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Boundaries 101: How To Tell Someone They Hurt You

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Emotional conversationYou may not realize it, but in every waking moment, you’re sending signals to people about how they can treat you. The people closest to you can easily tell if you’re in a good or bad mood, if you’re happy or sad, and if it’s a good idea to just stay out of your way for now.

It’s important to really think about how you teach people to treat you, particularly if you’re being hurt by their words. If someone treats you poorly and you just let it go, you’ve taught them that it’s okay to treat you this way. But make no mistake: it is okay to feel hurt and it is okay to let people know they hurt you.

At Stenzel Clinical, we’ve seen what happens when pain is bottled up. Here’s how you can tell people about what they’ve done without escalating the conflict.

Use “I” statements, not “you” statements.

An example of a bad “you” statement: “You never include me. I want to be included.” An example of a good “I” statement: “I feel hurt when you don’t include me. I’d love to be included.”

Can you feel the difference? When you give a “you” statement, you might as well be wearing boxing gloves, because it is ON. But when you give an “I” statement, people naturally see your side. Practice “I” statements on your own and work to replace “you” statements completely.

People worth having in your life will listen to your “I” statements.

Sometimes it may take you standing up for yourself for someone to change how they interact with you. How long you have known the person will determine how much they have to unlearn their hurtful behavior.

People don’t change right away. We are all creatures of habit, and changing behavior takes time. Be patient, remind them how you should be treated and eventually the pattern will change.

Don’t assume people know they’re hurting you.

Many times, a person is completely unaware their actions or words are causing pain until you tell them. None of us enjoy conflict and it’s natural to try to let things go. But once you let them know, you’ll find that the brief moment of discomfort is so much better than continued long-term pain.

Ask yourself, “What if I hurt this person?”

Would you want them to let you know? Absolutely you would! In fact, you’d probably be angry that they kept it from you.

Always remember, “No” is a healthy word.

There are times you simply have to say no. If you don’t like something, if it makes you uncomfortable, or if it hurts you, there’s no reason you should have to consistently deal with it.

If there’s a way we can help you on your path to healing, we are here to walk with you. Talk to us any time.