How to Enforce Your Boundaries


If your relationship isn’t as satisfying as you’d like it to be, you might need to set bigger personal limits.
A personal limit, or boundary is a dividing line between you and your significant other as well as others. This line indicates both physical and emotional limits that your partner and others cannot violate.
When someone crosses one of your personal limits, it creates intense feelings of resentment, anger and hurt.
In some cases, your personal limits might have been crossed so many times that you are no longer in touch with how much it actually upsets you. You might brush it off as either ‘nothing’ or ‘not worth saying anything about’.
Instead of feeling anger you may only be able to get in touch with feelings of resentment or possibly frustration causing a disconnect in your relationship.

Setting personal limits is vital to creating a close, satisfying relationship.

When we don’t know how to set and stand up for our personal limits, relationships are difficult and unsatisfying because they don’t meet our needs for happiness. When we have a strong sense of our personal limits, it prevents us from being hurt by others.

When you set and enforce personal limits it raises your sense of self-confidence, because you’re sending yourself and your partner a strong message that you are valuable and worthy of the utmost respect. This makes your partner feel safe because he or she knows what you want and don’t want, instead of tiptoeing on eggshells.

Expressing your limits allows your partner to know you in the truest sense. When the one you love knows you intimately you feel more closely connected.

Setting boundaries is a way of saying No. Being able to say No and not only express it, but be willing to enforce it if your boundary is crossed is necessary for strong relationships.

Strong relationships require that you are willing to confront your partner in a kind and respectful way whenever your boundaries are crossed. This is the balance of becoming the graceful warrior or peaceful fighter – ultimately the most loving position you can hold. It’s the nicest way to be as your clear communication makes it so that no one needs to guess (and likely make the wrong guess and mess things up) in their interactions with you. This is super kind!

Follow these general steps to enforce your boundaries:

  • Give them the benefit of the doubt – say, “I don’t know if you realize (that you’re yelling)”
  • I feel really uncomforable around raised voices (use “I” language and leave out blaming and dramatic language)
  • Please stop
  • I really need you to stop (broken record)
  • Since we aren’t communicating very well right now, I’m going to go for a walk but I’ll be back in an hour and hopefully we can try again then (create distance, self soothe and show you’ll return to avoid triggering feelings of abondonment)
  • When you return try communicating in a calm, kind and lighthearted manner (you can make light of yourself, but never make light of your partner – that’s their job)

There are certain boundaries personal limits that we all share, such as no one can hit me, but many of them are unique to our individual personalities. What are some of your personal limits?

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Susan Blackburn

Susan Blackburn

About Susan Blackburn:

Susan Blackburn, M.A., C.Psych. is a Registered Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Counsellor & Therapist in Toronto at Yonge Eglinton, a Published Author and a guest Relationship Expert on radio and television.

Susan enjoys working with people to enhance the quality of their lives. Her collaborative psychotherapy and counselling approach offers clients effective tools and strategies to increase happiness, manage stress, find balance, improve confidence, embrace self care and focus on the positive so that they can relax and enjoy life.

Services are covered under most extended health benefits and workplace insurance plans requiring clients be seen by a Registered Psychologist through her registration with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

Susan is the owner of Susan Blackburn Psychology a boutique therapy private practice located in midtown Toronto at Yonge and Eglinton.

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