What to do when someone doesn’t respect boundaries?

when someone doesn't respect your boundaries

Unfortunately, not everyone we deal with is interested in our well-being. Some people are more interested in themselves than in making sure that they aren’t harming the people around them.

And, one of the ways that can happen is by disrespecting the boundaries that you have been setting all your life that make you feel safe and happy. But you don’t need to tolerate such a thing, nor change anything about yourself if this happens, and here’s how:  

Things to do when someone doesn’t respect your boundaries:

1- Negotiate your limits with that person:

Let’s be honest, when it comes to our boundaries, it should be enough that people try to learn them and not cross them to avoid problems. However, it’s not the norm to go around and inform everyone about our boundaries and give them instructions on how not to offend us.

So, have you considered when someone crosses your boundaries, maybe they didn’t do it on purpose or maliciously? If that’s the case, take a step back and bring up the topic the next time you are with that person.

If you need to have a close relationship with that person, whether because you are work colleagues and are constantly working on projects together try to find a middle ground. Or if they are a close family member you don’t want to write off completely, then try to come up with a plan where you both compromise and meet halfway.

2- Distance yourself from that person:

It’s not always easy to cut someone off from our lives, or at least from the sphere of people who are close to us. However, that’s what you might need to do eventually if you notice that that person completely disregards your boundaries and crosses them all the time.

It’s great to try and talk with them about it to fix the situation but despite them having said they understood and would change their behavior, things may remain the same. So, the next step should be to create as much distance from that person as possible. 

Think of it this way: you owe people an explanation regarding your boundaries, should something be bothering you, but you aren’t obligated to repeat yourself over and over to someone who doesn’t seem to care. Keep your interactions to a minimum. Maybe, you’d have to talk to that person once more or make an effort to not integrate them into your social groups.

3- Teach yourself that being rude can be necessary to impose respect:

One reason why you might be putting up with disrespect from someone is that you are afraid to seem rude. Society tells us that not everyone will be nice to us, and despite that, we should tolerate their behavior at times.

However, this isn’t an ideal choice if you want to impose respect and preserve safe mental health. You need to detach from what you believe is correct in the eyes of society and think about what makes you the happiest.

In other words, you will have to teach yourself that you don’t need to accept behaviors from other people that make you feel bad. Some people are bullies, haters, or bitter jealous hypocrites and need to be put in their place. Not everyone will be nice to you and that’s a fact of life.

When you do this introspection and conclude that you would be happier if that person stopped crossing your boundaries or stopped being in your life altogether, listen to your instinct. Don’t let that person take control anymore.

4- You can dictate what your boundaries are:

What may seem valid for some, doesn’t seem for others. This applies to personal boundaries. Usually, when someone doesn’t respect your boundaries and you let them know, they undermine your complaints. This happens because, even though they have their own set of boundaries, they are not the same as yours, so they don’t make an effort to understand yours.

If that person makes you feel small about the things that bother you, don’t try to explain your boundaries to them any further. But don’t try to ignore your boundaries either!

You have to remain firm regarding your boundaries, and distance that person from you. If they don’t understand the way you feel safe and happy, they probably aren’t a good person to have around.

5- Find help from other people who also know that person:

Lastly, you don’t have to defend yourself alone. Remember that you will always have the option to ask your friends and family for help in dealing with someone who is not respecting you, or merely for emotional support. 

If you have people in your life that also know the person who is not respecting your boundaries, don’t hesitate to bring the topic to them. You can tell them exactly what the other person has been doing that doesn’t make you feel good about yourself.

Since they know that person personally, they can give you the best advice on how to deal with them or they can talk to them directly and ask them to stop.

In the end, if the person that keeps crossing your boundaries is a romantic partner of yours then you can choose to check this article out instead.

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