Whenever I ask groups of audiences who’s been hurt by people, EVERY SINGLE PERSON puts up their hand. There’s not one person who hasn’t been hurt by others. Some have been hurt by many over and over again. Some have experienced the heartache of being let down for YEARS.
When other people let us down it just plain HURTS.
- don’t feel listened to from our partner or family?
- don’t feel our emotions are held by those who say they love us?
- are feeling left out by our friends?
- feel like people use us just to get what they want.
No matter how many times people have let us down or how big or small it has been our lives, most of us create walls of self protection almost immediately after. We may look nice on the outside, but on the inside is a fortress no one will ever break through because we are going to do whatever it takes to avoid hurt again.
I will never call that friend again.
I won’t trust him.
I will deny them my love.
I am not speaking to her.
Shame has a hay-day with us when we break our self protection to choose to trust only to be let down AGAIN. Our walls resurrect only thicker at that point.
I can relate. I have had my share of friend betrayals, family drama, and feeling unheard in my own home. The above is exactly how I would respond. The problem I found in over 20 years of wall building is that the person it affects negatively the most is… me. Then that trickles down to my kids. It creates an environment where everyone’s guard is up in the home. No one is trusting anyone, and it’s survival of the fittest.
And I wondered why my son was struggling with anxiety and depression?
My walls didn’t fall in a day, but the decision to DO SOMETHING about my relationships creating walls happened in a day. Here’s what I did:
I checked my expectations at the door
I’ve put this hardest one first. The truth is, no one owes you anything. Not your spouse, not your kids, not your friends. Should you expect to be treated with love and respect? Of course! I’m talking about the kind of expectations where you keep score in your mind of what you’ve done for others and what you expect in return. That, my friends, is toxic. Then when they’ve hurt you because they can’t possibly give you what you are wanting, your walls go up and blind you to where people are really putting in the effort. Be sure to check what you’re expecting of others. When we don’t we may be putting up walls that never needed to be there in the first place.
A powerful person (that’s what YOU are) takes ownership over themselves.
Which leads me to the second thing I did.
I got clear on what I need and gave myself permission to ask for it
No one knows what you need or want unless you ask for it. Even after 21 years of marriage I STILL have to communicate clearly what I need. You’d think my hubby would know by now. HE DOESN’T. When I’m clear about what I need and ask for it with kindness I usually get it (except that sports car I keep “kindly” asking for).
You may need to repeat yourself to your spouse, your friends, your kids. Give them grace as they learn to lean into what you need. Where the line needs to be drawn is if you are asking for needs like going out with friends, or to be loved and that is not listened to. That is NOT OK. You have a problem when love and respect is being denied over and over.
When you bring up concerns, how does the other party respond? If there is a sincerity to want to do better work with it. If there’s no concern for your emotions or needs that’s a big warning sign that a boundary is needed.
And the last thing I decided to do was…
Decided what I would do when I wasn’t feeling heard
Many don’t know that boundaries are meant to create CONNECTION, not to disconnect. When you state what you need and there’s no conversation or willingness to listen, You need to decide what YOU will do in response. Boundaries know that the only person you control is YOU. You don’t control your spouse, your friends, even your kids!
So, what are YOU going to to when they do “THAT”. That’s a boundary. It’s not telling them what you want them to do A boundary is communicating what you will do in response.
That day I decided to take back my life.
HOW do you do this?
HOW do you know what expectations are reasonable or not? How do you ask for what you need and decide what you will do regarding other’s responses?
That is all in my new online course, Take Back Your life.
In this course I explain:
- what boundaries are and aren’t
- how we create them (which is different than you’d expect!)
- foundations for building and creating boundaries that are different than walls
- how to have relationships that feel fulfilling
This isn’t easy for many so I want to help. Along with the course, I am offering personal coaching on creating and keeping boundaries.
If this is you, I want you to know there’s hope for meaningful relationships just waiting for you. Your marriage can thrive, your friendships can be meaningful, and your connection with your kids can be strong. Secure your spot in the course by clicking here if you’re needing that right now in your life and let’s do this together.
Keep being brave,