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August 3, 2023

Let’s talk about “the B-word.”

“You learn a lot about people when they don’t get what they want from you.”

The line.

Draw it.

Cross it.

Respect it.

Disregard it.

The line: “Boundary.”

We hear this word a lot in the zeitgeist today, don’t we? “Boundary” is a top-ten buzz word. It is trotted out whenever we speak about abuse, dysfunctional relationships, and appropriate, healthy self-care.

We are encouraged to employ its use whenever we deal with people and the life circumstances which accompany them.

Easier said than done, especially emotionally. For, it is often within this emotional arena where we are met with negative and harmful feedback.

Let’s talk about “the B-word.”

Let’s talk about why boundaries are so easily disregarded and disrespected. There’s more going on than we realize.

Boundary Violation Reason Number One:

They don’t want you/ they don’t want to know about you.

Sometimes, it comes down to effort, and a desire to acquire knowledge, including, about us.

“They” are not interested. It’s not personal much of the time. “They” are not interested in knowing who you and I are. It usually doesn’t go too deep. “They” are not interested in discovering our unique, personal individuality, pain, and histories. Nope.

Often, “they” are not looking at us as even human beings.

“They” don’t see us like that. And “they” are okay with that.

Therefore, our boundary violation is not high on their list of priorities. It’s not that important to them. If they hurt us, it’s not the end of their world.

“They” don’t want to know you that well to know when and how, exactly, they hurt us.

It doesn’t register.

Boundary Violation Reason Number Two: They want to get something from you… no matter what.

You and I have something “they” want.

And, in a lot of instances, a little thing like a boundary is not going to stop them from getting that thing.

If someone has their sights set on something about us, something we have that “they” want, a determination can motivate egregious and brutal behavior. People can be motivated to take, steal, kill, destroy, and allow themselves to go with any justification to get what “they” want.

Any boundary we erect can be viewed as a challenge, a threat, and an insult to such people. Maybe, in this light, our boundary becomes a personal insult to them in a way it was never designed to be.


And that perception is oozing with a sense of entitlement. “They” feel entitled to possess whatever we have that’s desirable simply because “they” want it. And then rules, somehow, don’t apply to them.

Hypocrisy. Double standard. Preferential treatment.

That’s what “they” are interested in, not us. If we can keep that in mind, it can give us a better perspective which allows for better decisions to be made. “They” don’t want us; “they” want what comes with us.

Sometimes, it is just that simple.

Boundary Violation Reason Number Three: They don’t want to address what “is.”

Whether or not someone gets what “they” want from us, “they” are still not interested in facing the truth, which often includes their unflattering part in the truth.

It’s within their best interest of ulterior motives to avoid reality. If “they” don’t face harsh truth, “they” don’t have to change any of their behavior.

Convenient. Easier. More comfortable.

And don’t we all want that?

Trampling boundaries, intentional or not, is more fun, more rewarding than doing the work to make healthier, different choices that require deliberate thought and corresponding action.

“They” can often determine how it’s just so much better to get what “they” want without doing any intentional behavioral work.

Boundary Violation Reason Number Four: They want to punish you.

Ah, here we go, the sadist!

Yes, Ladies and Gents, here’s an ugly side of human nature, the punitive one.

Maybe “they” have an understanding that their boundary violation of you hurt you… and “they” like that.

There can be an extra incentive to stick it to us if we dare erect a boundary someone else would rather not deal with.

Because we said “no,” when “they” wanted a “yes,” now it becomes a personal offense.

We did the unthinkable; we didn’t give them what “they” wanted.

Therefore, we need to pay for that, according to them.

Boundaries are designed to keep us safe, not to please others.

Let’s keep the main thing the main thing.

Boundaries are not about likeability.

If we are waiting for someone to be ecstatic about our boundary setting, we will be waiting forever.

It won’t happen.

By employing our own personal boundaries, what can happen?

We can be better equipped to be safe, to have our well-being, dignity, and resources protected, not exploited.

That is not the same thing as being “liked.”

We need to stop subscribing such importance to that likeability issue.

Sometimes, we won’t be liked. We might even be hated for saying “no” in some form of a boundary.

But we need to keep saying it, nonetheless.

The “b-word” must be a part of our vocabulary.

Copyright© 2023 by Sheryle Cruse


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