Boundary violations can be anywhere from vaguely annoying to traumatic. Here are some important things to remember about these types of situations.
- Don’t accept it as the norm. Boundary violations are not a sign of love or intimacy. You need to deal with the violating situation in order to have good boundaries yourself. You need to give yourself the added strength that comes from a positive message that says: “Self, I’m strong and I’ll protect you.”
- Don’t avoid. Avoidance is sometimes the only way to deal with a boundary violator but it doesn’t allow you to practice sticking up for yourself and it deprives the other person of a reality check, but in some situations there is no other choice.
- Don’t respond by violating back. This means that although you may feel justifiably angry, you cannot deal effectively with the violator by lashing out or getting in their face. This may just result in an escalating conflict.
- Do confront the person assertively. This means sticking to your guns and not getting batted back with statements like “Oh, that’s just how I am; I do that with everyone.” The appropriate response to this is to say something like “I don’t want you to do it with me.” (Don’t worry if your initial attempts are ungraceful; it gets easier.)
- Do identify enmeshment. Sometimes when two people lack good boundaries the issue is confused because neither person can set good boundaries and violation becomes a way of life. Don’t feel that you need to accept this but realize that an initial attempt to set boundaries may be seen as a betrayal. Everyone needs privacy and separateness for their relationships to be sustainable.
p>Dealing with a boundary violator involves the ability to set good boundaries yourself. This may not always get the result you want. I am reminded of the slogan “accept it, change it, or leave it.” But whatever you do or don’t do it is important to see the violation for what it is