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We Teach People How to Treat Us from the Treatment We Accept

Establishing Boundaries

Photo by Raphael Mittendorfer on Unsplash

People often say and do things that we may not like or that might hurt us. It’s an inevitable part of life and is bound to happen in all types of relationships. However, not expressing our feelings and thoughts about such things to the person tells them that it is okay to repeat it again in the future. We teach people how to treat us from the treatment we accept.

Some key steps that can aid us in establishing boundaries:

  1. Knowing your values: It’s vital to know what is important to you, what you can compromise on and what you absolutely can not.
  2. Communicate your boundaries: Honestly convey what you are comfortable with and name your limits.
  3. Set consequences for boundary violations: Plan what steps you would take if your boundaries are violated and try to stick to them.

The following part of the article contains a list of things that I personally do not find acceptable and would consider discussing with a person if they consistently exhibit these behaviours. (This post does not include topics such as abuse because these issues are clearly more complex than simply accepting behaviours.)

Here are a few of my red flags or warning signs:

All Talk, No Action

Actions show effort and I think that effort is key. Effort that is put in through actions is heard by the other person as “I care about you.” On the other hand, when someone says they’ll do something and doesn’t follow through, they are showing you that they lack the desire and willingness to stick to their word. I believe this is a big issue if it is a common occurrence as it infringes upon trust and honesty.

“It’s all about me.”

This is about the type of person that thinks everything is and should be about them. Past the brief initial stage of getting to know each other, where they act like every single thing that comes out of your mouth is fascinating, it’s suddenly all about them. This is a person who tries to dominate the conversation and constantly steer it towards themselves. Active listening is probably not one of their skills. You end up hearing the same stories over and over but according to them that’s totally alright. Not only is this person often dismissive of what you have to say, but they also have to contradict you regularly. This is not something that you have to tolerate.

(Side note: Please stop interrupting me.)

“I’m never wrong.”

Some people believe that they are never wrong. While this is an obvious exaggeration, such beliefs can be harmful and would affect the way they navigate daily interactions including conflict. It is also likely that people who hold beliefs like these find it difficult to apologise. Being with someone who thinks they are never wrong can be frustrating to say the least. This is someone who believes they know it all. It’s hard having a simple conversation without it turning into something you wish you had never began in the first place. When you have an opinion different from theirs it’s labelled as “kicking off.” Having discussions with people who have differing opinions can be stimulating when it’s done respectfully and with an open mind. But if someone is adamant that they can never be wrong then that is rarely possible.

(Oh additionally, nothing is ever their fault. If anything in their life goes wrong there’s always someone else to blame. Poor thing!)

Douche Button

No one acts the same around everybody. It’s just not possible—social monitoring exists for a reason. But if your caring and romantic partner acts terrible toward you with the switch of a button (the presence of their friends) we have a problem. It’s important to make the distinction between a joke to lighten the mood and being genuinely unkind here. However, if such behaviours hurt you and do not make you feel respected, it might be a good idea to discuss them in private. This type of behaviour can also be a sign of immaturity and this might be something that you don’t need in your life. Remember that you do not have to put up with people being disrespectful toward you in any setting. You deserve someone who is not afraid to show you they care—no matter who is around. 

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