Learn the 4 Critical Steps from Boundary Model to take in order to create boundaries that will protect yourself from Toxic and Abusive People.
When I left my husband after a 20-year marriage, I was a train wreck. I was on empty emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and physically. It took me a full year just to regain my mental and emotional strength. I didn’t understand why for 20 years I had allowed myself to be so emotionally and verbally abused by him. More than that, during that one-year post-divorce, I realized that this didn’t just happen with my husband – it was a consistent theme in my whole life, with my friends, my family, my work peers and even strangers.
What was wrong with me?
How did I let so many people just walk all over me?
I knew that it wasn’t their fault as blaming others for your issues never gets you anywhere. I had to learn why this happened to me. And this is what I discovered.
BOUNDARIES – I did not have any!!
I realized that the reason I was walked all over by everyone and anyone is that I did not have my own boundaries. You see, when you have boundaries, you have what I like to call your 10 commandments of how you expect to be treated. And when you KNOW how that looks and feels, you exude this energy about yourself and then BAM – everyone else picks up on it.
If you don’t have any boundaries, well guess what, everyone will pick up on that and then walk all over you.
I say ENOUGH – let’s do something about this right now!
WHAT ARE BOUNDARIES?
Boundaries are simply your rules of how you want people to engage and treat you. And more importantly, it’s about what you DO NOT WANT. For example, you will not tolerate screaming, yelling, anger, temper tantrums, people who talk down to you, say you are stupid, fat, ugly, dumb, worthless, annoying, a piece of S..T, etc. Yes – it can get that bad and yes if you don’t have boundaries these words get worse and worse and worse. This was honestly my story, but the good news is that it is NO LONGER the case. And if I did it, so can you!
CREATE YOUR BOUNDARIES
Your first step in this process is to decide what your boundaries are – what is acceptable behavior and what is not. What you no longer will tolerate from people. I am talking about things that make you feel you are being taken advantage of, things that make you feel awful about yourself after someone behaves or says a certain thing to you, things that deplete your energy. Those are the things that have to stop happening and the ONLY one that can make that stop is YOU. You have to be accountable for yourself. If you don’t respect and honor you, why should anyone else?
Once you are clear on your boundaries, then you OWN that forever. You make it part of your being, part of your body, your soul and your mind. You walk and talk with this air of confidence that no one, and I mean NO ONE, will overstep into your sacred space.
Examples of Boundaries Include:
- I am worthy and smart and beautiful and no one will speak down to me to compromise this high sense of self-worth I have.
- I do not tolerate verbal abuse, emotional abuse, screaming, yelling, name-calling, temper tantrums.
- I expect honesty and integrity.
- I want people to be kind and gentle and loving to me at all times.
- I want love and friendship and positivity in my life. Anything to the opposite will not be tolerated.
- Etc, etc, etc.
HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO RESPECT AND HONOR YOUR BOUNDARIES
So this is a very common question I get and it’s surprisingly simple. But it takes guts and courage from you. The reason I say this is that when you first start demanding these boundaries, people will be very surprised. They won’t understand this NEW you. They are used to the OLD you and when all of a sudden you start expressing your boundaries (will show you below) they will be confused and taken aback.
SECRET TIP – the more uncomfortable it feels to uphold your boundaries, the MORE you know this is the RIGHT thing to do.
You see, people who have no boundaries are usually such caregivers and nurturers, that the minute we focus on ourselves and not on the other person, we end up feeling badly, guilty, shameful that we should be focused more on the other person to make them happy and to not upset them, and not focus on ourself and put our needs aside.
The first and most important person in the whole wide world is YOU. I repeat – the first and most important person in the whole wide world is YOU.
When you own that very thought and belief and practice that as a BOUNDARY you will be blown away at how people react to you – they will react by honoring and respecting you exactly like that – that you are the most important person in the whole wide world.
WHAT YOU PROJECT IS WHAT YOU ARE!
If you project that you are a hot tamale, then that is what people will see! If you project that you are schmateh (which in Yiddish means wet rag but it really means you are good for nothing clueless person to be trampled all over) then guess what? People will treat you like that.
It is totally up to YOU on how you will be treated. That’s right – up to you 100%.
So now that you had enough of being a schmateh, let’s dive deep in our 4 Step Boundary Model.
The 4 Step Boundary Model
Boundary Model STEP #1:
When someone oversteps your boundary, your job is to immediately and on the spot let them know they did so. You will do it in a very nice and gentle way as this is your first “warning” to them. It will sound something like this:
“Hey Jane, Listen… I wanted to let you know that what you said to me right now doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t appreciate unkind words and I don’t want those words to be spoken to me like that again. Thank you for understanding and I value our relationship greatly. I am sure you do to and thus you will honor my request to please refrain from speaking and saying things like that to me again. Thank you. I am grateful for your understanding.”
You did it. Now I promise you as you said that your heart was racing a million beats a second. You probably started getting so hot, and maybe a little sweaty. You maybe even panicked. All GOOD signs that you are flexing your Boundary Muscle – WHOO HOOO!
You see when you start protecting YOURSELF at the beginning it will feel so foreign you will not understand it and it will scare you. It scares you due to incorrect limiting beliefs you have deep inside of you (again we will talk about that on another BLOG of limiting beliefs) that puts you in this place that you are not important, you don’t matter, and people can talk down to you, and if you say they can’t, there will be war or a fight or chaos, or something awful like that.
That’s why you are sweating like that and freaking out – because it’s your automatic response of “Flight or Fight”. Yet we are training our mind and body to see that nothing bad is happening when we flex our Boundary. On the contrary, only good things come out of Boundaries.
Boundary Model STEP #2:
You will quickly discover that toxic and abusive people don’t respect boundaries. Period. So when you start flexing those boundary models expect resistance, expect shock and disbelief. Do not engage in drama. Do not fight. Do not justify your reasons behind it. You own no one an explanation. Ever. Instead, just keep it strong and steady.
Let’s go back to Jane. I can assure you that Jane will once again overstep her boundary with you. Remember, these people in your life are not used to your NEW way, so you have to give them a few chances (but not too many as remember, you have boundaries now – it’s not about them anymore, now it’s about YOU).
Jane we know will say something awful to you again – as she is a bully and toxic and that’s what she likes to do. This is now the second time she has done this, so now your Boundary Flex Muscle has to be more strong and clear, like this:
“Jane, Listen… I told you before that I don’t want you to behave or speak to me like that again. But you just did it again now. So I need to be very clear with you now. Don’t do this again with me anymore. I do not tolerate anyone talking to me this way. And that includes you talking to me this way also. Don’t do it again. I do not want it.”
That’s it. You are clear and firm and direct. No more being nice about it, now it’s being direct.
Hopefully, Jane will get it now and if she values your friendship, she will stop doing this as your friendship is important to her.
You will find that those toxic and abusive people do not like to be told to stop putting you down. It can actually enrage and anger them even more. If this happens, again, DO NOT REACT! If they get upset about you flexing your boundary muscle, then you leave the room, leave the restaurant, leave the house. I don’t care where you are but just leave.
Never ever defend your stance. You do not have to. It’s your God-given right to be treated with dignity and integrity (as long as that is how you treat others!).
Good – keep it up…. NEXT!
Boundary Model STEP #3:
This one is all about the “consequence”. This boundary #3 has to be the one that you have to be willing to execute on if they ignore your request to stop behaving a certain way. Sometimes, unfortunately, the only way things change is by you executing on a consequence. And sadly sometimes you don’t benefit from their change – it will be a new friend or lover or boyfriend that gets the “better” person you helped evolve thanks to your boundary model.
People learn from their mistakes. At least people who want to improve themselves. But again, it is not your job to teach them how to behave. Your ONLY job is to make sure you are treated well – PERIOD. I repeat – the only job you have is to make sure YOU are treated well by those around you.
Let’s assume now that Jane has once again overstepped her boundary, which we usually expect with toxic and abusive people. The imaginary situation is she has insulted you in front of a big group of friends at a party. So your 3rd and most important boundary exerted will be something like this:
“Jane, this is my final warning to you. I told you several times to stop treating me like this. And you have instead not headed my warnings and ignored me. I am telling you right now, if you ever speak down or insult me in anyway ever again, our friendship will be over”.
And that’s IT!
You are giving her a very clear and sounding ALARM bell that says do this again, and I am done with you. You are taking control, you are saying what you need to happen and if it doesn’t happen you are saying that the friendship will end.
Now, remember, you have to mean it. You have to go through with this boundary #3 if they behave this way again. Why? Because if you don’t, then they will never respect or honor you as they will know you don’t mean what you said. And the drama and chaos and emotional abuse will never end.
And that defeats this hard exercise of learning how to honor ourselves and put ourselves on the TOP of the list and not on the bottom of the list (for some of us we are not even ON the list at all).
Going through with your consequence if they once again overstep their boundary is not easy but it is required in order to change your life. The hardest part here is that you realize it is you that actually ends the abusive relationship. As you have grown and seen this is not what you want anymore. You have evolved, matured, grown-up. And that my dear is a great feeling also.
TIP: The consequence can be many things; Block them from your phone; don’t see them for one month; move out; take phone away (maybe your teenage child); etc. The key here is to be able to execute on your consequence and to make sure the consequence is severe enough to have an impact and more importantly to protect yourself.
Boundary Model STEP #4:
As to be expected with toxic and abusive people they will once again overstep your boundaries and talk down to you, say horrible things, make you feel badly, guilty, that you don’t do enough, you are not smart enough, sexy enough, skinny enough – I mean the list is endless right? Good grief.
So, when we get to this stage that this person once again oversteps your boundary, you very simply, and with neutrality and with no drama or emotions do the following:
“Jane, You did it again. Our friendship is over”
It’s that simple. No drama. No debate. No discussion. That’s it. It’s over. Boundary #4 is executing on the consequence you said in Boundary #3. If you do not go through with it, then you will always have your boundaries compromised.
Jane will be blown away. She will be in shock. If she truly values your friendship, she may fight hard to get you back – that will be your decision and yours to make only if you even want to go there.
But make sure to execute on that boundary first. Let them feel the new you. Be very clear on seeing the “truth” in Jane. Once you execute on your Boundary #3 and you own it and act it – “Jane” or whatever his or her name is – will realize you are speaking the truth! You are a changed person. And you have a high sense of worth. And she can no longer bully you or abuse you in anyway.
Jane can then decide if she wants you in her life or not. That is not your decision.
Your decision was already made that you do not want her in your life.
TIP: nothing is concrete here. If you have cut her out of your life for a month and she has shown sincere effort to try again, then it’s up to you to let her back in. But remind her on Boundary #3 and if this second time around she still abuses you then you know without a shadow of a doubt that this person is toxic to you and has to be out of your life.
to protect yourself.
PRACTICE BOUNDARIES UNTIL IT’S WHO YOU ARE
When my husband and I were going through the Divorce – it was ugly. He used to say the ugliest, meanest and most disgusting things to me. I would yell back, scream back, cry and cry and this drama and abuse kept going on and on. It was torture. It was frightening. I was a basket case. I was a Schmateh!
During this first year of dealing with the Divorce and Drama and therapy, is when I learned about Boundaries. I never realized I had a right to protect myself. I did not go into the equation. Ever. It was only through the Boundary Model I learned that not only do I go into the equation, I am the WHOLE PART and ONLY PART of the equation!
I started implementing Boundaries with my x (and thereafter with friends, family and peers). I was not good at it at first. I would not execute on it, I would not say a word if someone upset me, I would blow it off. It was very hard at the beginning. But as with anything, practice makes perfect. And the more I practiced my boundaries, the better I got. And I started seeing insane results in my life. Everyone that mattered changed their attitude and ways with me. Those that did not matter are no longer in my life.
You Matter. Know your Worth. Make Boundaries a way of life – just like you brush your teeth and have a shower everyday – make Boundaries part of your daily life.
You will see that eventually you won’t even have to express your Boundaries to toxic and abusive people. As you won’t have any of them around you anymore!
Start your Boundaries today. Create the 4 steps and use it with everyone and anyone you come to contact with. You will quickly pick up on who has boundaries and who doesn’t. But the only one person I care about is YOU.
Make boundaries for yourself. Protect yourself. Put yourself at the top of the list. Remind yourself you are the WHOLE and PARTS of the equation and never tolerate poor and abusive behaviors from anyone – spouse, boyfriends, lovers, parents, friends, bosses, peers, etc. It’s not acceptable. So own that and live your life by the 4 Boundary Model Guide.
You won’t recognize the person you become!
More to come!
Fearless Woman and Founder