consider your feelings, are inconsiderate and selfish.
- Feel entitled to do and behave as they please.
- Can be narcissistic.
- Socially immature or awkward.
Traits of people who respect your boundaries:
- There is a mutual respect. Both parties are considerate and thoughtful.
- Physical and emotional boundaries are respected.
- Open and honest communication without defensiveness, withdrawal, or pouting.
Unfortunately, you can’t force people to respect your personal boundaries, unless something they are doing is against the law. You do however more control than you think.
Boundaries need to be clear and consistent with those that don’t respect you. Such people look for holes in your boundaries, and will try and try to cause a breach in your boundaries-STAY CLEAR AND CONSISTENT, what you will and will not tolerate. Follow through with consequences when the violator breaks a boundary with you. If you don’t force consequences, rest assured the violator will continue their behavior.
Narcissistic people intentionally will violate boundaries to hurt you, get a reaction out of you, and to exert control. If you confront a narcissistic violator, they will come across prideful, unaware of your feelings, and may even laugh at your request for them to stop a certain action or behavior. Narcissistic people are looking to argue with you, and enjoy when you become upset by one of their tactics.
If you have gotten frustrated or even angry at the repeated violators in your life, cut yourself some slack; it is difficult to deal with those who clearly don’t respect you or care about your feelings.
What can you do when others violate your boundaries:
- Know your limits (physical, emotional and social). Set firm and clear consequences when those boundaries are violated.
- If you are getting angry, frustrated and/or exhausted dealing with someone, step back from the relationship/situation until you can regain your peace and composure.
- Recognize you do have needs, and that you should voice those needs to If they don’t listen or care, that is not your problem (if you are dealing with a narcissistic person, they will not care to change their behaviors and very likely will continue).
- Contact authorities if the violation against you is illegal.
- Have a 3rd party meditate if you are not getting through to your violator.
- Maintain a healthy distance from those who repeatedly violate you with no course correction for their actions, or who are indifferent to your needs (if the person you need to distance yourself from lives in close proximity to you or is a family member, you will need to distance yourself emotionally until there is mutual respect). Emotional distance means keeping your heart guarded, choosing to respond verses react when they violate you in some way, and maintaining your inner peace by the strength of the Holy Spirit.
- Ask God for His assistance in dealing with those who repeatedly harm you in some manner. Our God is just and He is our help in time of need.
- Keep your cool, when your boundary is violated. Walk away, breath, and pray. When you respond in anger your judgment gets clouded. As a believer in Jesus Christ, you have the authority to bind the enemy. Use your authority and bind the spirits that are causing you trouble.
Setting boundaries is healthy, and having good boundaries means clearly what is OK and not OK and letting others know it. If you don’t set boundaries, you allow people to get away with behaviors that are not OK, and you in the end will end-up stressed, anxious, frustrated and angry.
What about you, have others violated your boundaries? How did you respond and how would you like to respond now after reading this article?