Setting Healthy Boundaries after surviving Domestic Violence, Narcissistic Abuse, Parental Alienation, Intergenerational Family Trauma & Best Friend Betrayal
byDr. Marni Hill Foderaro
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Everyone deserves the opportunity to be in positive relationships based on a foundation of honesty and mutual respect. There may come a time in our life when we realize that some of our relationships are not healthy, balanced or positive, and may even be toxic and/or psychologically damaging. When our lightbulb eventually goes on illuminating years of ignored Red Flags and our Inner Voice speaks to the gut-wrenching reality that we feel betrayed, used and Abused, we need to stop and pay attention, and step back to really take a hard look at the company we keep. We may need to set Healthy Boundaries.
We need to value our own worth and honor ourselves, which means we may need to put up and set Healthy Boundaries, even if it is with people we’ve known our entire life and love dearly, including close friends and family. Healthy Boundaries are limits that we can set to prevent other people from overstepping their bounds and engaging in a way that makes us feel uncomfortable, hurt or taken advantage of. Boundaries are the ability to know what is positive or right for us and what is negative or wrong for us. We’ve been conditioned, many of us our entire lives, to suppress our own thoughts when it comes to Cognitive Dissonance and feeling dismissed or devalued in our relationships. So many of us empathetic souls have an ingrained need to people-please and over-give, which is a result of years of Gaslighting, self-doubt, anxiety and just wanting to be loved.
If we finally begin to notice that some of our relationships are not based on mutual respect, or even if we have suspected this for some time and ignored years of glaring Red Flags or disregarded our spot-on Gut Intuition that someone in our life doesn’t seem to truly care about us, and if our thoughts or what’s important to us, and our interactions with them leaves us with feelings of hurt, resentfulness or being taken advantage of, then we need to take a closer look as to whether staying in these relationships is positive or negative for our overall mental health and happiness.
Because we are empathetic, compassionate, caring, honest and open individuals, a reasonable response and action step to naturally address these concerns would be for us to initiate a candid conversation with our friend or family member, to honestly discuss our feelings about the betrayal in the relationship dynamic. We may share what hurts us or what makes us uncomfortable, expecting mutual respect, in the hopes that there will be understanding, resulting in a change to rectify our concerns. I caution you, however, when it comes to choosing this reasonable response. This opens up their ability to manipulate the situation by strategically placating you with their Word Salad or Love Bombing. You cannot use logic and reason with unreasonable or narcissistic people. I encourage you to pay more attention to their actions rather than to their words. People’s behavior can speak volumes.
The reaction of our friend or family member to us putting up Healthy Boundaries is also an indication of whether we are in a healthy relationship or whether we are in a toxic or psychologically Abusive relationship. Abusive others don’t like it when we finally have the courage to stand up for ourselves and set a Healthy Boundary. Many will use Projection and turn the situation around and will use Blame Shifting to start accusing us for what they are actually doing. They may ramp up their Gaslighting of us to try and get us to question our reality and our decision to stand up for ourselves. They may react with anger, even Narcissistic Rage. They may give us the Silent Treatment or Grey Rock us. They most likely will begin a devastating Smear Campaign, trashing our character with a False Narrative of outright lies and believable half-truths, to gather up Flying Monkey support from those in our circle. Some will apologize, promise to change or Love Bomb us to get us to go back to how things were; we may fall for these attempts and on a rare occasion they may be sincere, however, these reactions most likely are a calculated effort to temporarily get us back to where they want us, under their domineering power and Coercive Control. They turn the tables on us and although they are the ones mistreating us, they will pull out the Victim Card to gain the sympathy of those around them.
We set Healthy Boundaries to honor ourselves. The more we set Healthy Boundaries with romantic relationships, friends, coworkers, neighbors and family members, the more we learn about ourselves and the people in our lives. Putting up Healthy Boundaries is not about us being mean or selfish or used by us as a form of punishment in a relationship; we may still truly love these people. But, we must love ourselves more and believe we deserve to be treated well. Putting up Healthy Boundaries is a step towards us being self-aware of the relationship dynamics we are in. As we get stronger and more secure and confident in who we are, we can overcome and heal our relationship challenges. This can positively impact future relationships because we learn about what behaviors we will and will not tolerate, and we can then decide who we let in or keep in our lives.
We deserve to be in relationships based on mutual respect. In order to have positive relationships moving forward, we must acknowledge how we feel and whether or not those in our circle act in ways that reinforce we are valued. We have every right to honor ourselves when it comes to who we let and keep in our lives by putting up Healthy Boundaries. We cannot control the actions of others, but we can control ourselves and how we respond. Healthy Boundaries are opportunities to love ourselves unconditionally and have our own backs.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to be in positive relationships which
are based on a foundation of honesty and mutual respect. There may
come a time in our life when we realize that some of our relationships are
not healthy, balanced or positive, and may even be toxic and/or psychologically
damaging. When our lightbulb eventually goes on illuminating years of ignored
Red Flags and our Inner Voice speaks to the gut-wrenching reality that we feel
betrayed, used and Abused causing us to think “No More; Enough is Enough,”
we need to stop and pay attention, and step back to really take a hard look at
the company we keep. We need to learn about and practice Setting Healthy