I love talking about boundaries, and in today’s episode I’m going to give you some really helpful tactics for handling conversations with boundary-pushers. This episode is pretty practical and specific, so gear up and let’s jump in!
In This Episode Allie Discusses:
Action steps to assert boundaries in conversations
Mentioned in this Episode:
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Mom life. We’re surrounded by the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. We’re supposed to get through it. Survive. Cling on by the last little thread. And at the same time, Carpe Diem—enjoy every moment because it’s going to go by so fast. The typical mom culture that sends us all kinds of mixed, typically negative messages. We shouldn’t take care of ourselves; it’s selfish. The more ragged you run yourself, the bigger your badge of honor. But also, ditch your mom bod and work out. Don’t yell. Make more money. Show up. Be better, but not at the expense of time with your kids. I am putting a hard stop to all of this. While being a mom, running a business, and whatever else you might have going on is hard, it is a lot and there’s lots of giving of yourself, the idea that motherhood means living a joyless, nonstop-hustle-with-zero-balance kind of life, where you give and give and give and never take, needs to stop.
I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime (at least most days). Stop the mom guilt and shame game. Stop cleaning up after your kids’ childhood and start being present for it. I want to help you thrive in work, home and life. I believe in John 10:10 that we are called to living an abundant life and I know moms are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, some business and life hacks, spirituality and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
Hello, beautiful babes! Let’s dive in because today’s episode is about boundaries. I love talking about boundaries. We’re getting pretty practical—a more specific, niche, dive into boundaries.
We’re going to be talking about having conversations with boundary pushers. So gear up, get ready, turn the volume up, get the headphones on, get the kids busy, head out for a walk, and let me guide you through what I think are some really helpful tactics for handling boundary pushers in a conversation.
Conversations with a boundary pusher can be awkward, stressful, and difficult. The worst part is people who push boundaries knowingly. Unfortunately, I think they like that. They want to make you feel awkward. They want to cause stress.
They know they’re difficult and they don’t care. They’re in their own world. They can sense your boundaries if you’ve put them there.
And when they push them, you’ve got a choice to make. You can be that pushover. You can let them push you. Or you can decide to assert yourself further, leave the conversation, and end it.
Fill in this example so you know what I’m saying. Let’s pretend that you are in a conversation, something has been said and you assert your boundary. Basically, you dismiss it saying, “I’m not available to talk about that.”
And the person pushes your boundary. You’re at that fork in the road now. On the one side, you can go the pushover way and you can allow that person to push your boundary fence down and walk right over it into your turf. That’s going to fill you with regret later because you’re going to be so mad that you didn’t assert yourself better. You’re going to feel really yucky and weird.
There’s a buzzing anxiety in my gut when I’ve done that. I feel like I can’t shake it the rest of the day. Sometimes it bothers me for days after because I let the social awkwardness win instead of asserting myself. I’m going to tell you what to do about this in a minute.
On the other side of the fork in the road, you can walk right up to that boundary fence, hold onto it, look at them trying to push it down and think, “No, you don’t push my boundary fence down. I put it here and this is where it is. We’re done here.”
Obviously you don’t need to say it like that, but that option feels really socially awkward. It is socially awkward to do that. It can feel terrifying.
You’ve got these gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking butterflies in your stomach because you’re setting the boundary. You’re pointing to it. You’re drawing that line in the sand and saying, “No, this is where the line is. No! I said no!”
It is awkward. But here’s the thing—You want to put the awkwardness where it belongs. You don’t have to carry that because you’re not the one who’s being disrespectful. You don’t want to go another step further and be disrespectful to yourself just like this person is disrespecting you.
Let’s get into an example. I had a recent conversation with someone who tends to put other women down. Let me explain something here.
I grew up going to a private school that was very religious and I was taught things about women that are repulsive and demeaning. Because of my past, and because of who I am and what I do, my entire business is built on women supporting women.
And if I ever make a mistake and say something or do something that doesn’t support other women in a respectful way, then I apologize and correct myself. Always. Obviously if someone is terrible I’m not just like, “Oh, she’s a girl so I’m on her side.” But I’m really looking to lift other women up. Looking to lift up and support my fellow womankind.
Because of my past, because of what I do, because of my business supporting women and the money that we make in the business going back to supporting women and supporting organizations that are doing amazing things to support women who have experienced sex trafficking and things like that, because that’s a big thing for me it’s a boundary that I uphold. It’s a standard I hold myself to that I do not speak in a way that puts my fellow women down.
This is actually an example. I’m telling a story about what happened with another woman, but I’m not giving you any details about her or saying her name. I’m using the story as an example to spread more light for other women and to help you have better, healthier boundaries.
Therefore, gossip—the lowest form of human communication, such a low vibe—is not acceptable. I have this boundary for myself that I do not partake in these things. But it seems to me that this particular person wants to put other women down to make herself feel better.
In this conversation I kept trying to bring the conversation back to other things and she kept trying to bring the conversation back to other women and their perceived shortcomings. She was very, very hell bent on talking negatively about other women that we both know and letting me know all these things that they had done. There was so much negativity in the conversation.
This can happen with anything. It can happen with politics with your family members and discussions about that that you’re not available to have. Or parenting conversations, belief conversations, or lifestyle differences.
“This is how I live. This is what I believe. And I’m not available to receive your feedback on that, argue with you about this, or defend myself over it.”
When you assert one of those boundary lines in a conversation and someone lacks their own boundaries and is forcing their opinion or idea on you and feeling entitled to knock over your boundary fence, these are some things that I do.
I want to give you what I did in that specific conversation, some things that I have practiced that are so awkward, but so worth it.
Number one action step: You can simply say, “I really don’t feel like talking about this.” That’s what I did in the conversation in the above example with the woman putting down other women.
I tried so many times to steer it back and it wasn’t going that way, so I finally closed my eyes, made an awkward squishy face and said, “Oh, I really don’t feel like talking about this.” It was so awkward. But I don’t need to carry the awkwardness.
And that’s my next point—Put the awkwardness where it belongs – on them.
There is no reason for me to carry the awkwardness when I’m not the one who caused it. I’m not one who’s pushing boundaries. I have a boundary right here. I have shown you where it is several times and tried to revert us away from this fence and go in a healthier direction and you refused. So now, I’ve got to make things awkward and I’m going to put that awkwardness right on you.
It’s a choice. The way that you don’t carry the awkwardness is to make a choice not to. It’s as simple as that.
The third and final suggestion is to be quiet. Stop responding.
I will often allow distractions to come into the conversation. I gladly let my kids interrupt and throw manners out the window and start talking to them instead. Pull my phone out. Change the subject.
I’m now disengaging because you are not engaging in a conversation that is healthy emotionally and mentally for me, so you don’t get to have a conversation with me anymore. I have drawn the line in the sand. I’ve shown you where it is multiple times and you continue to try to walk over it.
I’m not going to allow that to happen, so I’m just going to go and see if my kids need a snack. I’m going to answer this phone call that’s coming in or pull my phone out needlessly and just start scrolling and walking away.
I’m going to just move on. I’m going to change the subject. I’m exiting this conversation because it’s my boundary.
I used to be so afraid of this. And now, I’m not. I am happy to say something, show with my body language and my facial expressions that I am over this conversation and I’m exiting. You no longer have my respect or attention because you don’t respect my boundaries.
It is unacceptable for me to be in a conversation with somebody who doesn’t respect my boundaries and continues to try to push them. It is unacceptable for me to just let that happen. I respect myself too much.
I’m showing my children what it looks like to have healthy boundaries. I’m living this out. I’m not going to go home with buzzing anxiety in my stomach, a headache, and snappiness at my family because in this conversation you walked over me and now I feel sick because I wasn’t true to myself. I’m not going to do that. You don’t get to have that power in my day.
So say, “I don’t feel like talking about this.” Stop responding. Allow distractions to come into the conversation. Just get away from it, and put in the awkwardness where it belongs—on the other person.
Decide not to carry it. You don’t need to feel bad for drawing that line and making the conversation a little bit awkward. Because you’re not actually the one who did; they are.
Basically, it comes down to doing the inner work before you go to that family function, before you get into the conversation and deciding that you are worthy of having a day that is good. You get to protect your energy and you protect your energy by asserting your boundaries and kindly reminding someone where it is a couple of times in a conversation (or even just once), and when they refuse to abide by that you can do one of these three things.
It’s not on you to carry the awkwardness. They need to learn. You teach people how to treat you. How are you going to be treated?
Boundaries can be tough, especially for the people pleasers out there. I totally get it. But let me help you make your life easier, brighter, and better.
Another person who doesn’t respect you enough to even listen to the boundaries you just asserted does not deserve to take up space in your head, your heart, and your day. You’ve got a family to raise. You’ve got a job to do. You’ve got a purpose to live out.
Your life is so important and so valuable. You should value yourself enough to put the awkwardness on the other person and remove yourself from a conversation that is anything but life-giving.
Thanks so much for hanging out with me! In case you didn’t know, there’s actually an exclusive community that’s been created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions around The Purpose Show episodes. It’s designed to get you to actually take action and make the positive changes that we talk about here. I want you to go and be a part of it. To do that, go to alliecasazza.com/facebookgroup.
Thank you so much for tuning in! If you’d like to learn more about me, how I can help you, how you can implement all these things and more into your life to make it simpler, better, and more abundant, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, online courses, programs, and other resources to help you create the life you really want.
I am always rooting for you, friend! See you next time! I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
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