Setting boundaries with a narcissist is critical to maintaining peace in your life, and healing from narcissistic abuse. Trying to reduce the absurd level of abuse, drama, and upheaval that a narcissist can cause in your home, can often feel like we are constantly fighting, but fantastically losing, an uphill battle. No matter how hard you try… no matter how loving you try to be… no matter how clever, calm, fair, rational, or logical, you try to be…NOTHING seems to make a dent in the severity, or quantity, of abuse that gets hurled at you.
You may have heard of boundaries. Most people have. The problem is that, while most people have heard of boundaries, most don’t understand exactly what boundaries are, or how to effectively set boundaries with a narcissist. When I first started looking into the subject, I was in the same boat. I had no ideas how to use boundaries, or how they could help me bring peace to my home.
I thought that yelling at my husband, that he wasn’t allowed to treat me the way he does, was me setting a boundary. (LOL) Of course, that isn’t setting a boundary, and so the result I got was not exactly what I had been hoping for. In fact, I usually made things worse by approaching boundaries in a completely ass-backward way.
Simply put, boundaries are personal guidelines that outline what you do, or do not, find to be acceptable in your life. You can set boundaries around your personal space (both your physical & energetic), your time, your resources, and even your within your relationship. Boundaries are how you specifically state- for yourself & others- what you will continue to allow, and what you will no longer tolerate.
So, then, why wasn’t my yelling at my husband, that his behavior was unacceptable, not an example of setting boundaries? Simple… after the yelling was done, that was it. There was no next step. No way for me to actually enforce my “boundaries”, and no way to protect myself from my husband’s abuse. Since boundaries help you to accomplish all those things, it’s obvious that what I was doing was NOT setting boundaries, or even enforcing them. But, rather, something closer to what we call plain old arguing. (Really NOT quite as helpful-lol)
“Boundaries are NOT you shouting “You can’t treat me like this!”
Proper boundaries are being effectively utilized when the following three statements are true;
- They don’t have to be yelled at the other person, in order to be known.
- They carry CONSISTENT, appropriate & logical consequences for being violated.
- They bring about more peace in your life, not less.
And, now, here’s the million dollar question: How can I do this the right way, in order to bring peace to my life? I’m glad you asked. How to properly go about setting boundaries with a narcissist eluded me for a very long time. I would read articles about boundaries, and think I’ve got to get me some of those. Then, I’d get totally stuck on the part where I actually created the boundaries, and enforced them consistently. Oops!
I want to help you avoid all that shit. So, below is my super-genius (LOL) method of creating boundaries for yourself, and deciding upon appropriate consequences, in order to enforce them. If you want something a little more in-depth, click on the link at the bottom of this post (or, at the end of this sentence-lol) to download the Settings & Enforcing Boundaries for FREE!
How to Create & Enforce Boundaries: Quickie Overview
- List your partner’s most hurtful, abusive, traumatic, or disruptive behaviors, and how it makes you feel when he does them.
- Write a statement communicating that you will no longer accept that behavior & why.
- List the consequence you will enforce should your partner refuse to respect your boundary. Implement the consequence consistently…every, single time!
- Have a secondary, more severe, consequence ready to implement, if the first consequence does not alter your partner’s behavior.
- For extreme boundary violations, enlist the aid of outside people, such as law enforcement, family members, friends, church leaders, counselors, etc.
- Enjoy your new-found peace 🙂
Here you can download & print the Settings & Enforcing Boundaries. This worksheet goes a bit deeper into the topic, and guides you through the process. Enjoy!
I hope this has been helpful to you, and brings some measure of peace to your home, and your heart. Until next time sister.
Get a little gangster on his ass,
~The Narcissist’s Wife