This is one of my favorite myths because I hear it so often, both from others and from the voice inside my head. Setting boundaries will cause others to hurt me. (Cloud and Townsend, pg 111). As humans, we live much of our lives in fear of being hurt relationally. We fear the opinions and gossip of others, we crave approval, we feel powerless in our relationships. So the idea of blatantly saying “no” to anyone fills us with fear.
And not without good reason. There are people who will not accept your boundaries. They will try to hurt you when you set limits on their behavior. Cloud and Townsend point out that setting boundaries serves as a “litmus test for the quality of our relationships.” (pg 112). This is why we need to start setting boundaries at home and in our inner circle, with our closest friends. If we can successfully set boundaries with those who love us, we will build up our strength for setting boundaries with those who are neutral or even dislike us.
Have you ever been injured by setting a boundary?