As this generation of women shifts away from the holds of patriarchy into our own sense of autonomy, self-love, and respect, there is noticeable tension between the sexes. Many millennial women are now demanding to have a voice in their relationships, a reality that was just a dream for our foremothers prior to this era. But it takes time to undo the centuries of socialization that taught women that they must sacrifice their mental, physical and emotional well being for the benefit of men. Remnants of this story is still showing up in our romantic relationships, and it takes real self awareness to separate “how you like to be treated,” from the way we were conditioned to be treated. This is when boundaries comes into play.
The boundaries discussion can be a difficult one for women who are innately giving and nurturing. Telling someone ‘no, I don’t want to be with you anymore,’ or ‘no do not call me anymore,’ or ‘no, I no longer want to spend time with you’ can feel mean. But you have the right to your space, to your distance and to your no.
Men who don’t respect ‘no’ and instead go out of their way to wiggle and hassle their ways into your life are not romantics who are ‘doing what it takes’ to get you back. They are manipulative. They are boundary busters.
We saw a horrifically epic display of this when rapper Cardi B’s “Rolling Loud” performance was embarrassingly interrupted by her estranged husband, fellow rapper Offset.
Clinical narcissists, in particular, aren’t even doing the work of “wooing” you back because they actually want you, they do it to alleviate their guilt or to win. Someone who truly loves you and has a healthy relationship with themselves would do the actual action work behind fixing whatever caused the split and respectfully give you the space you asked for in the gap.
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Some women may have seen his display of affection as “loving,” but in reality, to bombard a woman’s place of work when she has asked for distance is actually harassment and manipulation. Those are not words associated with love and respect.
It’s important that we all get a little more comfortable setting boundaries within all of our relationships–friends and family included.
Here are a couple of tips so you can begin to incorporate boundary setting into all of your connections, according to Growth Counseling Services.
Remember, Your Boundaries Are Tailored To You
Mari A. Lee, LMFT, CSAT-S explains boundaries as a “gift to yourself.” This isn’t about what the other person wants or feels comfortable with, it’s all about looking internal and deciding for yourself.
“Think of it a little bit like building a fence around your own home or property. This is your fence for your “stuff” – you would not build a fence around your neighbors house, just like you would not set a boundary on your partner or friend.”
Don’t Set A Boundary Just To Manipulate Someone Into Action
Check your intentions. Don’t tell someone “Stop calling me,” as a way to create tension and “inspire” them to keep calling you. Not only can this backfire, but it also makes people not take your word seriously.
Everyone Has Different Boundaries. Respect Them Accordingly
Just because your best friend is okay with her partner having multiple lovers, that doesn’t mean you have to believe something is wrong with you because you aren’t into it. Never set your boundaries based on someone else’s behavior. We all have different upbringings and backgrounds that lead to our established boundaries. Boundary setting is a “Keep your eyes on your own paper” type of practice.
Boundaries Make Relationships Healthy
Contrary to popular belief, setting boundaries don’t harm your connection, it strengthens them. By standing by a boundary you have set, you are allowing someone to know exactly who you are and what you deem appropriate. Respected boundaries leads to a respectful relationship.
Boundaries Help You Trust Yourself
Cues Beyonce’s “Took a vow I’m gonna be my own best friend.” When you let people walk all over you without setting standards, you are sending the message that you will tolerate anything and everything. The chances are if you are a living, breathing human, that the “everything goes” mentality doesn’t actually apply to everything. You honor yourself when you say no.
Boundaries Help You Learn To Get Comfortable With ‘No.’
No is not a word many of us were taught to use. So, it makes it even more difficult when you conquer your fears, say no, and someone still busts through your boundary. But it’s important to keep practicing the art of ‘no’ so that you don’t get into situations where you are being taken advantage of. Also, ‘no’ is a complete sentence. No explanation needed.
By: Keyaira Kelly
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