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Asserting Boundaries: The Pros Outweigh the Cons

‘Want to know what happens when you begin asserting boundaries? Here are both the pros and cons when you establish your boundaries.

asserting boundaries

Asserting boundaries is so important and if you’re anything like I was at one time, too scared to do it. Then you’re probably wondering what it is that encourages others to stand up for themselves.

As someone who has overcome the fear of establishing personal limits, I’m giving you all the reasons why you should. Also, I’m warning you of all that happens if you don’t.

You will learn about the importance of asserting boundaries. Moreover, you’re going to learn about the positive and negative results of doing do.

Once you learn about all these things, you will be more encouraged and motivated to assert your rights not to be abused. Also, you will be more emboldened to stand your ground for as long as it takes until you are finally free of bullies and abusers.

This post is all about asserting boundaries so that you can take back your personal power and live in peace and happiness.

Asserting boundaries

Here’s how the pros outweigh the cons:

People will accuse you of having “An Attitude”

Many times, when you begin to set boundaries and refuse to lower your standards, others, especially abusive others, will accuse you of having “an attitude.” This is what will happen once you finally take enough abuse and put your foot down and you should expect it.

Understand you will get that response when you either say no to something you don’t like. Moreover, people will give you the same response any time you refuse to be manipulated or to take abuse.

Therefore, it’s better to accept, even embrace, the reality that others will see you as having an attitude when you stand on your principles.

For example, toxic teachers will call you insubordinate. Abusive managers and supervisors will tell you that you’re not a team player. Also, bullying peers will see you as a ‘difficult’ person to be around, and that’s only a very mild version of what they may call you.

Asserting boundaries helps you separate real friends from the fakes.

Understand that anytime you enforce your boundaries and standards, you threaten the power of your bullies and abusers. Furthermore, you expose the manipulative people in your life through the limits you set.

Therefore, you see them more clearly. Why? Because you force them to tell off on themselves through their reactions.

Through having boundaries and standards, you can better tell the difference between real friends and fake ones. In other words, you can better see which people are truly for you and value your friendship. You find out which ones are only in your life because they want something from you. This is one of the most important pros!

bullies and abusers feel they have carte blanche to abuse you

Like all abusers, bullies feel entitled to devalue you and expect you to “just go with the flow” and not object to it. With these types of people, your healthy boundaries and standards are an insult to them. Why? Because they don’t recognize limits.

In their minds, anything goes, and the world and everything in it is one big free-for-all. In other words, any rules, laws, or limits don’t apply to them.

Bullies and frenemies believe they should have carte blanche to treat you any way they choose. They get super offended when you get enough of their abuse and finally have the courage to put your foot down.

Accept that you will lose people you think are friends when you establish boundaries and standards. And they will often be the people you’d never expect.

But realize that these peoples’ condescension and dismissal are only proof of their discomfort and their only recourse. Bullies can’t handle an assertive person of incredible strength because they can never meet them on their level. These are only a few of the cons.

setting limits allows you growth, safety, and freedom

Also, understand that you cannot grow, be safe, or be free if you don’t set boundaries. In many cases, people go out of their way to prevent targets of bullying from imposing any limits.

It seems that boundaries and standards are okay for anyone else but strictly prohibited for targets.

But realize that you cannot continue to live your life as a doormat. Therefore,  you must dig deep and pull out the courage to establish your boundaries, which include,

Physical boundaries

Psychological boundaries

Time boundaries

Material boundaries

Intellectual boundaries

Sometimes you must “Cop an Attitude” to defend your rights.

You are a flesh-and-blood human being who has rights! And sometimes, you must “cop an attitude” to defend those rights.

You must enforce your boundaries from relentless bullies and others who won’t take no for an answer. Also, you must set consequences for those who continue to violate your boundaries after you’ve told them to stop it.

When you set firm boundaries and standards and enforce them, you protect your physical well-being, emotional health, self-esteem, and identity from anyone who seeks to destroy them.

Moreover, you make yourself an individual human being who asserts your right to make your own choices and decisions.

Your boundaries and standards are the invisible fortresses surrounding you with protection. They keep you safe from harm.

When you set boundaries, it means that you don’t allow others to take advantage of you. It also means that you refuse to be a pushover.

In other words, you won’t let other people make you do things that aren’t in line with your goals, values, morals, or convictions. In short, you don’t allow others to manipulate you.

And it requires that you call out anyone who tries to stick so much as a toe over those boundaries.

Be Assertive but not aggressive. Be strong but not overbearing.

You’re assertive but not overly aggressive. You’re strong but not overbearing. When you say no, you mean it, and you say it without feeling guilty over not saying yes.

And when you do say yes to others, you can do it without saying no to yourself.

Sadly, it can be hard to set boundaries and standards, especially when dealing with overly-aggressive bullies who have anger issues. Our first instinct is to protect ourselves any way we can- even if it means we must appease these people to ensure our safety.

Many targets have zero boundaries. They feel that to keep bullies from causing further harm, they must always bend over backward to make sure the people around them feel comfortable and at ease. You should never feel you must live this way!

But here’s the positiive side. Assertiveness builds courage and, with it, your self-esteem.

Not asserting boundaries works only temporarily because bullies and abusers always come back for more.

Many targets don’t feel strong enough to keep invaders out of their bubble. And it’s because of this that they feel like they’ve let themselves down because they didn’t stand up to their abusers.

Moreover, they feel like failures when they’re unable to enforce their boundaries and standards. I’ve been there and, let me tell ya! It’s the worst feeling in the world.

I want you to understand that, no matter what others may tell you or how they may act, it’s okay to refuse their disrespect. It’s okay to say no to bullying.

 Know that you owe it to yourself to say stop to those who insist they have the right to cross your boundaries and invade your space. You have every right to disallow others to disrupt your peace. Know that you deserve a seat at the table of life, not one in the corner.

Realize that setting boundaries and standards is not having an“attitude.” It’s your right!

You must accept that toxic people will put up a ton of resistance to any limitations you set in place. Therefore, take this as a given!

The upside is that the resistance you get will give you clues to who your real friends aren’t.

Resistance is soooo telling! It can help you find out who’s really for your good and who isn’t.

It’s never smart to be a yes-person. Caring about others is great but caring too much is unhealthy.

You need boundaries and standards because, without them, you subject yourself to living your life on autopilot. Put simpler, you’re a car without a steering wheel- a ship without a rudder!

But with boundaries, you have a rudder, and you can chart your life’s course. The winds and currents may change, and the waters might get rough. You may even go off course, but you’ll still have some degree of direction.

In setting boundaries and standards, you’re not completely powerless over what happens to you. You have some say over your destiny.

That’s why it’s crucial that you stand in your power and speak your truth. Never dumb yourself down and make yourself less than the awesome person you are. Never settle for less than what you want and deserve.

Put yourself first. Stop being a people pleaser. Stop putting your wants and needs on the back burner to keep others satisfied. Practice self-love and self-care.

Accept that people won’t handle it well and be willing to let them go because they don’t deserve a seat at your table. Once you do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much better life gets and how many people of integrity and sound quality come into your life.

This post was all about pros and cons of asserting boundaries and how doing so can help you take back your personal power and your say in your life’s direction.

Related posts you’ll enjoy:

1. Setting Boundaries: 3 Powerful Practices to Hold Your Ground

2. Phrases to Shut Down a Gaslighter: 9 Powerful Statements to Use

3. How to Respond to Darvo: 7 Powerful Ways to Shut it Down

4. Defending Yourself from Bullies: 11 Best Defenses

5. How to Stop Caring What People Think: 9 Powerful Steps

6. How to Stop Being a People Pleaser: 5 Powerful Steps

Space Invaders: 2 Ways Bullies Invade Your Personal Space

Bullies are notorious for violating others’ personal space. They make it a point to get too close. I want you to understand that bullies do this deliberately to intimidate and challenge targets.

If you are a target of bullying, bullies will get in your face or stand too close behind you, sometimes so close their bodies are touching yours. Bullies purposefully crowd you to either intimidate you, challenge you or provoke you into a reaction. These violations are too blatant!

Different zone distances are practiced based on the relationship we have with the people in the room around us. They are as follows:

Intimate Zone – (6-18 inches) This distance between people is reserved for lovers, family, close friends, and pets. However, unwelcome bullies will move into your intimate zone when they’re feeling hostile toward you and are about to attack.

Girl sitting on the ground and drawing personal space. Selective focus

Anytime someone we don’t know, don’t trust or don’t like moves into this area, they are too close, and our minds and bodies automatically go into fight, flight, or freeze mode. Some bullies may also invade the target’s intimate area only to toy with them and get them to react, then step back and laugh at the reaction. Do not ignore it! Call the bully out and let them know that they are in your personal space and that what they’re doing isn’t acceptable.

Personal Zone – (18-48 inches) We stand this far apart at parties and social gatherings. If bullies stand in the personal zone, they are still too close. Don’t be afraid to tell them in no uncertain terms to back the hell up!

Social Zone – (4-12 feet) These distances, we stand from strangers, clerks, and delivery people. Bullies will easily be able to get away with standing at these distances from their victims, so you might not want to react if you don’t want to look paranoid or unstable. But still, keep a close eye on your bully just in case they try to move closer!

Public Zone – (Over 12 feet) We stand at these distances when speaking publicly in front of an audience. Bullies can freely stand at these distances from their victims and not look conspicuous or threatening.

too close personal space bullied victim

(Zone distances- “The Definitive Book of Body Language,” Allan and Barbara Pease – pp. 194-195; 2004)

1.Sitting in your chair, leaning on your car, etc. – Any chair we sit in or any object we lean on or touch, we nonverbally lay claim to. Just as a dog will mark his territory by peeing on the spot he claims as his, people mark theirs by sitting, leaning, or touching the place or object they claim as theirs.

Other ways bullies invade their victim’s territory are leaning in the doorway of their office, dorm room, or house. Bullies may also prop their feet on the target’s desk or table or even walk into the victim’s home without knocking or being invited inside!

bullies dog peeing on tree marking territory

Male poodle dog pee on tree trunk to mark his territory

However, here are some less-obvious ways of space violations:

2. Invasion of your privacy – Bullies will very carefully observe you. They will eavesdrop on your conversations and listen for intimate details so they can take the private info and spread it as juicy gossip and make you look bad. They may also read your diary to find out your deepest, darkest secrets so they can spread it around and damage your reputation. They will even follow you to see where you go and who you associate with.

If you are a victim of bullying, understand that bullies do this on purpose. They invade your territory to intimidate, challenge, or dominate you.

You must protect not only your physical and mental health from bullies but also your personal space and territory. Never be afraid to call the bully out if they violate either one!

The more you know, the better you can protect yourself against these personal space invaders.

A Bully’s Nonverbal Language from Head to Toe

Eyes- That Creepy Piercing Glare. The eyebrows narrow and the eyes bore into you without blinking. The head does not move. The person stares you down as if they want to attack you. Bullies do this number to either challenge or intimidate their targets. Return the stare and the bully will likely go away.

Nose- The Nostril Flare. You’ve seen the nostrils of a bull flare when the animal is about to charge a matador. It’s the same with bullies. The nostrils flare to take in extra oxygen needed for a possible physical attack. When a bully does this, he’s hostile. When a person’s nostrils flare at you, look out! Because it is a sign the bully is about to physically attack you. Keep your eyes peeled and be prepared to defend yourself.

Jaw- The Jaw Clinch. The bully is gritting his teeth at the target and hiding it. When this happens, you’ll notice the jaws protruding. The bully either pulls this move to intimidate or in preparation for a fight. Again, this is a sign of a possible physical attack. Don’t ignore it. Stay vigilant.

Mouth – There are many expressions bullies use with their mouths. One of which is, The One-Sided Upper-Lip Raise. Coupled with a glare, people raise one side of their upper lip to convey contempt or disgust. Return the sentiment and the bully will likely move away. Thinned or Pursed Lips are a sign of hostility as are baring of the teeth or snarling. Again, return the expression but be prepared.

Chin- The Jutted Chin. The bully tilts the head back and juts his chin forward all for the purpose of looking down his nose at you. When the bully does this, he is either challenging you, trying to intimidate you, or he truly thinks he’s superior. Again, return the sentiment and the bully will back down.

Neck- The Exposed Neck. The bully will expose and lengthen the neck to challenge you. People do this to show that they aren’t afraid of the person in front of them and can hold their own if necessary. Bullies do it to make themselves appear taller and to intimidate anyone in their way. Again, reflect the gesture back to the bully and he’ll likely leave you alone.

too close personal space

Shoulders- The Shoulder Throw. Bullies will often throw their shoulders back to convey confidence and power. If you want to appear confident, never slouch the shoulders, always stand up straight, tall, and with your shoulders back.

Chest- The Puffed-Out Chest. The bully’s chest puffs outward toward the target. The chest fills with extra air in preparation for a possible fight. Again, this is not only done to make the bully look bigger and to intimate his opponent but also a sign of a coming physical attack. Be aware.

(Continued in part 2…)