We throw the word boundaries around a lot. We know that we should have healthy boundaries to achieve our optimal mental health and life goals, but that is often easier said than done. Boundaries are limits you set between yourself and others or things (ie: phones, devices). They help you define what you are willing to accept in your life.

Once you have an understanding of what your boundaries are, you then have the ability to recognize when one of those boundaries is violated. Violations come in forms of physical touch, verbal abuse, and emotional manipulation. Sometimes it is difficult to tell right away if one of your boundaries has been violated. After the violation, you may feel your heart pounding, anxiety, confusion, or sadness. These are signals that something has occurred that you are not comfortable with. Sit with these body signals and/or emotions and use them to guide you toward what you are struggling with from the interaction.

Once you recognize the boundary violation, it is important that you set clear boundaries with the person who violated them. It is within your relational rights to communicate your boundaries in a direct and assertive manner. Watch for push back at this time. You may hear responses like, “don’t get so emotional,” or “ooohhh sooorryyy.” These responses are forms of manipulation and the person not taking accountability for their actions. A poor response to your request is not your problem, it is their’s.
Continue to enforce your boundaries. At times, people find themselves expending a lot of energy holding a boundary with certain people. It is okay to walk away. Believe in yourself. Having support of friends, family, or a therapist can be very helpful at this time. Continue to move forward with self-acceptance and self-care. Be patient and kind to yourself.