Clearly Defining YOUR Limits (Boundaries)


Yesterday, we talked about a few areas where the children of narcissistic parent(s) boundaries are crossed and the long lasting effects it has on them as adults. While it is not easy to re-train ourselves to develop strong boundaries that will protect us from violators, it is NOT impossible.

Alot of members responded that they understand how a narcissistic parent crosses over your boundaries, but many asked how they could go about creating boundaries in the first place.

Let’s do this exercise together. Let’s write down as many limits, needs, values, bottom lines, and boundaries we can think of in each area that are unique to our own identities. Give yourself about a half an hour to an hour and ask yourself for you as a person, what TRULY matters and what boundaries do you have and need in life to keep you deeply peaceful and happy.


Consider several areas where boundaries apply:

Material boundaries (possessions)

Rules about people borrowing your stuff, using your things, and how they generally treat your property and belongings.

Examples of Clearly defined limits:

There’s a place for everything and everything in its place, I respect my belongings and expect others to show respect for them also. I do not want anyone yelling in my home. I expect people to clean up after themselves when they visit my home. I do not want you looking over my shoulder while I’m reading my email or texts.

Assertive Boundary Statement:  “If you’re going to borrow my car, I do not want you to smoke in it. If you smoke in it, I will not allow you to borrow my car again.” (consequences)

Physical boundaries (personal space, privacy, sexuality, and physical body)

Hugs and kisses, how far away you want to stand when talking to someone, how soon you’ll become physical and or sexual in a romantic relationship. All matters pertaining to how you like to or don’t like to be touched or be intimate physically or sexually.

Examples of Clearly defined limits

I do not kiss on the first date, I don’t have sex with someone until I am in a monogamous committed relationship with them,  I prefer someone to stand at least 18 inches away from me when we’re talking, I like hugs even from people I don’t know very well, I show alot of physical affection I prefer to be in a relationship with someone who has the same level of physical intimacy as I have.

Assertive Boundary Statement: “I like you. However, I’d like you to get to know me as a person. When you focus on only my appearance or the sexual aspects of me, I get the impression that’s all you want from me. I choose not to engage in that kind of discussion until we are dating.” 

Mental and behavioral boundaries (thoughts, values, opinions, and actions)

 Your opinions, your perspective, your thinking, your beliefs, your motives, your internal processes pertaining to thinking. 

Example of Clearly defined limits: I am responsible for choosing what my true motives are. No one outside myself can tell me what I’m thinking or what I’m “really” doing.

 Assertive Boundary Statement:
Narcissist: “You did that just to make me mad”.
Us:         Avoid reacting and calmly tell the person that “while you can see they are mad, there is no one is inside your head but yourself and you will not allow someone else to tell you what you are think.” 

Emotional boundaries (feelings, needs and wants)

How you feel, what you desire, how you define love, what you need to feel good, safe, happy, or content. 

Examples of Clearly defined limits
I am responsible for my feelings. Others are responsible for their feelings. I define love as ______ , I feel happy when _____, I am relaxed after I _______, I want _____ , I need _____, etc. What causes you to get upset? Angry? Frustrated?

 Assertive Boundary Statement:  “I feel hurt when you ignore me.”  “I feel frustrated when you cut me off and interrupt me.”

Spiritual boundaries (beliefs in and connection to a higher power)

Your beliefs about God, your higher power, what spirituality means to you. 

Examples of Clearly defined limits 

I attend Church every _____ , my faith is based on ______ , I am a Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Muslim, Jewish, etc., Worship is defined as ______, I will not tolerate ______ in others and will not tolerate them ______ to me as it pertains to my spiritual beliefs.

Assertive Boundary Statement:   “I would appreciate it greatly if you didn’t use God’s name in vain in my presence, I’m really sensitive to that.”

Knowing your limits also reminds you of your own identity. What you like and don’t like says alot about who you are. Once you can clearly define your limits, you’ll be more prepared to practice asserting your boundaries and become more in touch with your feelings.

Posted on October 19, 2015, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. After 1 1/2 years since being discarded from a ten year relationship by means of a text message, I have accidentally run across this disorder. For the first time, I feel that I may eventually see a light at the end of the tunnel. It is beyond my mind’s capacity to internalize that there can be such horrible, malicious, dangerous people in our world. I believe this is the worst type of injury, worse than physical abuse (I endured as a child), normal break-up, being chastised, physically wounded, etc. This abuse sneaks up on you. You don’t even know that it’s taking place until it’s too late. I would much rather be punched in the nose by someone who I can see is angry than be silently and invisibly led to the point close to death. I am happy to say that reading about Narcissism has answered all the questions I posed to myself during the ten year relationship i.e.”How can someone who tells me he loves me and that I am his soulmate knowingly hurt me like this”. I don’t have much else to say at this point because this is all so new to me but I am appalled at how many other people have walked in my shoes. May we all heal and be happy once again.


  2. I don’t even know how to begin yet I will.try I live in a small town in rural Wyoming our mental health resources are very limited for the past six years I’ve been stalked threatened emotionally mentally verbally abused by a very sick an I broke it off five months ago yet he turns up when I least expect it I can’t explain it but everytime I see him I experience panic attacks flashbacks etc….I’ve moved from my old place thought that would help it hasn’t I’ve sought out help but it is expensive and doesn’t address the issue of narssist abuse when I met him I had only been widowed for 4 months he knew how to prey he is a professional anyway any advice would be helpful I find myself isolating more and more a trip to the grocery store is an ordeal thanks for any advice

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was 50 years old,and still fighting for my rights to set boundries with “Mother”. the more I spoke up, the worse she got. I am No contact now.
    Still learning, and careful about new people – and my boundries.
    If they don’t like it they can “forget me.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was 50 years old,and still fighting for my rights to set boundries with “Mother”. the more I spoke up, the worse she got. I am No contact now.
    Still learning, and careful about new people – and my boundries.
    If they don’t like it they can “forget me.”


  5. Ps. I am also suffering abuse from a narcissist slandering behaviour by someone who has recently moved into my congregation she is the mother in law of the religious leader who sent me a text message shouting at me this is so utterly soul destroying.


  6. Hi I am very distraught after being treated disrespectfully treated by one of my religious leaders because I gave the phone number to the religious meeting place to my disabled daughter so that she could listen to the meetings on the phone I was shouted at via a text message and told not to do this again.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t live like this. All I can think about is auicide. I tried to explain to my narc parents what was wrong with me and they just say I was mentally ill and got angry. Probably because I was exposing them. This is hell. I hope I make it. This is my lifeline. It’s the only thing that’s made sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post..thank you.


  9. ANA, this is a helpful exercise.

    An insight I had while considering my setting boundaries is a balance of power and responsibility, and that seems dependent on context. If a person that I do not want to have affective physical contact with (kiss, hug) is not a person to whom I have any intimate relationship with, I can clearly exert my power of autonomy to say “no” either with words or distancing. However, if this involves a being to whom I have commitment for providing support, I have a responsibility for providing emotional support. There is great power in both providing and withdrawing support that affects others to whom we have a responsibility, and that power is not to be used flippantly or vindictively. My choice to withhold support in the moment is not always just “all about me.”

    Narcissists are noted for taking a terrible toll on their partners through controlling and debilitating them through extended emotional neglect. The narc feels no responsibility to provide that support and exploits the healthy human need for physical closeness by starving their victims of it. In fact, a narc may claim to be exercising their integrity by boundary setting in the process of starving their partner or a family member of affection and support. Such actions are no more a “setting of personal boundaries” than is tying a dog in the yard and starving it of affection. It seems important not to go delusional by confusing healthy exercise of autonomy with the exercising of pure evil.

    Again–context—if we are being emotionally or physically abused by a partner or close family member, that is not an appropriate context to expect us to respond with affection. I read site entries where there is constant confusion between enacting no contact, which is a final desperate and necessary survival tactic when a victim flees a narcissistic abuser for good and enacting the silent treatment, which is according to some sites, the favorite tactic of narcissistic abusers. It is easy for a narc to claim to be doing the former while actually enacting the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

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