Handling Backlash From Drawing Boundaries!
In order to feel fabulous you have to draw boundaries and stick to them. And while it might seem easy, drawing and sticking to them consistently, and with kindness, often takes some practice.
And the main reason it takes practice is because of the inevitable backlash that occurs when you draw and stick to them. Handling the backlash is so crucial to the success of drawing boundaries that I spend a good bit of time on this subject with my clients. Being kind but firm can help reduce your chances of backlash from some people, but you’re still likely to get it from others.
If you’ve always been the “nice” girl who puts other peoples’ needs first, instead of taking care of yourself first, you’ve in essence created an “agreement” that says you’re second and they come first.
So when all of a sudden you draw a boundary and, for instance, tell your boss you can’t work late tonight, or tell your boyfriend you’re going out with your girlfriends on Thursday night, or tell your husband you’re getting a massage on Saturday afternoon, or even tell your girlfriend you don’t want to hear her criticisms of your boyfriend anymore, you will more than likely get some backlash.
Why do you get backlash? Well you’re actually breaking the perceived agreement that says you come second to their wishes, desires and wants. And people get mad or irritated when you put them second, especially if they’ve always been first.
And they’ll probably attempt to manipulate you back into the original agreement so you will cater to their needs first.
This isn’t malicious on their part. They aren’t bad people because they’re trying to manipulate you. They just liked getting their way and it was easy before. So they will attempt to restore the “old order.” But the methods they use to restore it might not feel good to you.
Picture a child in a store throwing a temper tantrum when his mom says he can’t have a toy he wants. If the temper tantrum has worked in the past, he’ll keep using it because it works. If it hasn’t worked, a child will move onto the next tactic. It’s normal for a child to do this. Healthy even.
Adults can use tactics that aren’t so healthy or endearing to watch or experience. They can be mean, angry, hostile, condescending, weepy, clingy, and try all sorts of other unappealing behavior to get their way.
So I want to give you some tips to ride out their methodsuntil they realize it’s futile and accept the new way of you being in the relationship – as an equal which means you will balance your needs with their needs.
Expect them to try something to restore the old order. I’d love to tell you they’ll be thrilled you want to take care of yourself and sometimes they will but more than likely they’ll have some reaction. I don’t want you to create reactions with your thoughts, just to be prepared for them when, or if, they occur.
But don’t put up with too much backlash! A little is fine. Stand your ground, hold your boundary. If they become at all abusive with their language or attitude, or if they get too mean, walk away and don’t go back. A healthy human being has a little reaction; an unhealthy human being has a big and prolonged reaction.
I’m assuming you have healthy people in your life and you are just retraining them and yourself.
Backlash Handling Tips
Don’t expect them to all of a sudden be delighted that you’re taking care of yourself.
Do give them some time to adjust to the new order that you are now equally important and you are going to take care of yourself.
Don’t take their reactions personally!
Let them have their reactions and ignore them – for a while.
When you’ve had enough, tell them.
In a personal relationship you can say something like: “You need to get used to me taking care of myself. I’m equally important in this relationship. I hope you’ll honor that. Because if you don’t, I will ultimately leave to be with someone who will. I love you and I want what’s best for both of us.”
In a business relationship, you can tell the boss, “I need to leave now so I can be sharp and energetic for work tomorrow.” Don’t give excuses or rationalizations. Less is more in this scenario. Smile and be firm. You are retraining your boss.
With a friend, again be kind, loving and firm. Don’t put up with the manipulation they may try. If they’re really your friend, they’ll get it and respect you for standing up for yourself.
Whatever you do, don’t go back on your boundary. If you do, you’re in essence telling them that you’ll talk about boundaries, but you really won’t honor them yourself, so they don’t have to either.
Drawing boundaries and dealing with the backlash can be difficult. I know. But the rewards are worth every uncomfortable moment. Good people want you to take care of yourself.
Like the famous poet said, “good fences make good neighbors.” Well, good boundaries make good friends (or boyfriends, husbands or bosses).
Honoring yourself by drawing boundaries and standing up for what’s important to you is a crucial way for your relationships to flourish and be filled with love, joy and respect.
Good people will honor your boundaries. Be patient with them and yourself as you’re shifting the “agreement.” Remember women didn’t even have the right to vote until 1920. Prior to that time when they protested they were thrown in jail. Our sisters taught us to stand up, stand firm and be consistent. I’d like to add what my wonderful spiritual teacher taught me: to also be humble and kind.
Kind, loving, humble and firm – live your life from that perspective and you will feel fabulous about yourself and your life.
Imagine the possibilities. . . .
© Carol Chanel
Q & A
One of my clients called the other day and asked me for some steps to keep her from getting stuck in Yuma. Since she’s been working with me for a while she had the framework that I outlined in the main article. I wanted you all to have the framework so you could put the steps to work in your life.
Happy Dreaming, Happy Achieving
If you want more information about the subject matter in the main article there are two brilliant books and a CD that are insightful and inspiring.
“The Power of Intention” by Dr. Wayne Dyer
“Ask and It’s Given” by Abraham-Hicks
Abraham-Hicks Kansas City 9/14/05 CD – single CD, about $15.
Available on their website:
Or you can call them to order it at 1-830-755-2299
These books and CD’s are uplifting, inspiring and powerful and provide the tools you’ll need to have a life of happiness, love, fulfillment and joy.
Keep believing, allowing and receiving!
I teach people to overcome the obstacles that keep them stuck yet longing for romantic relationships, more self-confidence and inspiration to accomplish their dreams.
We sometimes forget what it feels like to live from our hearts and souls. We forget the thrill of taking the brakes off and flying. Life is dull if we just live from our minds.
Are you - or someone you know - settling, for less than exciting, either in relationships or a career?
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Certified Life Coach
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