When you have been in an abusive relationship you cannot safely have boundaries. The abuser simply wont respect them and will go out of their way to break them down. It becomes precarious for the victim to try and build those boundaries and keep them in place in fear of the consequence’s that may be inflicted.
The only people who get upset about you having boundaries are the ones who were benefiting from you having none.
Boundaries are important to keep us safe and sane in everyday life, in all relationships that we have with others whether it be partners, friendships, family, or work colleagues. Its something we must all learn to do. If you have been in and abusive relationship this can be tricky to learn how to build those boundaries again and learn to keep them in place. By allowing our boundaries to be too flexible we can become susceptible to manipulation.
Types of boundaries
Protect your energy because it is your most precious asset
Your energy and time are important and should be respected by yourself and others. Those who do not respect your energy and time do not deserve a seat at your table. Sometimes it can be obvious who is not respectful of you. If someone lets you down constantly, if you feel agitated by being around them, if they ask for favours continuously never returning the favour, if there isn’t mutual understanding, gaslighting and not listening to what you have to say, or they deny your lived experiences means that that person doesn’t respect you or your time.
Remember you don’t owe anyone anything your entitled to say no to the things that you don’t feel up to doing and no one should expect anything from you.
Choosing who has access to your energy, time, and space around you is essential to protecting yourself and your healing process. It’s not to say that you must agree on every detail of life with everyone, or you won’t have a difference of opinion now and then, but you can still have that difference of opinion and be respectful to each other, you can help others out but only if you feel you can.
If someone mentally drains you, then its unhealthy for you to maintain that relationship. That can also be true on social media, don’t hesitate to block and delete.
Some relationships can be healing and can leave you feeling good about yourself which is essentially what should happen in healthy relationships of any kind. But always remember to remind yourself of who you are and that you are enough, whole all on your own. Pour into yourself all the energy you need to feel the best version of yourself.
It seems odd to me that in 2022 we are still having discussions regarding consent and sex. If it’s not a definite yes, then it’s a no. If someone is drunk, they can’t say yes, if they are asleep, they can’t say yes. There are no blurred lines or shades of grey. Weather it’s a partner or a stranger weather it is trying new things or if someone is too tired. No is no and not try a bit harder to convince someone.
“It’s time to learn how to be the gatekeeper of your own time and energy”
If someone is abusive, they will try to break your boundaries down, if we can recognise red flags early on then it would help to stop us from slipping into abusive relationships. The problem is perpetrators are very manipulative and we can’t always see those red flags. The biggest thing I regret is not putting my self first and setting strong boundaries in all aspects of my life because when we don’t it can leave us feeling used.
When we meet someone new, we are so focused on how we come across to them that we forget how they come across to us. If we have already been in an abusive relationship, you have had your boundaries so dismantled that you can fall into other abusive circumstances easily. When you date always remember that someone is showing you the best version of them self it takes time to really know what that person is like. I hate the idea of love at first sight or being swept off your feet. That’s a red flag! It’s a romantic idea that has the stench of love bombing.
Remember you are not here to fix anyone. You’re looking for a partner not a project and its not your job to be their mother or solve their problems, that’s not to say you can’t be supportive and in time you may chose to build a family unit with that person so then you become a part of each other’s lives, but you don’t have to make allowances for bad behaviour because of their issues or accept anything that falls short of your boundaries. They should value you as their equal and treat you as that.
“When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time” – Maya Angelou
To have and maintain healthy relationship boundaries are important right from the start. Set a standard for yourself and don’t settle for second best. If you have been in an abusive relationship you may easily settle for something that is just better rather than a person who is truly deserving of you, this comes from your self-esteem being compromised and a loss of identity. Your healing process is important before deciding to start a new relationship. Healthy boundaries allow for a healthy relationship to grow so set that standard before you have even met that person.
Don’t ignore your instincts! If someone gives you a bad vibe you are most likely right. Even more so if someone behaves in a certain way that you don’t like then don’t ignore it. If they are aggressive, even if it’s not toward you then the chances are they will be towards you at some point. If they talk badly about women, or their ex’s if they are misogynistic then that’s who they are and that won’t change. Take note of how someone handles life. If they approach difficulty in a calm way or not, their ability to tackle problems is probably telling on what life will be like with them.If someone gets angry or upset by your boundaries its not your problem. Setting boundaries is an act of self-care. If someone is trying to break those boundaries down, then ask yourself why and by allowing those boundaries to fall or shift who does that serve.
Financially it is responsible to set ourselves goals and limits. Financial abuse has long term effects it can be that you may have been used for money or money restricted or used against you. Learning to set financial boundaries can be hard but it’s a must. Saying no if someone asks for money, keeping financial independence & budgeting are all ways you can set those standards.
“When you yes to others, make sure you’re not really saying no to yourself” – Paulo Coelho