Crossing the Line and Disrespecting Boundaries
Knowing what is ok with you and what is not ok with you is one thing. Expressing what is ok with you and not ok with you with others is another! When people cross the line and disrespect something that is not ok with you, it is important that they know what they have done!
In many situations, boundaries are a healthy thing to set beforehand. There are situations where boundaries might not be set beforehand but should be set immediately once the line has been crossed.
The Law of The Land
Setting boundaries so each party knows what is ok and what is not ok can prevent us from exploding or becoming extremely irate when the line is crossed. Why? Because it allows us to point out that the line was crossed and express our disappointment concerning the situation.
Jessica is giving Stacy a ride to work in the morning. The two have been friends for a long time and Jessica is more than happy to help Stacy during this difficult time. No boundaries were set. Every morning, Jessica arrives at Stacy’s house and sits and waits for Jessica to come out of the house.
The first day that Stacy comes out of her house 10 minutes late, she profusely apologizes. Jessica says, “it’s ok, I run late sometimes too.” This would be a “setting boundaries moment since they hadn’t been set from the beginning. Instead, Jessica “ok’s” Stacy’s behavior. Jessica doesn’t know that she is crossing the line and disrespecting Jessica’s boundaries.
Jessica should say, “Stacy, I’m happy about being able to help you, but I cannot be late for work. If you continue to be late, I won’t be able to pick you up in the morning!
The Boundary Is Now Set
The next time Stacy is late, it will be the last time Jessica will be picking her up. This won’t come from an angry place, (Jessica being irate) it will come from a “you were told that I cannot be late for work and you crossed the line,” perspective. There won’t be any anger or potential “friendship ending drama” involved.
Most likely, if this happens, Stacy will get mad and stop being friends with Jessica. This is possible! If this were to happen, regardless of how many years they had been friends, this would mean Stacy wasn’t Jessica’s friend in the first place. Friends don’t cross each others’ boundaries, they respect each other.
Boundaries are hard to make
Instead, Jessica doesn’t say a word to Stacy about being late (coming out of her house late) because Jessica doesn’t want Stacy to get upset. Jessica doesn’t want to come across as harsh or mean. So, Jessica just deals with it, or she blows up one day when she has had enough (ending the friendship for sure)
Boundaries are hard to make because we don’t want to come across as mean. Boundaries seem like a bad thing (telling a friend what to do or what not to do). The truth is, boundaries are “what is ok with us and what is not ok with us.” Boundaries aren’t mean, harsh or bad. If the people around you don’t know what the boundaries are can they be blamed for crossing them? No.
If Stacy had been asked not to be late again and the consequence (not being given a ride) understood, Stacy would probably not be late again (respecting Jessica’s boundaries). If Stacy understands the boundaries and doesn’t respect them, then the friendship will most likely come to a screeching halt, and it should!
Don’t Kiss Me
A boy and a girl go to the movies. The boy has “boyfriend/girlfriend” on his mind, but the girl doesn’t, she thinks they are just friends. She doesn’t tell the boy, “Don’t try to get fresh with me or I’ll knock your block off,” before they go to the movies. Why would she?
While they are watching the movie, the boy reaches over and holds the girl’s hand. Now is the time to set a boundary. The girl should have the conversation immediately with the boy that she is not interested in him and she should take her hand back.
She doesn’t though (for this example). She doesn’t want to cause a scene or “hurt his feelings.” So, she lets him hold her hand. When the movie is over, he goes in for a kiss. The girl “blows up in his face.” Now she is furious and “lays down the law.”
We can see in this example that setting a boundary beforehand (before the movie) would be odd. However, once the line has been crossed it needs to be addressed.
There are times that setting boundaries beforehand makes perfect sense however. If you were to get a new roommate for example. Letting the new roommate know that the dishes they make are the dishes they need to wash and that there is “no company after 10 pm” are examples of boundaries. Telling the new roommate what will happen if he or she violates these boundaries would probably also be a great idea (so they know this is serious)
Boundaries Are Self Care and Respect
• To communicate your needs in a relationship (what is ok and not ok)
• To set limits in a relationship in a way that is good for you, or healthy!
Boundaries are uncomfortable to make, but it is also uncomfortable to have someone “run all over you.” We’ve all be run over before, taken advantage of, etc. Ask yourself if the uncomfortableness of setting boundaries outweighs the uncomfortableness of being taken advantage of? Surely not!
Boundaries and What to Do
1. Recognize when the line has been crossed: When a boundary of yours has been violated you must immediately address it. Once someone violates a boundary of yours, it is your responsibility to let them know. If you do not let them know, they will continue or escalate their behavior. If you don’t say no, you are giving the impression that you are saying yes. If “yes” is not the message you are trying to convey, then the words “no “need to come out of your mouth.
2. Walk Away: If a boundary of yours has been violated repeatedly, more than once after you have addressed it with the offending person, walk away. If someone violates a boundary that you have in place and they are aware of this boundary because you have addressed it, they need to respect it. Disrespecting your boundary is disrespecting you. This cannot be tolerated.
3. You have the right to say no: You always have the right to say no! You never have to offer anyone an excuse or explain. Saying “No” is all you need to do! Get the “I’m being mean” psychology out of your head. You are not being mean, you are being loving and kind, to yourself!
4. Don’t feel guilty, mean or like you are a bad person for setting boundaries.
Deciding the consequences for a boundary being crossed ahead of time is a great idea! It takes the pressure off the situation when the line is crossed. If the boundary and the consequence is known by both parties ahead of time, this is ideal
Often times, we fail to set boundaries and then find ourselves getting upset when someone is “crossing the line.” If they don’t know they are crossing the line, are they to blame?
The Benefits of Setting Boundaries
When you have boundaries in place and consequences for crossing the line and disrespecting your boundaries, you will experience more:
• Self Love
When people know what is ok with you and what is not ok with you, you won’t have to get angry or upset with them. All you have to do is let them know they violated your boundaries and wash your hands of them! Crossing the line and disrespecting your boundaries should not be tolerated. If you let someone “slip up” and you don’t “speak up” you are sending mixed signals/
There is no room for a mixed signal and a boundary you might have. There is no “free pass” or excuse for violating a boundary you have, as long as the other person (or people) know what the boundary is.
People that love you and respect you, won’t violate your boundaries. People that violate your boundaries don’t need to be in your life!
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