Category: Boundaries

A Sweet Empowerment Short: The Difference Between a Healthy Boundary and Retaliation

A Sweet Empowerment Short ~

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I was recently asked this question:

Where is the line between setting a boundary with someone who hurts you and retaliation against them for hurting you?

Ahh what a brilliant question! Oftentimes boundaries stem from something someone has repeatedly done that hurts or disrespects us thus kicking up some serious emotion. If we are still hot over what our person did, it may be difficult to distinguish between what is a healthy line and what is in fact retaliation.

The answer to this question is quite simple…

Check your motive.

The first step to setting and maintaining a healthy boundary is all about our energy and intention (motive).

A healthy boundary says: I love me and will set limits with you to protect my heart, soul and well-being or that of people in my charge.

Retaliation says: You hurt me and I’m going to hurt you back.

It’s important to remember anytime we set and maintain a healthy boundary, we are not only taking care of self we are equally serving the perpetrator as well.

One might wonder how that is so?

Many times our perps are not even aware of the pain they are inflicting, because they’ve never truly been held responsible for their behavior.

To explain further, many people will keep doing what they have always done because it has always worked to get what they want. They are unconscious to their behavior because no one has ever really bucked it hard enough.

This is why I love boundaries so much! They actually give our perp a chance to see themselves – sometimes for the very first time!

I’ve witnessed so much healing in my own life and of those around me by simply setting and maintaining loving boundaries. Frankly, it still fascinates the crap out of me.

Any boundary set with loving intentions will always make a positive difference in the long run. You may not be able to see it right away; however, I invite you trust the universe and let go of perceived outcomes.

Boundaries are tough stuff. I’ve had to set some hardcore lines with some perpetrators I love dearly. To this day in order to know my boundary is in alignment with a high energetic vibration, I always check my motive and intention first.

When I know for sure my intention is for healing, not for hurting, I feel more comfortable and confident to maintain my line.

Your thoughts?

~ Kristen

The Secret Key to Cultivating a Healthy Relationship

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I have found through coaching many couples that there is a hidden aspect to relationships that many people have no idea exists.

After the initial awe and lust phase of the relationship, many couples begin frequent fighting over what appears to be ridiculous and resolution seems ever elusive as a cycle begins to take form.

Love and attraction is still present in this phase, but if the secret key I’m about to reveal is not known or dealt with in a conscious and healthy way, the relationship will inevitably end or leave one or both partners unfulfilled and unhappy.

The secret key I am referring to is:

Recognizing and understanding your partner’s hidden pain.

I venture to say there is no one walking around on earth who has not been hurt in some way, shape or form. It’s inevitable and evident in everyone’s life.

However, a good majority of people feel they have overcome or healed their issues and continue on through life.

Little do they know their shadow (the unhealed aspects of their heart) continue to show up in ways that one might not connect back to their betrayals, losses and/or emotional or physical abuse.

At some point, the close proximity of a partner will trip an emotional trigger and cause us to act in ways that can damage the relationship. If our triggers are not recognized and we don’t seek to heal our underlying wounds, we end up in difficult, unruly and disconnected unions.

So how do we know when our partner has been triggered?

A great way to tell when our partner’s wound (or ours) has been triggered is they will either:

  • Strike out verbally or physically
  • Get silent and/or retreat
  • Withhold love
  • Cry
  • Or any other seemingly random display of emotion

I can always tell when one particular friend of mine gets triggered because her mood will change drastically on a dime. Her easy going, fun nature transforms in an instant to sarcastic and rude. A-ha! There’s that little bugger again.

So What Can You Do to Help?

  1. Share the pattern you are seeing – Let your partner know you notice an abrupt change in his/her mood and calmly ask them what your words or behavior touched in them.
  2. Give them a safe place to share – Judgment does not work here, friends. It may seem stupid or insignificant to you, but this is not about you. Your person has a past that hurt them. It’s their story and very real to them.
  3. Ask how you can help – At this point, your person may still be unconscious to why they are acting out or how you can help them. Encourage them to dig a little deeper into their heart and share with you. Tap into your own inner knowing and wisdom to help them recognize what’s happening.
  4. Talk about it often as needed – Relationships are designed to show us ourselves. And that stands for both parties involved. Wounds are not healed overnight. They need light to heal! Talking about it as often as needed brings light to the darkness.
  5. Take ego out of it – It can be difficult to be the recipient of your partner’s attack especially when it is unfounded or based on a wound being touched that has nothing to do with you. Our ego will always want to fight and defend. By removing your ego’s nudge to fight, you are clearing space for compassion.
  6. Encourage your person to seek professional help – You will not be able to “fix” your partner. Leave that to a professional. Your job is to hold sacred, loving space for them while they do the work to heal. Healing does not happen overnight, so your “work” as their partner will be an important piece to their healing.

Through all of this, it is vitally important to remember…

Love heals – ego wounds.

When we can clearly see what is going on behind the scenes of our partner’s psyche, we are better equipped to handle their trigger moments (love) and not take them personally (ego). Understanding brings healing. It may not happen immediately, but with love and patience nothing is insurmountable.

And lastly, if your partner is unwilling to work on his/her wounds and triggers and their behavior elicits a need for a firm boundary, be willing to set one. Healthy boundaries are rooted in love and what is rooted in love will serve the highest good for both parties involved always.

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Your thoughts?

Drainers – Are You Helping or Enabling?

For the kind hearted it’s quite natural to want to help those in need. In fact, more often than not, we will hand over great gobs of our time, money and emotional resources to help someone in need achieve success in whatever area they are struggling with. With that being said, there comes a time when we might feel that all our efforts are in vain. We may feel like no matter how much we show up for them, nothing is changing. Our person remains stuck.

I’ve run across these situations many times in my life and I can confidently say I stayed in them far longer than was healthy for my well-being. I would find myself performing all kinds of gymnastics for them and even pondering their issues throughout my day rather than my own! At the time I thought this was my duty as a good human being because after all, didn’t I need help too sometimes? Yes, for sure. However, there is a vast difference between someone seeking for change and someone choosing stagnation and victimhood.

The Difference Between Seekers and Drainers:

  1. The Seekers – People who seek for knowledge and wisdom in order to promote themselves out of suffering. They are willing to get uncomfortable while reconstructing a new method of operation. They are grateful for what they receive and neither party feels drained after their interactions. Additionally, both parties feel happy and fulfilled when the seeker begins to see the light and takes necessary steps towards positive forward movement.

 

  1. The Drainers – These are folks who exploit your time and attention and continue to stay right…where…they…are. Conversations with them are repeating and energy draining. They are comfortable in their story of woe and as long as we’re giving, they’ll keep taking! There is little to no change happening and oftentimes the helper may feel like they are wasting their time.

It’s important to realize (and take personal responsibility) that the drainer did not waste your time – you gave your time freely. To blame the Drainer for your contempt is misplaced. You accepted the role and chose to stay in it indefinitely.

I applaud anyone who helps another and I applaud those in life who want to see the good and redeeming qualities in everyone. Because truth be known, there IS good in everyone and we all need a little TLC and help from time to time. Drainers are not “bad” people, they are stuck. However, there comes a point when we have to realize what stuck really looks like and that no matter what we do or say, we cannot make change happen for them.

A person has to want change in order to create change for themselves.

Giving to others at the expense of our energy does not create enormous growth in our people. Actually, it often promotes enabling and where there is enabling going on, both parties will inevitably be sucked into the suffering. At some point, we must recognize we are being an enabler and stop doing it by putting loving, but firm boundaries into place. If you’re not sure if you are helping or enabling a loved one, consult the list below.

6 Steps to Recognize if You’re Enabling Someone

  1. You are frustrated and unhappy with your stuck person because their strife appears never ending.

 

  1. You are aware that your “help” is not helping at all. In fact, no one’s help is helping.

 

  1. You feel drained in their company and are tired of dealing with them.

 

  1. You’ve heard their victimhood repertoire so much you can repeat it verbatim.

 

  1. Your person attempts to guilt or manipulate you if you try to change your strategy when dealing with them.

 

  1. You start to feel contempt for the person rather than compassion.

As I state in my book From Doormat to Sweet Empowerment, boundaries are beneficial to both parties involved. When we begin to set and maintain healthy boundaries, our person is “forced” to figure things out on their own. They must approach life from their own spiritual center rather than relying on yours (which is only temporary anyway). They will have to learn to become resourceful in their own life and find their own answers – answers that they are comfortable with and are willing to put into action.

Being a massively soft-hearted person, I had to really give boundary setting some serious thought. I had to know for sure that it was indeed the right thing to do before I could do it. I did my research and learned all about boundaries: what they are, what they meant and how to implement them. I was convinced that setting loving boundaries was the best thing for me AND my drainer.

I understand that setting boundaries may feel like turning your back on your person. So, I ask you this:

What if you knew for sure that boundary setting was serving to both parties?

What if you knew for sure that you were only harming them (and yourself) more by staying in something where there is no healthy forward movement or emotional advancement?

Would you be more willing to set a boundary with them?

I remember the first time I set a really difficult boundary with a loved one. It was a drainer situation that I had stayed in for over a year. I stayed because I felt it was my duty. After a year of the same dialogue between the two of us with zero change, I pulled out. I set a clear boundary that I was no longer going to be available to discuss the same situations over and over again. I explained that I had given her all the knowledge and wisdom I had and it was time for her to stand by her own power. It was scary and she did not like it, but it felt really good!

Within 36 hours, she came back to me with a dialogue full of awareness! I was stunned! By taking myself out of the situation, she only had herself to rely on. She pondered all that we had talked about and she took it to her center. She processed what felt Right and True for her and she began to act from that place. I observed my beloved transforming right before my eyes! It was fascinating and humbling to watch.

My role had been to hold loving space for her AND to remove myself when it was time.

You are not bad or wrong for needing to back up or out of a situation where a person is choosing stagnation and draining all your precious energy. Give yourself grace for being there in the first place and for offering your heart and wisdom for their becoming.

We can only do so much for others before we start sacrificing our sacred selves. It’s important for us to know when it is time to step out with love and give ourselves permission to do so.

The rest is up to them.

The Point of Receiving

I’m sure you’ve all encountered a relationship situation where your person has finally owned up to his/her wrongs and apologized. It may even have been quite humble and very heart-centered; however, you simply were not at the point of receiving because the pain inflicted needed to run its course in order for you to be open to your person’s apology.

Just because someone finally sees his/her error, doesn’t always mean we have reached the point of returning to center. What mostly determines this is how often the offense has been committed and what came from the previous times. When we are repeatedly faced with the same disrespect or lack of compassion, care or respect, it can get more difficult to return to status quo because our limits are being reached and our patience is running out.

It’s important for both parties to know that sometimes the “offended” might need a minute. Not only is the “offender” learning in this situation, but the “offended” is learning too. Spiritual growth often takes processing time. All situations are designed for us to grow and learn from. What that looks like from person to person and situation to situation can vary greatly. Our job as an empowered (worthy) person is to take the time needed to feel our way through while staying connected to Source so we can come out of the situation better for having experienced it.

Relationships are so important and so incredibly relevant on our spiritual path of evolution. They are designed to show us ourselves. If we did not have them, we wouldn’t have the mirror so needed to reflect back our ways – good and not-so-good. How we handle and transcend what comes about is paramount to our personal growth, future empowerment and success of our relationships.

I’m not saying we have permission to hold grudges and stand in stubborn attitude.

I’m saying that giving yourself permission to return to center organically through process and connection is okay. This is about honoring your sacred self. If you are still hurting and can’t quite seem to meet your person at their apology (yet), you are only doing what is necessary to heal and return to the relationship whole. Returning as “half” isn’t going to cut it in the long-term. It would be like taking a short-cut that leads you in a circle.

With a deep understanding of this process by both parties, relationships can overcome some serious disconnection.

It’s all about respect and compassion for where your person is at.

I’m always so inspired and humbled when another accounts for his/her wrong doings. I see the Spirit in my beloved seeking higher, wanting more and desiring to overcome his/her fears and choosing differently next time. And even still sometimes it takes me a bit to process through my own emotions regarding the situation. The same goes when it’s the other way around. If I have offended and owned, I allow my person to return to his/her center on their own time as well. I do my best to give them the space and time needed to work through the emotion all the while trusting in the love between us.

Relationship offenses happen. They just happen. It does not mean our person is beyond redemption (nor are we), nor does it mean the world is going to end. It means we have come together in this relationship/situation as a means to evolve our sacred self to a higher level.

Standing in complete self-worth during these historic moments is a prime way to show our person that we love ourselves enough to not condone someone who does not honor us. When we are strong enough to say “enough”, we open the door for our beloveds to see their own darkness, their own fears and their own disconnection from Source as well.

A truly humble person standing in full responsibility understands this. He/she knows that trust was broken, pain was inflicted and time is needed. If your person attempts to manipulate or bully you into instant acceptance, there is most likely an alternate motive behind his/her apology. If this is true, it’s not your job to make him/her take ownership. It’s your job to stand in your self-worth and take care of you first no matter what. Your well-being is your responsibility and by making good choices rooted in your worth, most often your beloveds will see their error and make their amends.

Your thoughts?

Boundaries: What Are They And How Do I Set Them? Audio Interview With Kristen Brown

Boundaries are a topic near and dear to my heart both as a recovering doormat and an empowerment coach/mentor.  Boundaries are essentially where we find the courage to express to others what are limits are, what is not acceptable and how to treat us with honor and respect.

Boundaries are essential to healthy, reciprocal relationships as equally as they preserve and foster our self-worth.

What we don’t often know is, boundaries serve both parties involved.  Where we think we are “being mean”, we are actually leading another to his/her healing as well.

If you are having trouble understanding what your boundaries are, how to set them or how to maintain them, this audio is for you!

I would love to hear your thoughts and/or questions!

Much Love,

Kristen Brown