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  • Meagan Turner

3 Categories of Boundary Violations (and what to do about them!)

A recent article published by UpJourney begins, "People who violate other people’s boundaries are all too common. They may be a relative, your boss, or just an acquaintance with no respect for personal space and privacy.

It feels like they’re everywhere.

Here are valuable tips on how to deal with someone who doesn’t respect your boundaries, as shared by experts."

The three categories mentioned in the article are: 1. Lack of Clear Boundary-Setting; 2. Misunderstanding of Boundary Needs; and 3. Intentional Boundary Violations. Learning to respond to intentional boundary violations is a skill that takes time to practice and develop. I was honored to contribute that section of the article, which I've included below. Please click here to see the full article!

Some people will intentionally cross boundaries to get their personal needs or agendas met. If persona continues to cross your boundaries after you’ve made your boundary needs very clear, you have several options—and they are not mutually exclusive.

The fix:

  • Restate your boundary firmly.

  • Let the person know very clearly what will happen if the boundary is violated again. For example, you might say, “If you cross my boundaries again, I will discontinue our relationship.”

  • Follow through on that consequence if the boundary is crossed.

As an example, if a friend disrespects your boundaries regarding sharing confidences, you might say decide to have an extremely clear conversation on the matter.

You might say, “Please share my confidences with anyone. I have very strong boundaries about this issue in particular. It’s important that I am able to trust you with my private information. I need to know that what I tell you is safe and is not shared with others.”

If the friend breaks your confidence again, you might say, “After I reminded you about not sharing my confidences with others, you told Phoenix what I shared with you. I feel very disrespected and disappointed by this as I’ve been very clear with you about my boundaries. I won’t be sharing private information with you in the future.”

Although such conversations can be difficult, they are always done best in person or via phone if necessary. This allows for open dialogue and clarifications that are not possible via text. In-person discussions allow for reading of body language and eye-to-eye contact. As well, email and text discussions can be easily shared, taken out of context, and misinterpreted.

Not having clear and reinforced boundaries can lead to or exacerbate feelings of anxiety, depression, and lack of self-esteem. If you struggle with any of these, please call your Atlanta-based counselor for a free 15-minute consultation to see if I might be a good fit to help you gain clearer boundaries.

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