Boundaries are for YOU, not to Try to Control Another Person

Hello dear readers, last week I touched on the idea of boundaries in THIS BLOG POST.  Today I’d like to dive a little deeper into the topic to help you set some good, clear boundaries for yourself.

Boundaries is kind of a buzz word currently.  I’m all for spreading awareness of the need to have strong boundaries in your life.  However, what I’m seeing a lot of is this idea that boundaries are a way to control other people and get them to do what you want.  WRONG!

Boundaries predetermine how YOU will act in certain situations.  It is a decision that you make ahead of time.  Put simply, boundaries are an “IF/THEN statement.”  “If (another person) does (action), then I will (response that keeps ME safe.)”  For example, “If you (spouse) have sex with someone outside our marriage, then I will leave you and divorce.”  

When setting boundaries, it is important to understand that other adult humans get to do whatever they want to do.  Just like you get to do whatever you get to do.  We can’t control how others respond to what we choose to do, and likewise, others can’t choose how we respond to them.  But YOU can choose how YOU respond to others.  It is in fact the only thing that is in your control when it comes to other people’s behavior.

Once you fully accept that others can do whatever they want, it’s easier to set boundaries that will keep you safe.  Boundaries are all about what you choose to do in the event another person does X, Y, or Z.

Let’s maybe look closer at some things that many people think are Boundaries.  Read the statements below and see if you can tell which ones are true boundaries, and which ones are not.

“I have a boundary that my husband cannot watch porn.”

“I have a boundary that my friends can not call me after 11pm.”

“I have a boundary that my ex-boyfriend can not text me.”

“I have a boundary that married men can not flirt with me.”

“I have a boundary that my spouse has to tell me where they are.”

Ok, what do you think?  How many are good boundaries?!  I hope that your answer is that NONE of them are boundaries.  You can tell, because they are all meant to control another person.  Below I will reframe these same things to be clear, healthy boundaries.

“If my husband looks at porn, then I will tell him he can not sleep in bed with me.”

“If my friends call me after 11pm, I will not answer my phone.  I have my phone set to silent at 11pm.”

“If my ex-boyfriend texts me, I will block his number.”

“If a married man flirts with me, I will tell him to leave me alone.  Depending on how serious it is, if I know his wife, I may tell her what happened.”

“If my spouse is late coming home from work, and doesn’t text me to let me know ahead of time, I will distance myself emotionally until I feel safe again.”

Notice how this second set of statements are all about YOU, and not controlling the other person?!  It takes into account that other adult humans can do whatever they want.  An ex-boyfriend COULD text you.  But you have already decided what YOU will do IF that happens.

I know how tempting it can be to wish that we could control others.  Except that it would mean that then other people would be able to control us.  I personally love my freedom.  As I have learned to take full responsibility for myself, my actions, my own feelings, and the results I get in my life, it has been easier to take ZERO responsibility for what other adult humans do.

For me, I can often tell if people are struggling with having NO Boundaries in their lives because they often present feeling a lot of resentment and anger, see themselves as a victim, and complain about what others are doing.  There are also others who are trying to set boundaries, and often end up just isolating themselves from a place of fear, or trying to control things that are out of their control.  

The most successful and healthiest boundaries come from a person who understands that the boundary is for them, and not against another person.  If you have relationships in your life that need healthy boundaries put in place, I would love to help you.  I found true freedom, and so much happiness when I finally set very clear boundaries FOR MYSELF!  I have lots of boundaries for myself, and I have never felt more free.  I don’t worry (as much, I mean I’m still human) about what other people are doing.  I give them freedom to do what they choose to do, and afford myself the same freedom.  

I don’t worry about what other people think about me and what I’m doing because I understand that thoughts are optional, and I have no power over others’ thoughts.  To me this is what true freedom feels like and it FEELS GREAT!  I would love to help you find this kind of freedom too.

If any of this has piqued your curiosity and you are curious if what I’m talking about really works, I’d love to show you how.  In a FREE introductory 60 minute call I will walk you through this formula to learn how to set clear, firm boundaries in your life. (Spoiler alert:  It works!!.  But I know you’ll want to experience this and see it for yourself.)  I believe in YOU and I’m excited to share these tools with you during this call.  Sign up for your free session HERE.

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Kendra Last Avatar

My name is Kendra Last

I’m a life coach and author of the book Journaling to Recovery: A Reference Guide to Healing from Betrayal Trauma. I have been working in the betrayal recovery world for almost a decade. I’ve been there, and I will help you let go of the pain of the past, help you recognize your own inner beauty and strength, and help you learn to celebrate yourself again.

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