Set Personal Boundaries to Deal With Abuse

No one ever pointed out to me that we each have personal boundaries. I knew when I didn’t like someone standing too close to me, but the idea that individuals can and do set emotional boundaries confounded me. I do set boundaries with friends, strangers, family members…I mean, I don’t discuss my sex life with my mom! But I didn’t realize those were boundaries.

I remember setting rules for my husband in the beginning. I insisted on the right to go out with my friends, for one. But guess what? After a few times of taking a verbal beating for my “promiscuity”, I pushed that boundary to the side. I quit going out with friends. Eventually I stopped having friends.

So, you see, it isn’t that I went into the relationship without personal boundaries, it’s that we erased my boundaries. My lack of boundaries isn’t all his fault; it was a joint effort. He abusively insisted, I acquiesced. I’ve been quite the doormat when it comes to my husband.

What I Hoped to Accomplish:

After figuring out what a personal boundary was and realizing I didn’t have any, I hoped that my new sense of self would affect him positively. I told myself, “If I am strong now like I was when he met me, eventually I’ll earn back his respect.”

I pictured us standing side-by-side, honoring one another as the individuals we were.

Results:

He reacted negatively to my boundaries. He saw my boundaries as disrespectful to him. I guess when you no longer have a doormat, you miss it. My husband must have really loved his doormat because he fought HARD to get it back.

However, I persisted because setting personal boundaries helped me remember a time where other people respected me. Even more than that, I remembered when I respected myself. The more I enforced my boundaries, the angrier he became, and the braver I felt.

No one has the right to step all over me, even if I’ve let it happen for 17 years.

Recommendation:

Definitely learn about and set your personal boundaries! Start small, but start. It’s going to feel weird at first – my hands shook the first time I verbalized a boundary. But it gets easier.

Get your safety plan ready. You do not have to leave the relationship to plan for your safety! I’ve got a safety plan right here that will help.

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