Coping With Boundary Pushers
As many of you know, boundaries is one of my favorite words. There are two types of boundaries that we need to develop and they must be in sync with each other for us to be truly empowered. Internal boundaries consist of our self-talk. If we do not give ourselves permission to say no to someone even when it is not only not in our best interest to say yes, but also harmful, than we are not protecting and valuing ourselves. We can say no to something and still be a very good person. Just because we can do something does not mean we should. Shouldn’t we help people and be willing to do so? Absolutely! That being said, however, we also need to put ourselves in the equation. We can work as hard as the person we are trying to help, but not harder. When we work harder, we are enabling the other person. If a friend or family member is in crisis, be there for them. If they are in the hospital, visit them. If they want you to do errands for them because they are busy, and you are also busy, it is perfectly ok to say no. If they want you to pick up a prescription or some groceries for them and they do not pay you back or get annoyed with you when you ask for the money or can’t help them, then they are entitled and you are not taking care of yourself.
When you find yourself feeling guilty when you tell someone no, did the other person make you feel guilty or did you make yourself feel guilty? If the other person made statements to induce guilt, that is manipulation and the agenda behind the manipulation is not in your best interest. If you made yourself feel guilty, you need to learn to challenge the concept that you are not allowed to say no or take care of yourself. What about the external boundaries I mentioned earlier? The external boundaries will stem from the internal boundaries. If you do not give yourself permission to set a boundary, you won’t. If you give yourself permission to set boundaries, you are more likely to say no. When your internal boundaries are becoming healthier, it sometimes takes longer for the external boundaries to follow. Most of us do not like to disappoint others or feel that someone we care about thinks negatively about us. That is when we have to remember that people’s reactions are about themselves and not us. Our reaction is about us. We cannot control what another person thinks or feels. We can only control what we think and feel. With healthy and strong internal and external boundaries, we usually feel much better about ourselves and our confidence and self-esteem grows and grows, making us less susceptible to manipulation and guilt, which, of course, reinforces the good boundaries.
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