How to deal with people breaking your boundaries

Updated: May 4, 2021

It's a hard one isn't it? Especially for People Pleasers, you don't like confrontation, you don’t like rocking the boat, so you let 'bad behaviour' slide for so long that the other person no longer thinks anything of it.

So over time without realising it you've taught them the acceptable way of treating you. Then, when you decide enough is enough and start putting your foot down it can cause ructions!

The indignation surfaces, the childish attacks begin, the blame ensues. Now YOU’RE the unreasonable one.

How dare you tell them they can’t treat/speak to you that way!! Who do you think you are and other childish comebacks such as...

I’ve been through this many times and lost some friends in the process, but you know what, my self-respect and inner calm is more important than having people around that treat or speak to me in a hurtful way.

The funny (not hahah funny) thing is that at one time I was probably the toxic person – actually, not probably, definitely. Attack was how I was taught to survive growing up, don’t show vulnerability or weakness because there was no point, it was just ignored. Not that I came from a bad home it’s just how things were done. It wasn’t until I started on my ‘inner work’ that I had these realisations.

Anyway, back to boundary violations, what do you do when you’ve had enough, and others are throwing tantrums? Firstly, there are two things I want to remind you of, and they are:

1 - YOU decide whether this person gets the privilege of being in your life, be it a spouse, family, friends, or kids.

2 - Accept that not all people are meant to be in your life for all your life, some are just meant to be here for a short while - maybe to teach you something?

So, what do you do now?

I feel it’s only right to say that just because someone is violating your boundaries doesn’t mean they’re a bad person or a narcissist, they may not even know that a) they’re doing it or b) the effects their behaviour is having on you.

So, in deciding what to do about potential toxic people around you I ask you to follow these steps:

Awareness - Give them the courtesy of letting them know how you feel when XYZ happens, most people are mortified when they find out. The next step you take all depends on their response to this convo.

If they’re sincerely sorry and you see a changed behaviour, there is nothing else to do. You may also find that because you’ve opened up to this genuine person your relationship bond has got stronger.

OK, you plucked up the courage to tell them how you feel and they haven’t taken the revelation well or they seemed to but are still carrying on doing the same old shit, well this is where the tougher steps come in.

Evaluation – How important is this person to you? How much do you want to keep them in your life? Ultimately you have 3 options:

· Keep re-setting boundaries and enforcing them

· Love them from a distance

· Remove them from your life

That seems overly simplistic and I’m sure you’ve got lots of “Yeah buts” and “I can’t do that; my circumstances are different”. Sorry, they’re not, you’re no different to anyone else, and essentially everyone’s choices are the same. You just don’t want to make them because all the fear is surfacing in your body, probably even right now just at the thought of it.

“What will people say”

“What will they think”

“They’ll think I’m a bad person”

“They’ll be talking about me”

“I’ll lose friends”

And yes, it is what will others say… because if you didn’t care there would be no qualms about doing something that is right for you.

Whatever the self-talk it… this’s what’s stopping you, the FEAR of something. And you must remember that just because a choice is a hard one, doesn’t mean it’s not a choice – I’m here with all the tough love today aren't I.

Keeping a toxic person around is hard.

Leaving them behind is hard.

Choose your hard.

At this point I want to say vehemently:

Your safety is paramount. If the person violating your boundaries has been violent or threatened violence, you need to proceed with caution. I highly recommend getting help from supportive people, professionals, and/or law enforcement.

Here we go, the boundary setting process:

1 – Continue to set them clearly and consistently.

Sometimes you may need to re-set boundaries or repeat what you said. Sometimes listening to someone’s thoughts on your boundary is helpful – whilst still holding firm

2 – If it makes sense – explain why.

Try to help the person understand why you need this boundary and why it may benefit your relationship. Help them understand it’s not them it’s you

3 – Set Consequences.

For example, saying “If this continues to happen, I will not be able to spend time with you” or whatever feels like an appropriate consequence.

Make sure it’s one you are willing to follow through on or you’ll be all talk and no trousers, and you won’t be taken seriously.

Why do you shy away from consequences? Maybe you don't want to be alone and you fear if you hold a boundary you'll end up being alone (yes me - rejection trauma from past), but it really is important to create change.

4 – Recognise some people will not change or be receptive.

You may need to decide which boundaries are most important and where / if you can compromise with certain people.

5 – Walk away if you need to.

You can limit or cut off contact. There may be people or situations or circumstance that are unhealthy and where it doesn’t work to compromise.

If you decide you need to walk away then also take time to mourn the loss of them in your life. You’re not a robot you're allowed to have feelings, so be gentle with yourself.


Of course, if you’re not ready for any of that you can compromise, but this will still involve a conversation with the other person, they need to know their actions are hurting you.

So, you’ve decided this is the way to go, which is great, however, I ask you to think about how much you’re compromising. Is it something minor or major things that leave you feeling hurt, abandoned, and unimportant?

Compromise is of course part of life but ensure you’re not the one always doing the compromising and when you do, it’s a healthy one. A healthy compromise is when you don't abandon who you are and what your core values, beliefs, and standards are, otherwise you’re just People Pleasing all over again under a different umbrella.

When you abandon yourself in favour of another, you’ll start to feel empty alone, misunderstood as well as it being the beginning of the slippery road to resentment.

I hope this has given you food for thought and helped you formulate a plan so you can start enforcing boundaries in your life that’ll create a happier stress-free future for yourself.

If you are struggling to even understand what your boundaries are, let alone enforce them my FREE PDF Workbook will help you create some that are best for you and your life. Download it here.

Love and light beautiful one.

Kerry xxx

P.S. As always, I invite you to join my thriving Facebook Group – People Pleasers Rehab: Setting Boundaries and Saying No with Confidence for even more support, comfort, insights, and lessons to enable you to leave your People Pleasing life behind.

P.P.S. For tips on how to Stop People Pleasing and Start Me Pleasing (without feeling guilty or selfish) I have a FREE masterclass you'll find helpful.

In this Free Masterclass you'll learn

  • The 3 BIGGEST People Pleasing mistakes, the ones that keep you stuck saying Yes to them and No to you

  • My simple 5-step Me Pleasing formula to help you go from People Pleasing to Me Pleasing - all without feeling guilty, selfish, or disappointing people

It's the exact same formula I used to end my own People Pleasing ways, I've worked out how to do it, I've made all the mistakes, so you don't have to!

Get started with this free training here or by clicking the image above for access

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