Updated: Nov 15
We, particularly woman and all of those of us who have identities that are either othered or who hold less societal power, are taught that when someone is mistreating us, that it is our fault, because of our boundaries. And while that conversation certainly has a place in relational dynamics, I’d like to offer women, minorities, neurodivergent, and queer folks something else,
If someone is mistreating you, that someone needs to be looked at first.
Not your boundaries.
Once we establish that there is something very wrong with that someone taking advantage of you, your kindness, your position, your open heart etc., then we can look at the places where we need to strengthen our boundaries.
So, to do this we need to orient first towards:
how we are feeling,
what's happening in our nervous systems,
how dysregulated we've become,
in response to that someone’s behavior. In other words, the impact on us.
Not to question how appropriate it is that we are upset, but to become aware of the what is happening to us.
The thing we might question, is why might someone act in a way that is so activating and unsettling? Before we point the finger our own way, we need to look at the source of the conflict.
From there, we might not even have to ever look at our own boundaries.