Got Boundaries?

by Kerri Goodman

There are relationships where one person believes that they have earned the right to control someone else, and this really shows up when new, healthy boundaries are established.

The controller will become angry and try to manipulate the other person into thinking they are wrong, bad, or uncaring. They may punish with the silent treatment and act overly hurt. They will do whatever it takes to stop the other from growing healthily, establishing a line, and pulling out of their control.

This behavior happens on a spectrum, and sometimes it can be sorted out, if the controlling person is aware of their behavioral issues and working on change. But often this is not the case, and you will be pressed and pushed to drop your boundaries and go back to status quo.

If you can look ahead beforehand and prepare for what may happen when you enforce your boundaries, you can better plan your inner response to yourself. Then, you'll have the strength to keep firm and do what needs to happen next.
It's not easy, but on the other side of this difficulty is resilience and a stronger sense of self. Nobody has earned the right to control someone else and disrupt their decisions on what they will or will not allow in their life, whether it is your parent, your boss, your spiritual leader, significant other, or a life-long friend.

 Here are some ways you can prepare:

  • Remove the element of surprise.  Realistically consider what you know to be true about the person and situation. It can feel “not nice” to focus on the negative characteristics of another person, but it’s wise and right to do so. Based on this person’s past behaviors, how do you expect this person to respond to your boundaries? Try this yourself or with a trusted friend: play out the scenario of what you can reasonably expect this person to say and do. What else could this person say or do? Remind yourself that their response doesn’t validate or invalidate your boundaries, and you are not responsible for how they react.

  • Practice detachment.  If there is a likely chance that the person will not respect your boundaries, practice how to detach from other people’s choices. This could be picturing yourself with a large scissors and cutting the thread that is connecting you to the person. Another way is to practice phrases that you can use in the moment to create a line of separation from the other person. Phrases like, “You are entitled to that opinion”, “That’s something to consider”, “I accept your right to disagree”, or “That’s possible” keep you from absorbing their response.

It can feel intimidating to keep boundaries firm in the face of opposition, and it’s normal in the moment to wonder if you are being unreasonable. You always have the option in the future to adjust your boundaries if you find you want to, but it’s hard to build boundaries if you give in and back down in the heat of the confrontation. It’s always okay in any situation to walk away and seek God in prayer, receive wise counsel, and restore your sense of self in any relational situation.



About Kerri Goodman

I am a certified professional life coach and graduate from Christian Coach Institute. I am a wife and a mom to four adventurous kids of varying ages. Becoming a coach was a natural next step in the progression of my life experiences, education, and strengths. I love coaching.
However, my background includes many years of struggle with self-doubt.  This resulted in a performance-driven, people-pleasing life.  I had a strong desire to figure out life and do it well, but I felt like I was falling short.  My mindset, guilt-complex, and limiting beliefs were sabotaging my growth, draining my joy, and squashing my confidence. 

 I truly understand the importance of an accurate mindset which is where real change and growth begins.  As a coach, I understand the struggle of going it alone and why no one should! I'm ready to partner with you, if you are ready to go forward. I'll bring my intuitive listening, creativity, strategic thinking, and enthusiasm. I value honesty, kindness, excellence and FUN. These are all integral to my coaching style.  

Contact Kerri at

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