Setting boundaries is telling others what you will and will not tolerate and what they can expect from you if they violate one of your boundaries. Enforcing boundaries, on the other hand, is doing what you said you’d do if someone violates one of them.
In other words, you can set boundaries all day long but if you don’t enforce them, people will pick up on it very quickly. And soon, they’ll no longer take you seriously. They’ll only see you as making empty threats. People will then step over your boundaries deliberately, just because they can!
Setting and enforcing boundaries is never easy, especially if you’re dealing with bullies. Bullies, especially narcissistic bullies, despise boundaries and will retaliate and lash out at you for daring to have them. Therefore, when you decide you will no longer be controlled by your bullies, the power dynamic automatically changes.
Don’t Just Mouth It. Mean it!
They hate anyone who is their own person and not the person they want them to be. Bullies want conformers and followers, not original individuals. Again, bullies abhor boundaries because it shows that they can’t control you. Moreover, when a bully cannot control you, that bully goes into panic mode and will do very desperate things.
Why? Because they want things back to the way they used to be. In other words, they attempt to roll back that power dynamic by doing either one or all of the following.
1. They will be super sweet to you.
2. They’ll threaten you.
3. They may verbally or physically attack you.
4. Or they’ll resort to smearing you to others.
Bullies Hate Boundaries.
It’s been said that if bullies can no longer control you, they will control how others view you. Therefore, again, enforcing your boundaries will not be easy, especially once bullies have grown comfortable with controlling you.
And if they’ve grown comfortable with wresting control over you, you will automatically take them out of their comfort zones once you take your power back. Then you will have hell to pay.
Nevertheless, you must, for your own sake and the sake of your mental health, hold firm and stick to your guns. If you refuse to give in to your bullies, there’s always a chance they just might leave you alone. But be prepared just in case they don’t. You might need to remove yourself from the bullying environment and go to a place where you can make a fresh start.
With knowledge comes empowerment!
13 thoughts on “Don’t Only Set Boundaries, Enforce Them”
Thank you so much, Shanti! 💖
“Nevertheless, you must, for your own sake and the sake of your mental health, hold firm and stick to your guns. If you refuse to give in to your bullies, there’s always a chance they just might leave you alone. But be prepared just in case they don’t. You might need to remove yourself from the bullying environment and go to a place where you can make a fresh start.”
This is absolutely true! By doing nothing we send the signal that we are passively allowing the toxic behavior to continue. Sometimes we do need to leave, or stop a friendship, or stop seeing a relative. Ultimately, we need to do what is good for our mental health.
Absolutely right, Tamara! You said that perfectly! 💯
This is so true! A lot of people think that setting the boundary is all that’s needed, but the real work comes in when we reinforce it. People will usually try to push back, especially if they were benefitting from there being weak or no boundaries before.
Absolutely right, Sara! You said it right there! People have grown accustomed to benefiting from your being weak and not having any boundaries. And when you end that for them, they can become quite vicious and vindictive.
Setting boundaries is so important with bullies, but sadly, they may not respect those boundaries.
Absolutely right, Vanya! They may even try to punish you for it.
When I meet someone, it becomes clear rather quickly whether they can be a good person to hang out with based on this very topic!
Imho, people will show their true selves and motivations quickly .
People will tell you who they are. I have matured enough (finally) to listen , ask questions for clarification and then honor my somatic response-even if I don’t really want to know the answer. I can choose to proceed or not.
In the past, I would avoid hearing the siren-bells warning me of future problems because I wanted to “believe “ the person was indeed of good character; if we clicked initially, but then attractiveness, charm, smartness, selfishness, arrogance, narcissistic tendencies or whatever else is underneath usually reveals itself right away. These signs can be hidden in glitter or silence for hours or years.
I am Thankful for the opportunity to read your words and to share my thoughts . 🙏🏽
Paying attention to how my body reacts when a person speaks or withholds is key. If can speak my truth and set a boundary with (you )
I will get to choose my path forward with strength. Then we can maybe talk.
I processes these feelings and reactions in real time. It is the only way I have found to establish if a person is able to be a good fit for friendship or not . I don’t waste my time anymore with bs. I know if they (men, women, clerks, clients) will honor my request for boundaries, it is a good start.
If a person bristles, gets snarky or demeans me then I immediately know that the relationship’s future is limited.
I like my own company, and choosing to be alone – rather than be around people who are not good for me, for whatever reason, is extremely satisfying and Empowering
Awesome comment, Kathleen. You are very wise to listen to your body’s response to a person and to check their actions ans nonverbal communication and not their words and outer appearance.
Thank you so much
You’re very welcome! 😊