Someone is shouting and you’d like to be spoken to differently. Or, someone is hurling accusations your way, and you prefer she ask you about you instead of tell you about you.
Many who are new to boundary-setting have difficulty doing so because of a deeply rooted belief that setting a boundary is confrontational or aggressive, selfish or uncooperative. Unfortunately, because of these hidden beliefs (coupled with fear of their own anger spilling out) my clients have histories of remaining quiet, in harmful situations too long.
Overcome this hurdle by realizing that in setting boundaries you are not so much setting boundaries with people, as you are setting boundaries with their pain.
Look closely. Take a minute to wonder about them. What are they so upset or worried about? If you weren’t taking it all so personally, what would you see in them? You will find that the person has been occurring to you as a hostile perpetrator, but most accurately, they are stressed or scared. Pain is driving their behavior, their intensity, their word choice or tone of voice. This new awareness creates a freedom, a sense of healthy permission to set a boundary, while keeping an open heart.
Set boundaries with pain and fear, not with people, and enjoy your new ability to care for yourself without the crutch of growing angry or bitter.