How many times have you been upset with someone and intended to tell him or her about it, only to have your resolve weaken once you were face-to-face?

Then, instead of maintaining your power, you allowed the other person to dominate the situation. You got caught up in his or her energy and ignored your own intention, allowing your boundaries to collapse.

We teach people how to treat us. If someone disrespects you and you allow it to happen without saying anything, you’ve just taught him or her that it is acceptable behavior and that he or she can continue to behave that way. That person will indeed continue to do so until he or she loses respect for you and leaves. If you overreact and tell that person off, you’ve taught him or her that you’re not in control of your power.

If that person likes drama, he or she will continue to disrespect you, hoping to engage you in future scenes, thus creating a dysfunctional relationship. If someone is healthy, he or she will see your outburst as a huge red flag. He or she will lose interest and move on. However, if you calmly express what was not okay with you and request how you’d like to be treated in the future, you’ll command respect. If you don’t get respect, then you should lose interest and walk away.

Having healthy boundaries means knowing your inner feelings, wants, needs, and limits, as well as fulfilling and enforcing them without hurting others. That means finding your true self and protecting it, no matter what, without needing anyone else’s approval. Enforcing healthy boundaries means not letting anyone else change what you know is right for you.

Donna Barnes

Donna is a life and relationship coach certified by New York University, and Founder of Donna Barnes Dating. She is the relationship expert for Good Morning America and Nightline, and author of Giving Up Junk-Food Relationships: Recipes for Healthy Choices.

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