Like physical boundaries, emotional boundaries define separateness. Your emotional boundaries are the property lines that separate your thoughts and feelings from those of other people.
Everyone deserves to have emotional boundaries, and to have those emotional boundaries respected.
However, toxic individuals, such as malignant narcissists, refuse to respect the boundaries of others. Not only do they constantly trespass over them, but they often train and condition their families to NOT have boundaries.
How do they do this?
Malignant narcissists use anger to control others. If you put down a boundary – they will angrily criticize, argue, demean, or humiliate you into feeling as if you did something wrong by exercising a healthy boundary. They may use the silent treatment as a means to punish you into feeling so awful that you yourself erase the healthy boundary you were trying to establish.
Malignant narcissists don’t take no for an answer. They will incite you to guilt as if trying to establish healthy boundaries was ‘bad’.
In my face to face coaching, I often get people that say: ‘Michele, learning about boundaries was new to me, putting down boundaries was hard – since it was so foreign, enforcing them though, with malignant narcissists feels impossible since they don’t respect them.’
There’s a lot of truth to that. Even when YOU change and begin exercising healthy behaviors, that does not mean the toxic person will change – HOWEVER, you are not powerless or defenseless when it comes to handling these emotional predators.
Here are some tips that can help you to enforce your healthy boundaries, even with people that refuse to respect them:
Notice how none of those statements cause you to over-explain!!! They are designed to draw the line between the other persons perspective and your own without either party feeling forced to have to see it the way the other person see’s it. Those statements validate and respect the other persons point of view, while validating and respecting your own at the same time!
Now, let’s get real when it comes to people that refuse to respect boundaries. You can do all of the above mentioned tips and there will STILL be people that try to force you to do it their way and only their way.
That’s when you either change the subject by letting them know you don’t want to discuss this further. If THAT doesn’t work – well there’s only one thing left to decide – since no contact is usually a last resort, you may have to ask yourself if that’s the step needed in order to stop a reoccurring trespasser of your healthy boundaries – but you, and only you, are the one to make that decision.
If you are on your healing journey and find that you continually get stuck due to the side effects of narcissistic abuse, and/or complex ptsd, be sure to check out my 12 week Breakthrough Complex PTSD Workshop where you can join a group of about 10 other survivors that are working towards emotional freedom by healing their inner critic, emotional flashbacks, toxic shame, social anxiety as they strengthen their core identity, their confidence and self-love!!
Nobody understands what you're going through more than someone who has been there. I grew up with narcissistic family member and had intimate relationships with malignant narcissists. For the majority of my healing journey, I felt as if I was all alone. I now dedicate my life to being the person for others, that I needed on my own healing journey, so that YOU never feel alone.