Respecting/Feeling hurt by other people's 'harsh' boundaries (friends, relationships)

8 February 2022 | Author: Selena Meneghini

Why respecting other people's boundaries are important?

Boundaries are a healthy part of all relationships in life. At first, we might freak out and think that a boundary means rejection or criticism. However, if we think about it, it could also mean that the person is trying to communicate something to us. Whether it be a romantic partner, a family member, friend, or co-worker, boundaries are a sign of a healthy relationship. Boundaries can teach others what we are comfortable with and what we are not comfortable with.??

We are all unique.
Like us, other people have their own set of needs, standards of being treated and ways of seeing the world that may be similar or different to ours. Setting boundaries can be a way to communicate these things. It is important to understand that we all come with our own sensitivities, triggers and personalities. A simple fact of being part of the world is that we will come across people who might not understand, value or hold the same boundaries as us. So, it is important to remember that while we might not understand another's boundaries fully, we can aim to respect theirs just as we would, in turn, like our boundaries to be respected??

How we can respect other people's boundaries

?? Ask yourself why...?
Why am I so upset by this person setting a boundary with me? Often times we might feel offended when others set a boundary with us because we may struggle setting boundaries in our own lives. ? Early in life we can learn self-sacrificing behaviours in order to express our love or out of fear of disappointing others. This can look like cancelling the weekly yoga class you love to go to in order to not upset your partner, who wants you to stay home. In Schema Therapy, self-sacrificing behaviours refer to putting others' needs ahead of your own and neglecting your own needs. Sometimes, this means we can read a lack of boundaries as love. So, when someone enforces their boundaries, we might feel rejected and as if they don't love us. If a person has enforced a boundary with us respectfully, we might want to question what about the action makes us feel so distressed.??

Notice the verbal and non-verbal cues.
When a boundary is crossed, it is often hard for people to communicate this in words so they might get really short with their speech, avoid eye contact with you, laugh off a comment dismissively. Try to be present, aware and really tune in to how the other person feels around you.??

Get curious and communicate.
If someone is setting a boundary with you, get curious about why. Is it around their time? Communication? Physical affection? Perhaps they are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. You can try saying something like, 'I noticed you pulled away when I went to give you a hug. I really value our friendship and I want to respect your boundaries. Please let me know if that made you uncomfortable.'??

Accept and extend yourself the same acceptance .
Perhaps remind yourself that if this person can set a boundary and our relationship/friendship is still in-tact, maybe I could put some of my own boundaries in place and see how that feels to me.??