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References Katz, D. (2005). Has Someone Overstepped Your Boundaries?. Lesbian News, 31(1), 47. <!–Additional Information: Persistent link to this record (Permalink): https://lopes-idm-oclc-org.library.gcu.edu:2443/login? url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=17913936&site=ehost-live&scope=site End of citation–>
Section: lifestyles Self-Help
Has Someone Overstepped Your Boundaries? I’m certain that we all have met someone who wouldn’t take no for an answer and continued to push their way until we almost had to scream the word, “NO.” Some people come into our lives who just don’t want to listen to our needs and desires and go ahead and do only what they want to do.
Why don’t people respect our boundaries? It’s impossible to give a pat reason that fits all situations. Some people react and respond in a way that is to them, most comfortable and familiar. Sometimes these poor fools don’t know any better. They have there own issues that obviously have not been resolved. They may have difficulty controlling their own actions due to huge insecurities within themselves. However, the bottom line as to why they overstep our boundaries is simply because we allow them to.
Boundaries are established by us in our lives to make us feel more comfortable and secure, such as boundaries in our love life. The following two lists were developed from those mentioned in Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, The Augustine Fellowship, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. The first list illustrates examples of situations where boundaries have never been introduced. The second list are the same situations but now they illustrate how boundaries can be set up and established.
Falling in love with the first available person who comes along. Discussing your whole life in intimate detail on the very first date. Having sex on the first date. Catering to the needs of others to pacify them and eliminate the fear of losing them. Lying to your mate so he will not abandon you. Agreeing with others in order to win their approval. Making excuses for your mate’s dysfunctions. Confiding in friends, relatives or coworkers for solutions to personal issues rather than confronting your partner.
Getting to know someone you admire and not letting hormonal activity call the shots. Not disclosing the intimate details of your life until a bond has been established with a person you are dating and using discretion even then. Over time, some personal information can gradually be shared as appropriate, when the relationship is more secure and the timing is right. Taking time to really establish your relationship prior to engaging in sexual activity. Letting others know what is and what is not acceptable to you. Being honest with your partner even if it means a possible break-up. Not being a people pleaser. Saying “no” when you mean “no.” Making sure that your voice and body language do not infer yes or maybe, when you really mean no. Allowing your mate to live up to the consequences of actions taken without excusing the actions out of denial or guilt. Confronting your partner or mate to solve problems rather than always discussing your difficulties with others. We need to ask ourselves the question, “What is it about us that allows these people to treat us in inappropriate ways?” Like the 12-step Anonymous Groups say, “When we are sick and tired of being sick and tired, we’ll do something about it.” Well, right now is the time to step up to the plate and refuse to let others take advantage, abuse us or overstep our boundaries. Let’s decide now, to never allow anything but the behavior we rightfully deserve to occur.
Some of us actually allow our boundaries to be abused because we don’t know how to be firm and say “no!” Learning to say the simple word “no” can be difficult if we were not allowed to say it as a child. Even as adults, we may find ourselves still feeling fearful of the repercussion of saying “no.” We can’t allow our own insecurities to give a go signal for others to walk all over us. We need to really examine our desires and goals so we can speak our minds and be treated as we want to be treated.
Let’s begin with our first step. This first step involves figuring out exactly what our needs are. We need to examine what we can handle and what we can’t. If we don’t know our needs, then how do we expect others to respect our wishes? Take a look at the things that make us feel uneasy with some people. What is it that is making us feel this way? Are they wanting things from us that we don’t want to give?
Why do we allow them to make all the decisions? Perhaps it’s very stressful to have to argue to get our needs met. Sometimes it feels like just giving in to what they want will be much easier than getting our needs met. That way, we don’t have to deal with the tension, anger or bickering. Stop! We must realize WE are important, too and our feelings count! Therefore, the first step is to realize that our needs deserve to be heard and the second, finding the strength to say so.
We’ve now decided we are deserving. What next? To realize it’s not when we say no but how. For example, if someone is yelling at us in a vicious tone and we say gently, “please don’t talk to me like that” the yelling probably won’t cease. When we say things in a soft or light manner, the response we are looking for is also going to be soft or nonexistent. However, if we start saying what we need in a firm (but loving) manner, we are more apt to have ourselves heard.
We also need to use the “broken record” tactic. In other words, if the other party doesn’t get or understand what we are saying, we need to say it again and again until he or she does get it. Constant repetition will help to reinforce what we want. If others don’t understand what we need, we can try saying things in other ways but again, always remembering to be firm but loving.
Another area that can be difficult for some is “saying what we mean and meaning what we say” Some of us display a more passive-aggressive communication style because again, we fear what will happen if we say what we really mean. So, we can say one thing just to keep everything calm and collected but may not feel that way inside. In fact, we might even be seething with anger internally, but don’t feel like we dare express it. A healthy way to communicate would be to voice our anger, express our boundary and stand for nothing less than that.
If we are too fearful to say what we mean to a particular person, we can practice saying things to a trusted confidant. We can role play in order to build our own confidence. If we don’t have anyone to practice with we can use the Mirror Technique. Here, one looks in the mirror and pretends she is talking to the other party. It’s surprising how well this works. The bottom line is building your confidence.
These are just a few tips on learning how to ask for what we need and want. No one is allowed to step all over us and ignore what we feel is wrong. Always remember, it’s not really their fault if they try. It is up to us to say, “Hey, that’s not what I want. This isn’t OK with me.” If we don’t do this, we’ll just be back to square one–used and abused.
~~~~~~~~ By Dian Katz, MS
Dian has a master’s in counseling with emphasis in marriage, family and child counseling. The above excerpts were taken from her book LOVE HURTS: A Spiritual Journey to Wholeness. You can visit Dian at: www.diankatz.com.
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