Stop People From Violating Your Personal Boundaries
The violation of my personal boundaries has been getting worse in recent years. It has reached the point to where a day rarely goes by that I can’t look out my front window and enjoy the present moment without the sense that I am being intruded upon. Over the past couple of months, this trespass upon my well-being has reached code-red proportions.
I have finally decided to do something about this by proclaiming my boundaries to the whole world.
Let me explain.
When I moved into my 1949 central Phoenix home several years ago, it was clear the last time it had been updated was sometime during the 1970s; if the appliances weren’t rust-colored, they were olive drab. Some fixtures hanging in my new home even had the same mushroom designs taken from the Sears catalog where my own mom decorated our kitchen circa 1978. All the linoleum floors were peeling up, and the carpet in the bedrooms was so old, the foam beneath it turned to fine dust the day my husband and I ripped it out.
Despite all this, I loved the house: The bones were solid. The 15 foot oleander trees that surrounded my back yard insulated my central city home from the noise and traffic of the bustling world. I imagined mine and James’ future children running and playing in the grass like I once did as a child.
Because of the promise our home showed, over the next several years, we spent all our spare time and money gutting, re-designing, painting, and re-creating the interior. James and I were finally able to get the house into a condition that was comfortable…just before we had our first kid together.
At that point, we started spending our money and time on something else…a new baby.
In any event, because of all the attention placed on the interior of my house as well as on the kid, we still have a yard that looks like the caca it did the day we moved in.
No, we don’t have any old sofas or washing machines sitting in the front yard. And, yes…we do have grass, as well as a couple of young fruit trees we’ve just planted within the last couple of years. Still, though…our yard is the saddest one on the block: No cool lighting. No precise edging. No bricks, no stones, and no borders.
There’s just the curb (not even a sidewalk), then there’s our front yard.
From the time we moved into the house, I have been annoyed by the fact that people (our neighbors, people walking their dogs, kids walking home from school and other random individuals) feel like it is OK to just trample through the middle of our front yard on their way to some other destination. There is rarely a day when I don’t find dog poop, water bottles, candy wrappers, grocery bags and other trash littering my lawn. On top of that, it is fairly common to look out my front picture window to see the neighbor kids playing a game of tackle football in my front yard. It doesn’t end with them; the other day I was walking down the street towards my house, and I saw two women walking in my direction, happily trapsing through my freshly mowed grass.
I reached my breaking point two weeks ago.
The neighbors have been having major renovations to their house done. Every morning just after 6 a.m., 5 or 6 cars with workers appear on our street with beat up trucks and equipment. They park in front of MY house, while the front of the neighbors’ house is always devoid of any vehicles whatsoever. Once they park, the workers drag pallets, wheelbarrows, tractors and other miscellaneous heavy machinery across my front yard to get to their workspace which just borders on the property line.
I am fed up!
BUT…this violation of personal boundaries is my fault: I haven’t set any. As a result, people annoy, offend and “disrespect” me, but they don’t even realize they are doing it!
My relationships used to be a lot like my front yard. People would mow me over with their wishes, desires, and priorities, having no interest in how I felt. I used to attract friends who cared more about talking, rather than having a relationship with me that was based on talking as well as listening. I had a hard time saying “no” to things, and even when I mustered up the courage to do that, people never took me seriously.
My lack of personal boundaries made me feel as though my life wasn’t really mine. I was disrespected, overwhelmed, taken advantage of and often unhappy. Once I learned to create healthy boundaries, I found more happiness and peace. I also attracted new (better) relationships.
Do you know what your boundaries are?
The first step towards stopping people from violating your personal boundaries is getting clear on what you want. If you want a powerful change in every relationship that touches you, explore what will make you happy, what your limits are and then promise yourself that you are committed to having relationships with people who will honor those things.
- How much alone time do you need?
- If you need quiet or alone time each day, how much?
- How do you prefer to communicate with others – on the phone, via e-mail, or in person?
- How do the people with whom you have relationships make you feel? Do they drain you of energy or do you feel energized after you spend time with them?
- When you are with a person, do you feel as though someone always has to be talking or are you OK with periods of silence?
- When you are in a relationship, do you feel like you get enough “say”? Are you heard?
- Do you feel free to authentically express yourself with the people you have in your life?
- How do you like to be talked to and treated in your personal relationships?
- Are there certain things you expect (or want) in your relationships with others?
- How can you change the things you don’t like so you will find more happiness?
Once you get clarity think about how you are going to express and “enforce” your boundaries with others. Would you prefer to keep them to yourself, while remaining committed that you will speak up when a boundary is being violated? If so, consider the fact that in certain relationships, it’s unfair to expect something of another person without letting them in on what it is you want.
In expressing your boundaries to others, say what you expect and want. Tell the other person what behavior bothers you and express how you feel when your boundaries are violated. Finally, communicate how the future relationship might be affected if the other person continues to violate the requests you have made and the limits you have set.
The time has come to take control of our lives.
Do you want to join me?
I am getting clear on what I want my boundaries to be: This summer and fall, my husband and I are planning to work on some landscaping that will communicate to the world “this land is my land.” There are lots of options we are considering…bricks, sandstone, fencing and…some nice desert landscaping that will include my favorite Arizona plant – the jumping cactus.
Wishing you a week in which there’s no more crossing your boundary line.
All my best,