Setting Boundaries and Saying “No”

Learning to set boundaries to protect yourself and saying “no” is a very important life skill. Some people have miserable lives because they don’t set the appropriate boundaries and let other people control and manipulate them. I am re-reading one of the best books on this subject – “Boundaries” – by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. The following excerpts are some great advice when dealing with angry people who like to control other people with their anger.

Excerpts from “Boundaries” p.241-242:
“The first thing you need to learn is that the person who is angry at you for setting boundaries is the person with the problem. If you do not realize this, you may think you have a problem.” (p.241)

“Second, you must view anger realistically. Anger is only a feeling inside the other person. It cannot jump across the room and hurt you. It cannot “get inside” you unless you allow it. Staying separate from another’s anger is vitally important. Let the anger be in the other person.” (p.242)

“Third, do not let anger be a cue for you to do something. People without boundaries respond automatically to the anger of others. They rescue, seek approval, or get angry themselves. There is great power in inactivity. Do not let an out-of-control person be the cue for you to change your course. Just allow him to be angry and decide for yourself what you need to do.” (p.242)

“Fourth, make sure you have your support system in place. If you are going to set some limits with the person who has control it with anger, talk to the people in your support system first and make a plan.” (p.242)

“Fifth, do not allow the angry person to get you angry. Keep loving status while ‘speaking the truth in love.’ ” (p.242)

“Sixth, be prepared to use physical distance and other limits that enforce consequences. One woman’s life was changed when she realized that she could say, ‘I will not allow myself to be yelled at. I will go into the other room until you decide you can talk about this without attacking me. When you can do that, I will talk to you.’ ” (p.242)

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