The challenges of setting boundaries after abusive relationships

The challenges of setting boundaries after abusive relationships

May 09, 2023

We hear a lot about boundaries and the necessity for them in our lives.  There is no denying that having healthy limits with yourself and others can be life-changing. It can go a long way to calling back your energy and peace from people, places and situations that are draining you.

What is not talked about, is how it feels to begin to set boundaries for someone who has experienced trauma from any kind of abuse in their past or present.


The challenges of setting boundaries after abusive relationships

Emotional and psychological abuse and coercive control from the perpetrator, conditions you to believe that having a need or want, or even a question to their need or want, will be punished.

It could be overt punishments like verbally abusive tirades, physical threats or violence. Or it could be more stealth/covert punishments such as guilting, shaming, stonewalling, withdrawing affection, connection or contribution.

For people who have had these experiences, starting to set boundaries can create a highly elevated sense of resistance and danger in their nervous system.

With more than 10,000 hours of client experience in all aspects of empowerment, trauma-informed abuse recovery and personal development - I have found we need to come to boundaries in a different way than the norm.


How to set boundaries after experiencing abuse

A way that includes nervous system regulation and safety, a deep connection to the little You that deserves to have their needs met and is protected by the wise adult You now is necessary when it comes to setting boundaries after you have experienced abuse. 

If you have set out to formulate or express boundaries with people or yourself, and found yourself in freeze/shut-down or all-out panic, only to abandon all attempts soon after… then my approach may be for you.

Even if you hadn’t or do not characterize your relationships or past experiences as abusive, because there was not outwardly recognized ‘violence’ (narcissistic, emotional abuse for example), but you have found yourself blocked repeatedly when boundaries need to be set - I will teach you some basic abuse dynamics and nervous system reasons why this could be the case.

There are different kinds of boundaries. There are also different stages to executing a boundary.

Such as : prepare the nervous system, get clarity on your needs and what it is costing you, formulate your limits, express the boundary and then (the hardest part) - HOLDING the boundary.


Learn more in my course Badass Boundaries! Now open for enrollment 🔥

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