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B Side, Lifestyle

Addressing Conflicts and Broken Boundaries

You are not defined by that person’s mistakes and slights against you. The moment you feel deserving of better, go for it.

  • Chiamaka Ejindu
  • 31st January 2023

Growing up a people pleaser meant being completely unprepared for a world of volatile interpersonal relationships and people waiting to prey on my innocence. A lot of times, my body would be sending signals that it was uncomfortable but I would ignore it and push it away to keep the peace. I had picked this up as a coping mechanism from an abusive childhood and chaotic upbringing, the art of sinking into yourself and pretending everything is okay to make everyone around you feel good. Needless to say, these behaviors cost me several years behind in interpersonal relationships. I grew up feeling wiser than my age, because I was exposed to so many things beyond my peers. I was exposed to adult emotions as early as the age of five. However, simply being exposed to emotions does not make you equipped to deal with them. Constant, intentional boundary-building does.


Working on your own self is frankly one of the hardest things a person can do. In the long run, it is rewarding in many ways but, putting in the work means that one must be prepared to lose friends, family and even lovers. A person will recognize later that so many people may have been attached to them simply because they had a lack of boundaries, a lack of esteem, which made it easy for others to be manipulative towards them. Often, I find myself reflecting on the people who were around me just because I made them feel good about themselves, or just because hurting me was fun. Yes, as hard as it may be to internalize, so many people choose to hurt others simply because it feels good and comes easy to them.


Addressing Conflict and Broken Boundaries


People who are kind-hearted and tender must often protect themselves from these kinds of people, since they do not bode well for our mental health. Unfortunately, a condition of growing up with no boundaries means that you tend to second guess yourself a whole lot too. You may feel a lack of confidence in your decision making and trusting your own gut breeds a lot of anxiety.  For me, one hurdle that was really difficult for me to cross was knowing which actions other people took against me were worth addressing versus what constituted a direct attempt at crossing or breaking one of my boundaries. I found that the first way to know when a person has mistakenly slighted you is their reaction after you express discomfort to them about the situation. So many will attempt to shout you down or gaslight you into believing that what you have experienced is untrue or isn’t how you have described it. However, a person who is willing to listen intently and make changes has demonstrated a desire to maintain a relationship with you.


It is important to know that simply because a person is frequently, sincerely apologetic does not mean they should automatically gain the same access to you after conflict. Patterns occur for a reason and someone who finds themselves crossing your boundaries very often may be struggling with an understanding of interpersonal relationships work. This is not your job to fix, at least in most cases. Growing up in an abusive home, it is very common to assume that savior role. You may want to protect people from themselves and even desire to hurt yourself while shielding another. This role is harmful and toxic because very often, people will not do the same for you. You will find yourself in non-reciprocal connections because people will view you as someone with no needs and therefore consistently show up empty handed.


If a person constantly crosses your set boundaries, it’s better to stay away from such a person and ensure that they do not have access to you like they once did. It’s much easier said than done, I know, especially when it’s a romantic relationship. But, ultimately, it’s what will keep your sanity intact. Lastly, be committed to loving and prioritizing yourself above all. This is perhaps the best way to even decipher between conflict solving and when to boot a person completely away from your life. It is important to remember that people will only hurt you for as long as you let them. This is not to victim blame, but to encourage tender-hearted people to take control of their lives. You are not defined by that person’s mistakes and slights against you. The moment you feel deserving of better, go for it.

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