It is so hard to recover from narcissist abuse, so in order to heal we must learn new skills to protect ourselves.
Here are 7 things you need to learn
I would like to talk to you about boundaries because to me, I believe that by not setting boundaries, we have actually set us up to be a victim to another narcissist and the secret in protecting yourself is to have the strength to stand up for yourself and that means setting a boundary and sticking to it.
I did meet up last week with my people here in Colorado. I made a little cheat sheet, things that I’m going to read to you that I shared with them. The first thing I want you to know is that we have a right to ask for what we need, People-pleasers like myself, that generally just want to care and be empathetic towards others, we put other’s needs before ours. So, the first thing you need to know is that you have the right to ask for what you need.
HOW TO SET A BOUNDARY
Step one – Identify the boundary – what boundary is not being honored? By whom?
Step two – lay out a penalty if the boundary gets violated – this needs to be something realistic that you can and are willing to enforce
Step three – communicate the boundary to the offender and and the penalty
Step four – Enforce the penalty if you are violated
I suggest that you write down boundaries on a piece of paper. Write them down for yourself and start to plan them out. It’s like setting a goal, when we set a goal it’s more helpful if you write them down. It’s the same thing with boundaries. If you have had an experience where someone has crossed the boundary for you and maybe it is the narcissistic person in your life that’s why you’re watching this video, the idea here is for you to write down what bothers you about that narcissist. Write down boundaries that they might have crossed. Write down boundaries that you won’t stand for anymore, write down things that you wish you had done and didn’t do it yet. Next time, you will. By writing it down, we end up having amazing power for ourselves.
WATCH MY VIDEO ON HOW TO NEVER BE A VICTIM AGAIN
Boundaries are a tool in our tool box that we can go back and review, this is important because when we are dealing with a narcissist they are trying to break us down and having it written down allows us to enforce it and protects us from this being a topic that the narcissist can use in a gaslighting campaign.
If you don’t tell the person that you’ve set a boundary, you can’t be angry at them if they break it, because they didn’t know. It’s really as simple as that. Think about it. Here’s an example. Every time you go to thanksgiving dinner, your mother-in-law is mean to you or your children. You get home and your angry at your husband and you express this concern but you’ve got two choices, either he accepts and supports you that together you’re not going to accept that kind behavior, or he’s not going to agree with you at all. That’s only your two choices but even if you both agree and this is your boundary, if you are alone and you’ve got a boundary with someone, the most important thing is for you to tell them. If you don’t tell them that you are not coming back for thanksgiving dinner, if they yell at you or treat you like that, you’re not going to come back, but if you don’t tell them the boundary and they cross it, the next part that you have to really plan for is what’s the consequence. If you are mean to me at Thanksgiving dinner, then I will not come back. You will not see your grandchildren. Those are consequences. It does make it more real not only in your mind, but it makes it more real in the person that you’re trying to set this with.
We know that narcissists cross boundaries all the time. So, that’s where that consequence is really important. And it’s not just something that you say. You can’t just say, “Alright, I’m not going to go to your thanksgiving dinner anymore.” You have to not go to thanksgiving dinner. It’s just simple as that. If you break the boundary just a little bit and make an exception, I mean, isn’t this what got us all into trouble in the first place? I’m pretty sure. They slowly erode at our boundaries, is this something the very first time they come along and they just poof, break every boundary that we’ve ever thought off in our mind? It’s a slow erosion of boundaries. So, you must communicate with the abuser. You must communicate that the consequences, stick to it. If you don’t stick to it, guess what? The next time you’re just going to do it again until it isn’t stilt, until it is something that is a regular part of your life.” Why do we need boundaries?
When we set boundaries, we are protecting our own time, protecting our spirit and we’re protecting our self. If your son went off to school and he got 50 cents a day for school lunch and some bullies kept taking it away from him — so your son is losing his 50 cents every day to the bullies. Well, he’s got to stand up to them and not necessarily punch them out or something but he’s got to say, “No, that’s not going to work and if you do it again, I’m going to the principal.” This is the penalty in the consequence, part of this. When you set boundaries, you set self-love.
Set the limit and stick to it. Boundaries can be physical. If you have some lurker at work that just like the look over your desk, coming like close into your personal space, that’s a space boundary. That’s something that you have to establish and you’ve all known, you’ve all seen that guy that gets up into your face and it’s really uncomfortable. So, if your boundary is to say, “You know what? I really prefer it George, when you’re coming into to my cube that you don’t come so close. It makes me uncomfortable.” Now, if George breaks that boundary, you’ve got something to work with. Alright, and then you’ve had something to work with because now, you’ve told him that you don’t like it and he’s got to work with you and this comes with your narcissist, it’s because the person that’s abusing you. When you do this, you empower yourself. So you can’t get mad at yourself. I used to do this all the time. In my mind, I’ll be like, “Well, I’m not going to take bad anymore. It’s just in there.” But I didn’t communicate it to anybody, and then when they broke it, what happened? I was pissed off at myself.
So, boundaries save you from yourself. It’s like that ‘little Tracy’ on your shoulder or someone like a best friend telling you to protect yourself. That’s what a boundary does. It’s a protection and empowerment. It’s going to relieve anxiety and stress and depression. It even like reduces pain in your body because pain is caused by anxiety, stress and depression. Your body is going to be so much more at peace if you start to set boundaries.
Another thing that boundaries do is they show strength. If you’re strong and say, “No, I’m not going to take that –.” So, setting a boundary shows strength. You know, narcissist can’t mess with you if you’re strong. That’s why they picked us because we are big lovers of love and giving someone a chance. So they’re going to take it. They’re going to take it and take it and take it. If you set reasonable boundaries, they’ll have less disappointment in your life. Every time something aches inside of you, write it down. What would be different if you say no? What would be different if you set a boundary? Narcissists can spot us in a crowd and within a week of knowing you, they will know that they can push your boundaries, maybe they’ll give you few kisses, maybe if it’s your mother, they’ll treat you well for a few days. They know how to get you and that whole hovering thing, it happens with the boundaries. When you say break a boundary, they’ve cross the line, they come back. It’s just the fact. We have to know that.
If you have no boundaries, it equals no self-esteem and this is what makes us a really good target. It’s not that we didn’t have self-esteem. We don’t have enough self-esteem to stand up for us. If it was your best friend, if it was your kid, you would be standing up. So, we need to understand how to take care of ourselves for a change.
So, I want you to start thinking about a boundary. Write it down. That was our first homework assignment. I’m going to ask you to create it. I’m going to say how important is this boundary. In the class I taught last week, I gave the example of someone not putting down the toilet seat. Well, that really pisses you off. Boundary could be, “You put the seat down. It’s really important to me and I’d like you to put the seat down.” How important is that? Low, medium, or high? How important is that? Low, medium or high? You have to understand that there are going to be things that are crossed boundaries that are lower like the toilet seat, maybe if you don’t have any others, but then you’ve got to get into the — no, you’re not going to treat me like that. No, you’re not taking my 50 cents lunch money. Those are like mid-level. What are your die-hard — I will not — these are the absolute no tolerance level. Cheating, it’s a really good one. Physical abuse, you hit me, I’m never coming back and mean it. So, often we come back because we think that person is in there. If they pick you once, run the hell away and never ever ever look back. They don’t change. It only gets worse.
Alright, priorities, remember, low, medium, high. The last column in this, and I’ll show you one of my little columns. Boundary, low, medium, high, and now, it’s time for the penalty. If you treat me like that at thanksgiving, I’m not coming back. Remember, communicate it to the offender. Stick to your boundaries, stick to the consequences. It’s the only way that you will not be affected and be brought into the spider web of a narcissist again.
Here are some guidelines for setting boundaries.
- When you’re setting boundaries with someone, do it really clearly and outlay exactly what you’ve defined and the consequences.
- Be firm, be calm and be respectful, and do not justify your choices.
- Do not allow yourself to be affected by the possible reaction by this person. In fact, you should plan, what are the reactions? What if he/she says this? What happens if this happens? Plan it in your head. Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Don’t worry about it happening, planning what their reactions might be helps you be STRONG and this protects you from being blind-sided. Nothing sucks worse than being blind-sided.
- Then don’t take on the responsibility for the other person’s reaction. It’s your boundaries.
Remember we started this conversation off and saying, you have every single right to ask for them and it’s time that we do. Plan it out, stick to it. Boundaries are something that we have to learn and if we don’t record them, write them down, it’s not going to help us. We need to be stronger about what we need and demand so that we’re not victims anymore.