I just spoke to one of my clients, and during our conversation she mentioned that she has a tough time speaking up when she feels disrespected in a relationship.
She’s not the only one I’ve heard that from, along with other thoughts such as:
“I can’t believe he called me so late!”
“I feel used by men.”
“I take everything so personally.”
Can you see the common thread here? They all have to do with lacking clear boundaries!
It’s easy to get angry when men treat you poorly, and naturally you blame them for this bad behavior.
But you need to take a step back and realized that what’s really going on is that you’re allowing this to happen – because you haven’t set healthy boundaries for what treatment you think is acceptable, and what isn’t!
A boundary is a limit that promotes integrity. Learning how to protect your boundaries as an emotionally mature adult is one of the most important skills in maintaining a highly functional relationship.
When we don’t set these limits and instead blame men for how we feel we not only take away our own power, but also push men away as we make a childish attempt to protect our hearts. This backfires though, because when the wall of blame goes up, it keeps out the love we desire.
The good news is, men love women who hold healthy boundaries! If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of putting them in place, though, I have a suggestion to help you get started.
We often are guilty of blurting out too much personal information or sharing our whole life story in response to a man just saying hi! Instead, start off with telling just a bit of the truth, evaluate the reaction you receive, and then decide whether it’s safe to share more.
Another thing we are often guilty of is saying “that’s ok” when it’s definitely not.
If he apologizes for forgetting to call you when you agreed upon a certain time, (and he does NOT have a good reason), instead of saying, “That’s ok,” try, “I did expect a phone call because we agreed on it. And keeping promises is important to me.”
This gradual approach allows you to build trust and create boundaries over time without drama, and keeps communication honest and flowing – keys to a healthy relationship.
You know yourself best. Decide how you want to be treated, and make it happen!