July 3, 2011 by Cathy Vartuli

He Won’t Listen To My Boundaries

Fighting AgainI’ve been trying to set boundaries with my spouse, but he just ignores them, no matter what I say. It’s really frustrating! I’m trying to learn to stand up for myself, but this is hard! My heart is hurting. –Lorie

We’re sorry you’re hurting. You are trying to set boundaries with someone when he seems to have a lot invested in the status quo.That’s never easy.

Can you at least appreciate yourself for your effort? We do! Healthy boundaries enhance the lives of all of us.

Of course, when someone won’t honor our boundaries, we don’t feel safe or respected. We won’t feel good around that person until the situation is corrected — it’s guidance! But we can accept ourselves anyway.

Using Energy Tapping (EFT) we can also regain our clarity. Tapping starts with an honest statement about how we feel. Go someplace safe and say aloud how you feel… tapping while you do.

How about something like (change the words as fits your feelings):

Karate Chop: Even though he is an ass, and just ignores my needs and safety, I choose to respect myself anyway.

Even though he doesn’t treat me with respect, and just ignores my boundaries, I am learning to love and accept myself anyway.

Even though his defense mechanism is to shut down, and that leaves me feeling disempowered and hopeless, I choose to notice the power I do have, including tapping on these feelings right now.

Top of the Head: This feels crappy.
Eyebrow: He isn’t treating me with safety or respect.
Side of the Eye: I’m hurting and feeling discouraged.
Under the Eye: I hate being ignored.
Under the Nose: He doesn’t have any room for me.
Chin: How can we have a relationship without an interaction?
Collarbone: I feel unseen and unheard.
Under the Arm: I’m not sure what to do.

Top of the Head: I am tapping.
Eyebrow: At least I have that power.
Side of the Eye: He seems to want all the power in the relationship.
Under the Eye: That isn’t a yes for me.
Under the Nose: I choose to reclaim my power.
Chin: I’m not sure how yet…
Collarbone: But I’m open to guidance and clarity.
Under the Arm: I ask the Universe to help.

Top of the Head: This is really hard for me.
Eyebrow: I honor my courage and my strength.
Side of the Eye: He doesn’t have room for me.
Under the Eye: But I’m creating a new relationship with myself.
Under the Nose: One with lots of room for my needs and wants, too.
Chin: I like that I can learn to respect myself.
Collarbone: I like that I’m learning what my needs are.
Under the Arm: Maybe he can’t hear me.
Top of the Head: But I’m hearing me just fine.

Take a deep breath.

Happy CoupleHow does that feel? Does it feel safe to honor yourself? To know what you want?

One step in boundaries is knowing what is acceptable to you and what isn’t. That is, of course, confusing for people who were not raised in a home with healthy boundaries for the adults AND the children. If that’s the case for you, learn more about boundaries. Exploring ways to communicate what is necessary for you to feel safe and respected. Know that is it okay to have a plan for what to do if the boundary isn’t honored, too.

We help people with issues like this all the time in our Group Coaching Program. If you’re ready to have better boundaries and to speak up for what you want, join us today!

  • When someone won’t honor our boundaries, we don’t feel safe or
    respected. We won’t feel good around that person until the situation is
    corrected — it’s guidance! But we can accept ourselves anyway.


  • thinking lots about this issue at the moment — thanks for the tapping script –MUCH appreciated.  Carol

  • peacemaker says:

    I too have an issue with boundaries and my now adult child. I have always tried to teach and model respect. I have made a point not to go through his personal stuff and to give him space and boundaries himself but, somehow, I have taught him that my boundaries don’t matter. It is very disheartening. I suspect it is actually more about his issues around control than it is about anything else as he has developed a tendency to try and be the dominant force in any situation. I know this is not healthy but I accept that it is for him to realise this and that there is nothing I can do to make him change. More recently I have been learning that anger is not always a bad thing – it can be a motivator for change and, if handled well, can actually be used to define new boundaries. I guess the difference between having this situation with one’s own child rather than a spouse or partner is that it is a much easier proposition to walk away from an unhealthy love relationship than it is to walk away from a parent child relationship. I know in my case that my love for my son is unconditional so I would never walk away but I have had to call the police once when his anger got really out of hand as I didn’t want to let it go so far that he would truly regret it. I would love some work that explores how to look after ourselves yet still maintain a loving relationship with our children even when they are struggling with lack of self worth and self control.

  • Testosterone is a powerful energy that “unbalanced” will seek alpha domination of everything in its domain. Healthy boundaries says things like, “Love you forever, son, but in the absence of safety and respect you cannot stay in my nest.” That sends a very different signal that I believe helps balance a man’s energy. Sometimes we do have to speak to the primitive brain in a language it understands and let it know its limits. And at the same time, we can beat the drum of appreciation for his fine qualities, too. The two are not incompatible.

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