Fortunately, I divorced the man mentioned in this page, but these boundaries and others help me to identify the wrong sorts of people even today. Boundaries, especially boundaries for abusive relationships, do more than protect you from emotional drama. They help you to see how many times your abuser treats you badly!
After leaving the room or leaving the house quite a few times to enforce my boundaries, I came to realize that our marriage was not a relationship at all. It was a one-sided, his way or the highway, type of slavery. Emotional, mental and physical slavery bound by his rules – his boundaries, if we can call them that, that were not healthy for me or him. They were self-serving and and cruel. I couldn’t live in my home, my most safe of sacred of places, without a monster leaping on my back.
Please write out two or three boundaries right now (or after you read my examples). Noticing how often your abuser crosses your line (deliberately!) helps prove that an abusive relationship is no relationship at all. You may as well be alone if you cannot trust the person you love.
Personal Boundaries I wrote in May 2012:
I wrote some boundaries for abusive relationships today – specifically boundaries for my abusive relationship. The last sentences or each boundary end with what I will do if my husband crosses my boundary. What I really wanted to write at the end of each sentence is “I’ll leave forever,” instead of “I’ll leave the room,” but I’m not ready to leave the relationship today – I want to save my marriage if possible.
Boundaries for abusive relationships (or any other relationship) must result in actions you are willing to take. If you aren’t willing to do what you say you will do, then that opens the door for your abuser to admonish and diminish you or call you a liar.
Anyway, I’m not ready to leave the marriage, and I want to give this verbal abuse idea (as he derisively calls it) a chance. Maybe Will can see the problem and change how he treats me and our boys. After I separate from him (meaning, after I separate my self-worth from him), I’ll see what other boundaries I may need.
Some Boundaries for Abusive Relationships I Can Enforce:
When you narrow your eyes and interrupt me, I feel unheard and disconnected from the conversation. I want you to acknowledge my point of view. Since I cannot control you, I will leave the room and the conversation temporarily until a later time when we can talk again.
When you make derisive comments about characters on television or people we know who share my views partially or completely, especially in front of our children, I feel put down and attacked for holding those opinions. I want you to accept that I hold beliefs and opinions different from yours, and to stop subtly insulting my beliefs. Since I cannot control you, I will ask if you made that comment because you don’t like my similar opinion. If you continue to make derisive comments, I will leave the room and find better company.
When you tell me that I am wrong, lying, living in a fantasy world or unable to comprehend the real world, I feel belittled, defensive, hurt, and manipulated. I want you to hear my opinion and seriously consider the idea that even if I am not “right” I may not be entirely “wrong.” Since I cannot control you, I will stop talking with you until I feel it’s safe for me to rejoin the conversation.
When you expect me to go somewhere with you but do not listen to my reasons for not going or listen and then use my reasons as an excuse to tell me that I am unappreciative, unsupportive or worse, I feel pummeled, disregarded, and unimportant to you. I want you to listen to why I do not want to go because my reasons are valid, but not always unchangeable, and I am willing to discuss them. Since I cannot control you, I will respect my own reasons and feelings about this situation and not go with you.
For that matter, when you are mean and nasty to me and/or our boys in the car ride to a party, I will drop you off (if you prefer to stay) and the boys and I will go somewhere else. I will not come pick you up late at night from the bar you and your friends gravitated to; you can find your own way home if you choose to stay.
When you walk through the house ordering us to do things so you can relax, I feel put upon and disrespected. I want you to respect the time and effort I put into cleaning house and picking up after us even when you don’t see it happening. Because I cannot control you, I will remove myself from your presence and write down what is happening and being said to distract myself from my discomfort.
When you tell me that I’m a drama queen I feel like my opinions and observations are unimportant to you and I feel disconnected from you. I want you to stop telling me what I am acting like or who I am. Because I cannot control you, I will remove myself from your presence and make a note of the exchange.
When you tell me I am untrustworthy and disloyal and “trying to hide something” or that “something’s fishy,” and then will not discuss your reasons for feeling that way, I feel betrayed, upset, and hopeless. I want you give me reasons for why you feel this way and an opportunity to refute or admit to your suspicions. Because I cannot control you, I will walk away if you continue to say these things without allowing discussion.