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4 Examples of Boundary Violations

In this article we’re going to talk about some examples of boundary violations and how to deal with people who cross your boundaries.

Boundaries are key to building healthy relationships.

Yet, many struggle to set or enforce them — and this is true especially for people pleasers.

There are also some people who struggle to recognize, accept and respect others’ boundaries.

These are all symptoms of poor boundaries.

Some examples of healthy boundaries are:

  • Let someone know you don’t like a certain behavior;
  • Telling someone you can’t do them a favor;
  • Refusing to take responsibility for something you didn’t do.

Examples of Boundary Violations

What follows instead, are some examples of someone not respecting your boundaries.

1. Someone knowing you don’t like something, and doing it anyway

Imagine you live in a shared apartment and both you and your roommate work from home.

Obviously, you need a quiet environment to focus and to do your job. Anyone with enough common sense would understand and respect that.

However, your roommate listens to music or watches tv all day long. You can’t find peace.

You tell your noisy friend you need some silence from 9 am to 5 pm so you can work and focus. However, he doesn’t seem to care and keeps doing as he pleases.

He could use headphones, so everyone would be happy, but he doesn’t.

See, when you communicate your needs to someone, or you tell them you don’t like a certain behavior and they refuse to respect that, it’s a clear example of someone crossing your boundaries.

2. Someone making you feel bad for saying “no”

Saying no can be difficult.

As Jamie Cannon MS, LPC mentions, “Whether it’s accidental or purposeful, all individuals will at some point in their lives encounter challenges with upholding their own boundaries.”

Many people are afraid of hurting the person they’re saying no to, or pushing them away. They’re afraid they won’t be liked anymore.

The thing is, if you make your decisions out of the fear someone may distance themselves from you, you’re going to live your entire life pleasing others and prioritizing their needs over yours.

You need to accept that risk will always be there, every time you set a boundary or enforce it.

Saying no sometimes means taking care of yourself being aware of the fact you may disappoint someone for doing that.

Some people will try to make you feel bad or guilty for setting a boundary. And that’s actually not respecting your boundaries, so you don’t want to surround yourself with those people anyway.

The way someone responds to your boundaries says a lot about them, not you. Remember that.

Recommended read: 9 Signs of a Toxic Relationship

3. Someone not respecting your time

As James C. Strickland, PhD explains, time boundaries are violated when someone demands too much of your time.

Or when someone expects you to make more time for them knowing you already have other commitments.

Imagine you have to meet a friend to lend them your car as they need it for the weekend.

You told them you only have twenty minutes to see them and give them the car because you have an important appointment with the doctor afterwards.

You arrive on time. However, they don’t. They leave you waiting for twenty minutes, then send you a message and tell you they are on their way.

They keep you waiting for other ten minutes. You call them to know where they are and they say there was an issue with the metro so they had to take the bus, but they’re getting there.

The problem is it’s not the first time it happens. They are always late.

And you had already made it clear with them that you don’t like to wait for more than fifteen or twenty minutes — because consistently making someone wait for more than that is a lack of respect.

When you make them notice their lack of respect, they tell you to calm down, then they accuse you of being impatient and unable to do them a favor.

This is a clear example of someone expecting you to sacrifice whatever you have to do and your time for them.

And it’s also an example of someone who is not able to apologize and take responsibility for their own mistakes.

4. Someone not respecting your privacy

Let’s get back to the loud roommate example.

Imagine you have a job interview (from home) from 4 pm to 5 pm, and you tell your roommate — so that they can give you some privacy.

During the videocall they enter your room without knocking on the door and they start looking for something in one of the drawers.

Then, they sit on the sofa and start listening to your job interview.

They don’t appear on camera, but they’re clearly not respecting your privacy.

It’s a bit extreme as an example, I know, but it’s effective to explain this type of boundary violation — and believe me, there are people who behave like this.

Recommended read: 9 Relationship Red Flags You Should Never Ignore

How to Deal With Someone Who Repeatedly Crosses Your Boundaries

You can’t force people to respect your boundaries, unfortunately.

You can assertively communicate what you can tolerate and what you can’t.

Or you can let someone know what you like and what you don’t.

However, from that moment on, it’s up to them.

What you can do if you realize someone is not able to respect your boundaries is to distance yourself from them, as much as you can, and only surround yourself with emotionally mature people — since these are the people who usually accept and respect other people’s limits.

Examples of Boundary Violations: Quick summary

Here’s a quick summary of the examples of boundary crossing we have discussed in this article:

  • Someone knowing you don’t like something, and doing it anyway;
  • Someone making you feel bad for saying no;
  • Someone not respecting your time;
  • Someone not respecting your privacy.

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Photo by Italo Melo — Pexels

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