Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Setting Boundaries for Neglectful Behaviors

Sometimes it is necessary to set boundaries for the things a person does NOT do. Boundaries aren't always just for people who do bad things to you, you may also need to set limits for the things that people do not do that they should be doing. Here are a few examples:
  • Silent treatment
  • Ignoring you
  • Withdrawing
  • Dismissing
  • Devaluing 
  • Discounting
  • Disconnection
  • Minimizing your issues/requests
  • Not being there for you in important times.
  • Not affirming you when you need and request it.
  • Not working out issues that are bothering you.
  • Not giving you credit where credit is due.
  • Failing to give direction when in a position to do so.
  • Withholding information.
  • Not taking your side repeatedly.
  • Not encouraging you in your passions.
  • Not trying to understand your point of view.
  • Not going out of their way to be there for you.
This is a different type of boundary. When someone is not doing the things you need them to do. When they're not returning the love and respect that you're giving them, but instead, allowing you to do all of the giving, and leaving big gaps in the relationship. You are being normal, naive, open and empathetic. They are taking what you're giving and running away with it, not returning in like kind.

Unfortunately, I have found that people who do these things above are toxic people who are envious, who wish to manipulate and control you. They could also be codependent people who are so wrapped up in their other codependent relationships, that your needs are unimportant to them.

The important thing to realize is that YOUR NEEDS MATTER.
  • You deserve to be responded to.
  • You deserve to be understood.
  • You deserve to be heard.
  • You deserve to be given credit.
  • You deserve to have a friend/family member on your side.
  • You deserve to have people who are there for you.
  • You deserve to have people who go out of their way for you.
You deserve to have your needs met by the people in your life with whom you are in relationship. There is nothing wrong with you for feeling hurt that a friend is never there for you when you need him or her. There is nothing wrong with you, but there is something unequal in the relationship--and it's up to you to set a boundary against it. You've got to set boundaries against people who are harming you by neglectful behaviors.

This could happen during the abuse cycle of sweet/mean or the devaluation discard phase of love bombing. No matter who it is, it is your responsibility to yourself to take care of YOU. 

These people only do things on their terms. They will only meet your needs on a very slim level, at their convenience--only if it involves meeting their needs as well. Anything that falls out of bounds of their ease in meeting your needs will have to be taken care of elsewhere, outside the relationship. Meanwhile, you're behaving normally, giving real empathy down the drain. Basically you're keeping the whole relationship alive.

Consider your current relationships. Are you feeling a weird gap in how your being attended to? Do you feel hurt by the disconnection? Are you frustrated when they don't call you for weeks, then pop up wanting to connect without addressing all that has gone on in your life? Are you going overboard keeping a relationship alive that has an essence of neglect?

This article could be an entire book! I have so much to say on the topic. The important thing is that you set boundaries. This can be difficult, because if you're used to be neglected, you may not even realize it is happening. You will have to get super-in-touch with your gut feelings, your intuition to even know there is an issue. Your feelings tell you when a boundary needs to be set.

A boundary can be speaking up for yourself. Saying, hey, I've noticed that you're not there for me when I need you. That's not working out for me. Can you try giving more to this relationship?

Or, I don't like it when you give me the silent treatment by not reaching out to me or returning my calls/texts. Please stop doing that because it makes me feel uncomfortable. I can't be around you if you're giving me the silent treatment.

The hard part is walking away from neglectful people. People who you thought loved you. When you set boundaries and walk away, you realize that the love was very one-sided. You were the one doing all the work, and settling for brokenness and disconnection and unfulfilled needs. That's when you discover that the neglectful person didn't really care enough about you to meet your needs... and that's when you have to ask yourself, have I really lost anything?

I think not. You gain self respect when you walk away from people who are unwilling to engage in an equal, respectful way towards you. Yes, it hurts to lose people in your life, but setting boundaries keeps you safe. It is beneficial and loving to yourself to stop giving, giving, giving and getting nothing (or crumbs) in return. You are a special being. You deserve equal treatment.

Use the energy that you used to use for feeling like a victim of this person's behaviors to empower yourself to find and open up to more reciprocal relationships. They are out there, you just have to stop putting up with neglect.

Much love. You can do it.

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