Bullies, Betrayal, and Boundaries: How to Reset Your Boundaries When They’ve Gone Too Soft

Do you ever say “yes” when you mean “no?”  Has a close friend betrayed your trust and expected you to act as though it wasn’t hurtful or offensive? Does a family member ask your opinion then not listen when you give it?  Maybe your older brother still bullies you like he did when you were ten.  Do your conversations with a loved one make you doubt yourself or cause you to feel insecure?

Setting boundaries can transform the way you live and love in these relationships.

We forget that we train people how to treat us. But we can retrain them. It is our responsibility to have the confidence to define and denounce what is unacceptable treatment.

That’s when I bring out two of my favorite words – no more.

You can say “no more” to a person or a condition.

“No more” acting like that offensive behavior is ok, taking my ideas as your own, speaking to or about me disrespectfully, ignoring what I say or taking and never contributing to our relationship.

“No more” can also be directed at ourselves.  No more telling ourselves we’re not good enough or worthy.  No more investing in and accepting relationships that disappoint and drain us.  No more overlooking betrayal.  No more under-utilizing our talents and true gifts. No more buying into the lie that we don’t need help or that we don’t have enough time to take care of ourselves.  NO MORE!

 “No more” indicates a decision— “not in my house, not on my watch, not in my lifetime. No way, no how.”

In other words, “I am complete with that thinking, that way of being, that treatment, or that behavior” whether from myself or others.

Saying “no more” indicates you know what you are committed to rather than what you are worried about.  These words let others know things are changing.  I have a boundary, and you crossed it.

“No” is one of the first three words we learn as children.  We say it all day long. Then something happens between 3-years-old and mid-life. We stop saying “no” and simply turn our cheek even when our personal standards and boundaries are crossed.

We start “shoulding” on ourselves.  “I should help them no matter what.” “I should accept that.”  “They are family.”  “I need to just do it.”  “I should let it go.”  As a result we lose our boundaries, and our relationships become plagued with judgment, resentment and disappointment.

Extending our boundaries is transformational because when we remove the unsupportive, we make space for who we really are versus who we think we should be.  Then often what previously eluded us for so long– intimate relationships, fulfilling work, energy, health, and well-being suddenly find a place to show up.

In the past month I’ve witnessed boundaries transform marriages, empower children, be responsible for an engagement, a child’s conception, and pull a man straight out of a full-blown mid-life crisis right into his ideal job.   Yep.  All this from saying “no more” to the people or circumstances that no longer supported them.

Saying these two little words can be tough and take courage.  After all, there is a chance the recipient (including your own ego) won’t like the change.  The fears of rejection, judgment or no longer receiving love are the top reasons we don’t hold our boundaries.

Ahh but the upside of extending boundaries is, well, priceless.  Freedom and liberation are the by-products.

Author, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, in her poem “The Invitation” says it like this: “Are you willing to disappoint another so as not to disappoint yourself?  Are you willing to bear the accusation of betrayal so as not to betray your own soul?”

When we are able to shout from the mountain top “YES,” we open the doors to receiving the inner peace, happiness and fulfillment we are meant to experience.

As a recovering people pleaser, I’ve come a long way.  I never said “no.”  I didn’t think I had a right to do so.  I struggled with holding boundaries and being spiritual.  I’ve since learned that the two are not mutually exclusive; they’re imperative in a fulfilling spirit-driven life.  Now I know it’s the most honest and authentic way to be in my relationship with myself and others.

Where have your boundaries become soft?  What area of life is beckoning you to raise your standards? What do you need to say “no more” to, so you can have more of the love, spark, and peace you deserve?

By setting boundaries you make room to experience who you really are and give back to others their power to do the same!

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