boundaries 101


If you want to change your life and raise your self-respect, read on. If you are caught up in other people’s bad day and “tossed to and fro by the winds of doctrine” as the scriptures tell us then read on. In this case “doctrine” represents other people’s core belief system.   If you know someone who believes the world is against them and nothing good will come to them unless they push their weight around to get it, then you know someone with a negative core belief system. If you know someone who doesn’t believe in themselves and has no self-esteem to right the wrongs that seem to bombard them daily, then again, this is a negative core belief system.

Our core belief system governs our reactions to the events that occur each day.   Every interaction and word is filtered through this system. The only control you have is to set boundaries that do not reward such behavior or allow yourself to be drawn into the chaos created by this behavior.   Every action and every word is a choice. You can choose to change by setting boundaries.

Boundaries are words, body language, positive action or feedback, silence, a positive core belief system, not joining in, not taking sides, neutrality on the issue at hand and not getting caught up in an argument or altercation.   When you can sense déjà vu with someone and have a pretty good idea of what’s next, then prepare to draw from your “boundaries 101” kitbag.

Your best reaction could be one of just listening to this person and giving them a chance to be heard and affirmed in some way without giving advice or lectures. Many times, if you just show some evidence of compassion that you care and understand even if you don’t agree, it can diffuse escalation. You might be able to brainstorm with this person about what could be the best choice of behavior or words to counter that to which they’re reacting. You don’t have to become a personal counselor to anyone to help them figure out what their problems are, just set boundaries. Choose a behavior that demonstrates how much you value yourself and them. Everyone has a right to believe in whatever they want. It’s not your place to change that.

A person with a negative core belief system might be looking to you for some kind of anger/rage energy release through arguing and even intimidation. Of course, if the possibility exists for such an altercation to turn into violence, you need to take steps to remove yourself and anyone else in the path of this outburst that could suffer harm.

Years ago, when I learned to set boundaries on people who could otherwise ruin my positive outlook, I discovered a wonderful personal power that has only made my life better and better. When I work with clients who come to me, just teaching them about boundaries can be the beginning of a new life for them. Many have toxic family relationships that can lead to very bad decisions just to escape and numb yourself to the pain. Education in coping skills is a powerful tool for changing your life. You can over time, replace a negative core belief with one that is positive and hopeful.

I Peter 3:14-18

But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

One client suffered for years as a child and now as an adult, with a mom who singled her out to belittle and humiliate as she was growing up, even suffering extreme physical abuse at her hands. At the same time, this mom was treating her siblings differently, with respect. She stood a lot taller the day she took a stand and appropriately told her mother that she was no longer going to put up with the abuse but hoped to some day find a way to have a positive relationship with her.   She stopped taking her mom’s abusive calls and no longer kept in contact with her.   Boundaries are the only ways we can shine a light on dysfunctional, even abusive behavior. The perpetrator just cannot see what they are doing until that behavior is no longer allowed or rewarded.   If we go along, thinking we deserve what’s happening to us and accept negative attention as being better than no attention at all then nothing will change. It will only get worse. Unfortunately, many continue on with the treatment they have been given, thinking it is normal and okay, affecting generations as it is passed down. You might be the one in your generation that is seeking a better way.

It takes courage to change and do the right thing. The right thing is respect for yourself and others through boundary-setting.

You have an impact on your entire family-community by what you say and do. Imagine changing that the day you take a stand for yourself and choose to walk a different path that restores life to yourself and others.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s