Table of Contents
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Understanding the How & Why of the No Contact Rule
What is the No Contact Rule?
When you put the No Contact Rule in place, it means you don’t reach out to your ex. Many other coaches tell you to stick to a hard, 30-day no contact time period, but we like to put a different spin on it. You’ll learn more about it as you proceed through the steps. When it’s time to break no contact, you’ll be the first to know!
There are, of course, exceptions to the No Contact Rule, which mainly apply to having children together, working together or sharing property. In those instances, you will keep your conversations strictly to that topic, not you or your relationship.
Otherwise, it’s time to stop reaching out because you’re too emotional and reactive right now to reach out to him in a productive way.
There are a few reasons for the no contact rule that we should cover quickly.
Why a No Contact Rule?
1. Neither of You Can Heal
If you keep him on your mind by having contact with him, neither of you has time to heal the wounds of the relationship. Right now, he has negative feelings about you and your relationship and you probably go between being angry, sad and desperate to have him back. He needs time to get over those negative feelings and start missing you again. You need time to become less emotional and begin to put things into perspective.
2. It Forces You to Deal With Where You Are
I know you want him back, but that’s not where your life is at the moment. Right now, you’re single and you have to acknowledge that. Even if temporarily, it’s time to embrace being single. You are broken up. There is no relationship. That’s the brutal truth of where you are right now. Even if you get back together later, it’s a new relationship, not a continuation of the old one.
3. It Puts an End to Co-Dependency
Co-dependent relationships will never withstand the test of time. In a relationship like this, your mood is determined by the mood of your partner. If he’s in a bad mood, so are you. If he’s happy, you’re happy.
You put all your time and energy into taking care of his needs and none into taking care of your own needs. Time apart will allow you to build your confidence, which ends the co-dependency cycle. Of course, if he was also dependent on you in the same ways, he will need to become a more confident man in order for a new relationship to work. Since you can’t control him, your focus on what you can do for yourself.
4. You Cut the Cord
He may still be reaching out to you to do things for him but that needs to end today. He needs to know that it’s time for him to stand on his own two feet. He needs to figure out on his own how to do his laundry or get someone to walk his dog. He broke up with you so it’s time for him to deal with the circumstances of his own life.
What he wants right now is to have you as his beck-and-call girl. He wants you on standby as a fallback plan but that’s not how this is going to play out for him this time. In his mind, you’re his backup. If his single life doesn’t work like he imagines it will, he will come running back to you and, in his vision of how this plays out, you’ll be waiting there with open arms, ready to welcome him back.
Except you won’t be, and this is a good thing. Trust me.
5. You End the Fantasy
In an effort to squash the pain of the breakup, your mind is mostly focused on creating a fantasy around what your life with your ex was like. There’s no mention of the bad times – just the good and continuing to reach out to him perpetuates that lie.
Instead, it’s time to stop focusing on him and start focusing on you. You deserve your attention for a while. It will help you get to a place where he will want to come back. You’ll see!
6. You Can Stop Beating Yourself Up
If you’re not reliving the fantasy, you’re probably blaming yourself for everything that went wrong. It’s time to stop taking all the blame upon yourself and that means no texting him to say how sorry you are. In Step Two, you’ll do an honest assessment of the relationship and then you can determine where you might need to change and what he was responsible for. It’s never just one person, regardless of what he’s told you so far.
7. Remind Him He’s Losing His “Stuff”
I know you don’t like to think of yourself as anyone’s stuff, and I get it, but please understand that men think of women as their stuff and they don’t like to lose their stuff. Even though he broke up with you, as you read above, he still considers you his. You’re his fallback plan – his option when this single thing doesn’t work out. He’ll soon realize that’s not true and it will be a real kick to the gut for him. That’s okay – he needs it.
How to Implement the No Contact Rule
Implementing the No Contact Rule sounds easy but it can be challenging at first, especially when you’re still working off the raw emotion of the breakup.
But, that’s when it’s also most important.
The best tool for you to use is very simple – distraction. Find a distraction – something to busy your mind.
Create a go-to for when you start thinking about him. Maybe it’ll be an adult coloring book or a home improvement project. Whatever you choose, have it at the ready!
What if He Contacts You?
He will most likely contact you at some point. Most men do, if for no other reason than they want to keep you as a fallback plan, just in case the wild single life he has envisioned doesn’t work out.
Here’s your strategy.
1. Wait a While to Reply
I know you probably always reply right away when he texts and you always pick up his calls, but those days are over.
When you don’t reply right away, it tells him you’re busy. It doesn’t say you aren’t interested. That isn’t how most men think. He doesn’t reply to you because he’s busy and that’s what he thinks is your excuse.
So you’re sending him a message that you’re busy right now and what does he think? What the heck is she doing that’s more interesting than talking to me?
Now, you’re getting somewhere!
2. Be Short And to The Point
He’s grown accustomed to your long texts, so you’re going to intrigue him with a short text that’s direct and to the point. Providing a quick response also sends a signal that you’re too busy to sit there and craft a book-length message to send him.
3. Make Him Believe You’re Happy (Even if You’re Not)
Even if you’re crying yourself to sleep every night, this isn’t what you want him to believe so that’s not the image you’ll be projecting.
Let him believe you’re happy. This tells him you aren’t about to turn into a clingy girlfriend or ex-girlfriend.
Instead, just send him a quick message, “Hey, Jess and I are out right now. Hope everything is good with you!!”
4. Be the One to End the Conversation
Give him the impression that you’re busy and have a lot going on. Try something like, “Hey, I need to go for now. I’m having drinks with the girls. Maybe we can talk later.”
5. Let Him Contact You Back
When you allow him to be the one to reach back out to you, it again sends that message that you’re not sitting home alone with a carton of Ben & Jerry’s and your Fire Stick remote.
This intrigues him and piques his interest. You’re already becoming mysterious and this is a good thing!
You’re starting to create a power shift from him to you. Good job!
6. If He Contacts You By Phone…
If he calls, be polite and allow him to lead the conversation. Make small talk and share some of the fun things you’ve been doing since he left.
Avoid topics like your relationship and getting back together. Let him lead the conversation and remain somewhat aloof.
Stay upbeat and cheerful and most importantly, be the one to end the call. Suggest a time for another call and end the call, “Gee Gregg, it’s been great talking to you but I really need to get going. Maybe we can talk again tomorrow.”
Your ultimate goal in this conversation is to leave him intrigued by you and to shift the power to you. You want him to choose you, and not the other way around. You will no longer be grateful to be chosen. Instead, you will be the one choosing and any guy who is chosen by you will know how lucky he is!
Emotional Mind vs. Rational Mind & Why It Matters
Within each of us are what we’ll call three minds. There is an emotional mind, a rational mind and a wise mind. Let’s examine all three and uncover how to tap into your wise mind. You’ll need it moving forward!
Your Emotional Mind
This is most likely you right now. When you’re operating strictly with your emotional mind, you’re passionate, reactive and impulsive. You’re responding to gut feelings and moods.
This is not a time of logical or focused thinking. Your ability to evaluate facts and weigh options is curtailed when you’re working with only an emotional mind.
Your emotional mind is also responsible for your desire to take risks or explore new territory.
The thing about operating strictly from your emotional mind is that it’s exhausting. The erratic behavior and ever-changing whims that come with the emotional mind will wear you out.
Now, the emotional mind is not all bad. You draw from this when you decide to start a new business or travel the world. Additionally, love comes from your emotional mind and we certainly don’t want to eliminate that!
Some folks hang out in their emotional mind a lot. You can determine who they are because they often:
- Allow everything to get to them
- Are described as being too sensitive
- Act in a reactive way – acting before thinking
- Are hypervigilant
Your Rational or Reasonable Mind
Your rational mind is cool and collected. It’s logical, pragmatic and methodical and you use it to make decisions like what degree to go after in college and where to live after.
In your rational mind, you operate with facts and you’re often task-oriented. If you need to stay focused and on target, it’s your rational mind you need.
When you’re trying to figure something out, you want to tap into your rational mind. It’s also useful for reading contracts, interpreting data, considering medical treatment and other similar activities.
Of course, like the emotional mind, the rational mind has its pitfalls. Sometimes, people find so much comfort in their rational mind that they tend to hang out there. This can cause them to come across as cool or aloof. It makes it challenging to form an emotional connection with them.
Your Wise Mind
Your wise mind is the ideal place to be, most of the time. Your wise mind is intuitive, grounded and balanced. It’s the perfect balance between the rational mind and the emotional mind.
When you’re using your wise mind, your heart and mind are working together and the result is usually just what is needed. You can control what you feel, how you feel and how you express those feelings.
Your wise mind keeps you from missing those red flags that will keep you from sleeping with a guy too soon. And, it’s the same mind that allows you to feel giddy and excited when you meet a new guy, driving you to want to spend more time with him.
How to Access Your Wise Mind
Take Note of What You’re Feeling
A journal is often the best way to do this. You don’t need to write pages and pages. A sentence or two will do. “I feel angry” or “I’m so sad because…”. The goal is to stop pushing away your feelings and instead, allow yourself to feel them and label them. You push feelings away because they cause pain, but what you will come to realize is that the pain will pass and as you acknowledge the feelings, they won’t hurt as much. The more you allow yourself to feel them, the better able you are to manage your emotions.
Avoid Judgmental Statements
We have grown to be a very judgmental society. We see someone who doesn’t fit what we consider to be normal by our own standards and we judge. Instead of judging, just acknowledge the fact of the situation. That is really blue hair instead of How ridiculous is that blue hair?!? It’s fine to observe, but avoid the judgment.
Step Away From a Situation
If you find yourself in a situation that has you feeling very emotional, step away. Allow yourself time to process what happened, again without judgment, label the feelings and allow the emotion to pass. Many times, especially when you’re angry, you want to stay and fight it out, but when you’re in that type of emotional state, no rational conclusion will come. Walking away until cooler heads prevail is better.
Many times, we become emotional when we’re ruminating over the past or anxious about something in the future. Bring yourself back to right now. What is going on outside your window? Rain? Birds chirping? A thunderstorm or snow? What smells are around? Did someone just make popcorn? Do you have sweet-smelling flowers on your desk? Did someone walk by with nice smelling cologne? Focus on the here and now, allowing your senses to pick up on what is going on around you and just enjoy that moment.
Follow Your Intuition
We’ve all had moments when we followed our intuition and were happy to have done so, and we’ve had times when we didn’t and felt the regret. Your intuition is often right and worth listening to.
Look for the Whole Picture, Instead of Pieces
Many times, we see things from our own point of view and someone else sees the same thing from their point of view, both of you coming. up with different interpretations of what happened. This is how arguments begin.
Step back and look at the whole picture. Try to see it through someone else’s eyes, without judgment or labeling it as right or wrong. What is the beginning, middle and end?
Look for the Truth
“I just know Rita is angry with me!” How many times have you either said something similar or thought it? Of course, if Rita is angry with you, you can be angry back, right? But what if Rita isn’t angry with you? Is your emotional mind is playing tricks with you? How can you tell?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are there facts to support this belief? Has Rita told you she was angry? Don’t believe what someone else says either, their motives might not be on the up and up
- If you are reactive and send an ugly text to Rita, does this hold with your core values? In other words, do you believe in your core, that being mean to someone is okay, regardless of the reason?
- Is this a situation you must react to at this moment or can it wait until tomorrow or the day after? Sometimes, the truth sorts itself out if given time and you can avoid making an embarrassing mistake
- If Rita thought you were angry with her, how would you want her to handle it?
This is using your wise mind.
The Stages of Grieving a Relationship
There are nine generally recognized stages of grieving a relationship. It’s not quite the same as grieving the death of a loved one, for a variety of reasons, which you will soon discover.
While this isn’t a linear process, the first stage for almost everyone is shock. During this phase, a few things hit you all at once, leaving you reeling:
- You discover you’re replacable in the heart of someone you love
- You feel irrelevant in his life and may feel disposable
- Your identity is no longer as part of a couple, but as an individual
- Survival mode kicks in to compensate for the fogginess of your life
Your body is facing a few altered chemical states, based on no longer having the hormones associated with love coarsing through your veins and you feel fuzzy and uncomfortable.
In the denial phase, you tell yourself this isn’t real. The breakup didn’t happen. He’s just going through a phase right now and then, he’ll be back. While this may be, it’s counterproductive to live under this delusion.
Instead, you continue moving through your life as if you’re still in a relationship. It’s a primal response to the breakup and part of your body denying the breakup.
Your mind plays tricks on you during this phase because it wants to experience those love hormones again. In fact, your mind becomes so strongly addicted to those chemicals that it’s easier to get over an addiction to cocaine than it is to overcome an addiction to love hormones (Fisher 2004).
You might not recognize the denial stage at first, but once you do, you slide into avoidance. During avoidance, which is still part of this stage, you begin to avoid the reality of the breakup in order to avoid feeling the pain.
Desperate for Answers
This is just what it says – you’re now desperately seeking the answers – the one thing you can do to fix everything.
You want to uncover the why. What this really is is the first step in being able to disprove all those reasons why. If you can just show him that the reasons for the breakup aren’t valid, everything will be okay again.
Of course, at some point, you decide there are no good reasons for the breakup and you fixate on why those reasons are no good. You’ll drive your friends and family crazy during this stage!
This is a creative phase. You begin to bargain with whomever you bargain to that you’ll do anything to get him back.
You and you alone, superwoman, can singlehandedly fix everything that was wrong with your relationship.
This is your emotional mind talking. There is no rational thought to this stage. If there were, you would know that you can’t actually do this.
The two important questions here are 1) are you really the only person at fault, thereby making you the one who can fix everything; and 2) would that truly fix the relationship and make everything great again?
You’ll find those answers as you progress through these stages.
Internal bargaining statements begin with “If only I had…“.
- If only I had cooked his favorite meal more often
- If only I hadn’t asked him to take the trash out when he was already stressed
- If only I had one that thing in the bedroom that he kept begging for
In this stage, you envision a different outcome if you had done something differently. The problem with this line of reasoning is that you have no guarantee that doing his favorite thing in the bedroom would have changed the outcome you’re facing now.
I’m sorry to tell you that you cannot change the past so this stage of grieving the breakup isn’t really very productive.
Many couples break up and make up about as often as I tie my shoes, so this is more of a ritual than an event.
That will make this time feel like it’s just a phase and your main goal will be to convince him to try one more time.
What this really is is another attempt to alleviate the pain of the breakup. Of course, the problem is the same, regardless of how many times you’ve broken up before. The hurts and negative feelings remain and aren’t being dealt with so each time you reconcile, you’re really just entering a new cycle of the same old stuff.
Now, you’re starting to make progress. You’re having moments of clarity where you can see a life without your ex. Unfortunately, those moments of clarity are often mixed in with elements of the other phases.
The good news is that each time you cycle in and out of initial acceptance, you’ll spend more time accepting and less time in the other phases. As you build your confidence, you will feel better in this phase.
I bet you were wondering where this one was, right? This stage takes on different forms, depending on how close you are to the breakup.
In the beginning, you will turn this anger on yourself, finding your own shortcomings and blaming yourself for everything that went wrong.
You’ll see all your perceived flaws as reasons for the breakup:
- I’m too fat
- I’m too ugly
- My nose is too big
The goal in this phase is to place blame. You’ll know you’re moving out of anger when you’re angry over the breakup but not trying to place blame. The trick is to learn to become responsible for your own anger and own that you can control it. Once you do, you will be able to pull together the pieces of your life and begin to heal.
As humans, we only really feel hopeless when we are facing death. Otherwise, the feeling of hopelessness you may be experiencing has some shining light somewhere. There is a glimmer of hope you can grasp.
Hope comes in many forms during the grieving process. Early on, if you enter the hope stage, you’ll hope for a reconciliation. Later, if you decide you don’t want him back, you will hope to survive without him. Once you get to that point, you can begin to build on your accomplishments. As you go through Step Three and begin building your confidence, you will feel more hope and success.
What all of this means is that everything you’re feeling right now is normal. Understanding these phases helps you recognize any risky or negative behavior you may be engaging in so you can make a course correction.
You may stay in any of these phases anywhere from a few hours to a few days or weeks. There is no right or wrong. You will experience most of them more than once, although each time should be better than the last.
You won’t go through these stages in this order so you won’t necessarily be able to anticipate what’s next. Just recognize where you are and work toward mitigating the fallout. Work on building your confidence and you will begin to feel much better.
These Negative Behaviors are Ruining Your Chances of Getting Him Back
Your girlfriends, your mother and your sister are all trying to help you navigate your breakup, but they’re doing so with suggestions that aren’t helpful for you. They don’t intend to hurt your chances but they are guiding you toward pretty much the exact opposite actions you should be taking.
As if that isn’t enough, you’re navigating those stages of grieving a relationship and some of those, as you read, can really play tricks on your emotions. Your mind wants those love chemicals to keep flowing and is leading you down a wrong pathway to reconciliation.
The good news is that these behaviors are controllable, with practice. First, we’ll examine the negative behaviors, then, you’ll learn some methods that will help you stop.
Negative Behavior #1: You Freak OUT When You Find Out He’s Dating Someone Else
It’s natural to feel hurt and upset when you find out he’s dating someone else, but rest assured, this is a rebound relationship and it won’t last. Most people jump into rebound relationships when they are trying to avoid the negative feelings of the breakup. This won’t last because it’s just his way of dealing, or not dealing with his negative emotions.
Negative Behavior #2: Calling and Texting Him All the Time
You learned about this in the No Contact Rule section above, but it is worth repeating. These behaviors don’t actually say take me back, they say, I’m needy and miserable without you. The problem is that he doesn’t want to hear that and what you’re saying in a text isn’t really the message he’s receiving.
This type of texting screams of insecurity and is unattractive.
Negative Behavior #3: Begging and Trying to Use Pity to Get Him Back
Your ex is expecting this from you so the best thing you can do is not do it! When you do the opposite of what he is expecting you to do, it surprises him and makes you a little bit mysterious. Mysterious is a good thing!
This type of behavior really calls you out as being insecure and low on confidence and we definitely don’t want him looking at you that way.
Negative Behavior #4: Showering Him with Love and Affection
You believe that if he can just see exactly how much you love him, he will come back. The truth is that he already knows that and he still left. This wasn’t a game-changer for him.
Your continued attempts to do this will only push him further away.
Negative Behavior #5: Letting Him Walk All Over You
You, my friend, are nobody’s doormat. A doormat is someone who allows people to walk all over them. They always say “Yes” when someone asks them to do something, whether they want to do it or not, because they fear saying no will cause the other person to stop liking them.
In an upcoming step, you will work on setting boundaries and this will help you end your doormat days.
Negative Behavior #6: Using Name-Calling and Anger
If you’re employing this tool now, chances are it’s how the two of you communicated in your relationship as well. The problem is that this isn’t a healthy way to communicate. It only serves to create contempt and put distance between the two of you.
It’s time to find some new ways to communicate. It’s possible that you may not be able to get back with your ex unless you can get him to see that this method of communicating isn’t working and you both need to change.
Again, we can’t control him, we can only work on you, so there is no way to guess if he would be willing to change. Sometimes, this type of behavior goes way back in the family tree and it’s all you know.
Negative Behavior #7: Obsessive Behavior and Misinterpreting His Behavior
Your mind is working overtime to keep the love hormones flowing, as you read above. The problem with that is that those things are counter-productive. One such behavior is obsessing over the breakup. You keep asking yourself questions that have no real answers:
- Does he still love me?
- Does he want me back?
- Why is he dating her?
- Does he love her more than me?
- Can I get him back if he’s dating someone else?
The truth is that you’ll never find the answers to these questions. Your ex probaby doesn’t know either. Ruminating over them isn’t solving anything, but it is probably driving you crazy.
How do You Stop?
Stopping can be a little challenging, but I know you’re up for it. You’re experiencing these emotions and feelings and they’re very real. Don’t ever think I’m telling you they aren’t real! I know they are. The good news is that there are ways in which you can work through them without ruining your chances of getting back with him.
Acknowledge What You’re Feeling
Many times, it feels safer to stuff feelings than to let them pass through. Stuffing things doesn’t help you get over them. In fact, it tends to make them worse because you’re avoiding them. Instead of stuffing them, feel them. Acknowledge those feelings and let them pass through you. Practice doing this without reacting to them. Control any feelings of anger or sadness by telling yourself it’s okay. It’s okay to feel angry, but you don’t need to react to it. It’s okay to feel sad without a big production.
Try getting a journal and writing about what you feel. Draw pictures, write paragraphs, paint, do whatever it takes to help you experience these emotions in a healthy way.
End the Wallowing
Wallowing is defined as indulging in something in an unrestrained way. What that means is that you’re enjoying these negative feelings. They’re safe and comfortable. That doesn’t mean they’re good, and chances are you aren’t really enjoying this as much as it seems.
The best way to counteract wallowing is to change up what you’re doing. Get out of the house. Go shopping or visit a friend. Get a pedicure or take a friend out to lunch. Do something to get your mind focused in a different direction.
Write a Few Sentences
Create a little mantra for yourself, something akin to an affirmation. It might go like this, “I know that I can get through this breakup and get him back if I focus on these five steps” or “I know I’m just beginning this process of healing and I can get through it if I’m patient and diligent.”
Keep this statement handy so you can use it whenever you feel yourself slipping.
Many women prioritize others in their lives ahead of themselves. Now that you’re single, even if it’s temporary, it’s time to prioritize you for a while. You’ve earned it. The best way to do that is through self-care. There is a whole section on self-care in Step Three, so for now, try a hot bath or a manicure. Read a book you enjoy or listen to music you like. Do something that is just for you.
Avoid Places Where Your Ex Might Be
It’s natural to try to stumble upon your ex, you know, just to see how he is. The problem with this is that it opens the wound again, especially if you are struggling with negative emotions.
Therefore, it’s important to resist the urge to go the gym when you know he might be there or drive by his office, just in case he might be walking to his car. Instead, make a plan to be at the gym when you know he won’t be there. Take a different route home if our normal route takes you by his home or office.
Time to Set Some boundaries
What are Boundaries?
A boundary is most easily described as where you begin and someone else ends. You can also think of it a a limit you place between you and someone else, or a fence to separate acceptable from unacceptable treatment.
Your boundaries are often based on your values relating to how you allow people to treat you. For example, if you’re going on a first date with a guy and you hold strong values about sex and marriage, a boundary would be not having sex on the first date or until you’re married.
Imagine you have a coworker who always comes into your office, sits down and gabs about nothing work-related for an hour. This keeps you from doing your own work and a boundary needs to be put into place.
One option would be to allow the person to come in, but when they sit down and start chatting, you could say, “Gee Karen, I really want to hear about your date, but how about we discuss it over lunch later today?” This shows sensitivity to her need to talk about her date, doesn’t call her out on negative behavior and offers an alternative.
If she ignores your request and keeps going, you will need a firmer stance, perhaps like this, “I’m sorry Karen but I have a deadline to hit. I’d really prefer to finish our chat at lunchtime. Let’s meet up the street at the bistro, say 11:30?” You could then get up and gently guide her to the door.
It may take a few attempts to get a boundary to sink in and people who are boundary crashers don’t go gently into the night. They tend to push back because it’s worked for them before. Karen will probably be in your office again the next day, wanting to chat for an hour and your job will be to shoo her out again, not offering lunch again, just telling her you need to get your work done.
The trick with boundaries and boundary crashers is to be consistent. If Karen continues to come into your space, you may need to become more forceful and blunt with her, “Karen, I enjoy our chats, but when I’m at work, I prefer to focus on work. Can we keep our personal time for after work?” and if that doesn’t work, you may need to go to someone higher up to get her to stop. Crashing a boundary should always have a consequence but when that consequence comes into play will vary.
What you need to recognize about boundaries is that they are meant to protect you and help you hold true to your values. When someone else is being held to your boundary, they won’t like it, but if they like and respect you, they will respect your boundary, although it may take some time. How another person reacts to your boundary is on them. Let me say that again – how someone else reacts to your boundary is on them.
One of the most challenging lessons to learn in life is that we can’t control how other people react to what we say or do. Just like you can control your emotions and reactions, so can other people. People who do not choose to respect your boundaries or people who punish you after you set boundaries most likely need to be let go from your pool of friends.
How Do You Set Healthy Boundaries?
Observe and Determine Where You Need Boundaries
It can be tough to imagine where you need boundaries, but there’s a foolproof method I can share with you today. Simply answer these questions:
- What makes you angry?
- When do you get frustrated?
- When do you feel hurt?
- Do you feel someone has taken advantage of you? When?
- Do you feel disrespected? When?
The answers to these questions will point you in the direction of where boundaries need to be set. What is happening when you feel angry? Who is involved, besides you? Who is involved in something that makes you feel frustrated? What was going on?
Boundaries aren’t set and recognized overnight, especially if there is a long pattern of behavior behind the need for the boundary. You didn’t get here overnight and you won’t get out quickly either.
The first few times you are required to stand up for your boundaries will be challenging and it won’t feel good right away because it’s new and uncomfortable, but keep telling yourself that this is for you. You deserve to be treated respectfully.
When you set a boundary with someone, use “I” instead of “You” in your sentences.
- I have a deadline to hit
- I need to get my work done
- I don’t believe in having sex before marriage
- I like to be on time when I’m going somewhere
This is instead of:
- You sitting here is making me miss my deadline
- You are keeping me from doing my work
- You’re pushing me into something I don’t want (or worse yet, giving in)
- You’re always late
Most people will respond to statements about you over statements that blame them. An “I” statement is an expression of your feelings and those are more difficult to argue with than a blame statement.
It can be challenging to be honest about your feelings because it makes you feel gulity for having them, so you tiptoe around what you want to say, instead of coming out with it.
When you’re hesitant to express your true feelings, you’re unable to state your boundaries. It will be difficult at first to set and stand behind your boundaries, but the more you do it, the better you will become.
Allow for Consequences
There are two types of consequences, natural and logical.
Natural consequences happen as a progression of the unwanted behavior. If your child pokes around getting ready for school a natural consequence is that they’re late or they miss the bus. You can issue a warning, “If you don’t hurry up, you’re goin got miss the bus” and if they still poke, they miss the bus.
Logical consequences are those you put in place, “If you miss the bus, you won’t be able to play on your X-Box for one week.”
When you are establishing boundaries, there should be a consequence for the person being held to the boundary. What that consequence is will depend on you, the other person and the boundary. If your boyfriend drinks too much and misses work, he may ask you to call him in as sick. If you think this is wrong, you can establish a boundary that you won’t be his enabler any longer and allow him to get fired for not showing up. That is a natural consequence.
Boundary crashers like having an explanation -a why. Your coworker may want to know why she can’t sit in your office and chat for an hour. In your boundary, you gave her enough of an answer, “I have a deadline to hit. ” She still may want to know more.
You are not required to give a boundary crasher an explanation, and you should not do so. All this does is give them something to argue back with, “No you don’t, that deadline is next week.” Now what can you say? “I’m sorry but I really want to get back to work. Thanks for stopping by.” At the worst, you can just put your head down and ignore her.
This Will Suck at First
Setting boundaries, especially at first, is not fun. It will make you feel uneasy and uncomfortable. The only way through it is straight through. Each time you power through, you’ll empower yourself for the next time. With each success, you will feel a little bit of your self-esteem return and you will feel more confident.
Choose Your Battles
Don’t try to set ten boundaries at once, especially if the same person is involved in many of them. Pick two, maybe three and work on those first. These should be the ones that are bugging you the most. Understand why you’re choosing to set that boundary so you’re clear and firm in holding tight when challenged.
Mean What You Say
If you set a boundary but then give in to someone who wants to crash it, you lose all credibility and it will be even harder to establish that boundary in the future. If you say there’s no X-Box after school, then there is no X-Box. If you go to your boss because your coworker won’t stay out of your office, don’t give in and let her keep coming in.
This Isn’t About Their Feelings, It’s About Yours
People pleasers, or people without boundaries, do so becaue they don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings. They say “yes” to keep the peace. When you begin to set boundaries, you may feel as if you’re going to hurt the other person’s feelings.
Setting boundaries is for you, not for someone else. This is about you holding true to your own values. You may not like knowing someone is upset with you, but let me ask you this, why doesn’t this person care enough about you to care about your feelings? Their actions clearly indicate that they aren’t taking your feelings into consideration.
You cannot always hold true to your values and avoid making someone else angry.
Prepare Yourself First
Before you set a boundary with someone, practice a few times. It might sound silly, but it will help. A practiced response will come more naturally than one off the cuff.
Let’s go back to the coworker. Get together with another coworker outside of the office and run through it with her. It’ll help if she knows the person you’re having trouble with. Know what you want to say and run through it with your firiend. Get comfortable practicing and you’ll feel better when the time comes to do it for real.
Always remember you have three goals:
- To hold drue to your own values
- To avoid answering any questions
- To stick to your guns
Do those three things and you have yourself a boundary.
Don’t Feak Out When He Dates
It’s the worst of all possible outcomes. Your ex is dating someone else. Here you are, still binge-watching anything you can find on Netflix, trying not to go to the store, just for more ice cream or donuts, and he’s off dating a new woman. What the heck?!?
It’ll all be okay, I promise. This doesn’t mean what you think it means. In fact, it probably means the opposite of what you’re thinking. Let’s dig in.
Why is He Dating Someone Else?
Let’s first lay to rest any ideas you may have about why he’s dating someone else. It isn’t because she’s better than you in any way. It’s because he either wants to avoid dealing with the pain of the breakup, he wants a quick turnaround so he doesn’t look like a loser, or he doesn’t want to be alone. It could be all three. This new woman isn’t better than you, she’s merely the first breathing woman who showed even a small interest in him. That’s it.
If He’s so Miserable, Why do They look Happy?
Many men are raised to avoid showing emotion, especially negative emotion. You can thank society for this one. Your guy looks happy because that’s the face everyone expects him to have.
Yes, it’s that simple.
Society tells us to get back on the horse – move on and don’t look back. There’s no whining about it, just deal. So that’s what he’s doing. Just because he looks happy on the outside doesn’t mean he’s happy on the inside. Trust me on that. Men are raised to fake it and deal later when they’re alone.
What You’re Thinking and How to Counter Those Thoughts
Are His Friends and Family Comparing Her to Me?
The short answer is no, probably not. Chances are she won’t meet his family because he doesn’t want to hear those comparisons, especially if they really liked you. He’s already doing that and he doesn’t need their help.
As for his friends, who knows and who cares? You can decide whatever you want here so why not decide that they’re all telling him he made a big mistake? This is your thought, so you can do with it as you want.
Why do I Love/Hate Her?
Your feelings for her will go one of two ways – you’ll either hate her because she has what you want, or you’ll love her because she’s everything you aren’t. She’s prettier, her hair is more cooperative, she has a better wardrobe and so on.
Rather than fixating on her perfections or imperfections, why not just have some respect for her. Soon, she’ll be in your shoes. She’ll be part of the sisterhood.
How Can I Avoid Getting Angry All Over Again?
Anger is a valid but unproductive emotion. Remember you’re broken up and breakups occur because something is broken. In order to fix what’s broken, you need to learn to control your emotions. Your path forward involves taking a few deep breaths, putting on your happy face and remembering that she’s the rebound.
Your Healthy Course Forward
Self awareess involves thinking about your thoughts. In other words, you begin to notice what you’re thinking and learning to shift your thoughts
The Best Ways to Alleviate Your Anxiety
Anxiety is best defined as a feeling of intense worry that often appears as a sidecar to stress. Usually, it’s centered around a situation in which the outcome has yet to be determined. In the right context, anxiety can help improve your productivity, pushing you toward meeting a deadline or keeping you safe in a scary situation.
But at other times, anxiety can be debilitating and can hinder your attempts to move forward. Anxious thoughts sound like this:
- If this new guy finds out I have an eight-year-old daughter, he’ll bail
- If I don’t text my ex and tell him how much I miss him, he’ll find someone else before I get the chance to win him back
- If I don’t get this project exactly right, I’ll lose any hope of a promotion, then I won’t be able to buy a new car and I’ll be stuck living in this crappy apartment forever
These what if scenarios playout in an assortment of ways in your mind, with no good outcome. The problem is that you’re often trying to predict the future based on the behavior of someone else. Of course, the problem is that you can’t control the behavior of anyone but yourself. If you’re having these types of anxious moments, rest assured, you aren’t alone.
But, that doesn’t mean you should keep living this way either. Let’s dig into anxiety briefly.
Where does Anxiety Come From?
Yup, I’m sorry to tell you but one place to look for the source of your anxiety is in your family history, but the truth is that most people experience anxiety at some time in their life. It’s a normal response to many situations. Still, genetics play a large role in many mental health conditions, anxiety among them.
It’s Riding Along with Another Mental Disorder
Eating disorders and depression are just two examples of disorders with which you can also experience anxiety. Those disorders cause some cognitive and emotional distortions that can ramp up your anxiety and also present a challenge when you’re trying to deal with your anxiety.
Statistics indicate that women are more likely than men to experience certain types of anxiety disorders, of which there are many. It’s possible that just being female is going against you, this time.
Culture and Family Background
The environment in which you were raised can play a rold in your anxiety. There’s nature, which is your gender and family history, and there’s nurture, which is the environment of your youth. Some cultures and even individuals, have varying beliefs about mental disorders. There are some who are more accepting and willing to seek out treatment and there are some who feel mental disorders are hooey and don’t believe in seeking treatment. What you were raised to believe will play a role in how you view and deal with your anxiety today.
Your Own World
Things going on in your own life right now can play a role in your anxiety. Work issues, family stressors and financial struggles can all cause you to feel more anxiety than you might otherwise experience.
The Circumstances Surrounding Your Breakup
The way your ex broke up with you might be a source of anxiety for you, especially if he lied about the reasons for the breakup or was vague about what was on his mind. He may have left you to believe that everything was your fault and now, you’re left searching for answers and trying to figure out how you could have screwed things up so badly.
Know that no breakup is the fault of just one person, so while you likely had some role, it wasn’t all your fault.
The Stage of Grieving the Relationship You’re Currently Experiencing
Some of the stages of grieving a breakup will fill you with more anxiety than others. Your source could just be what you’re feeling about the breakup at this time. Being aware of which stage you’re in will help you mitigate some of that anxiety.
How to Manage Your Anxiety
Implement a Self-Care Routine
You already read about self-care and how important it is to building and preserving the new you, but it’s also a great way to deal with anxiety. The distraction of doing something else is often enough to shift your future-thinking to something more pleasant. Try some of these ideas:
- Hang out with some friends
- Do something creative
- Take a nap
- Eat comfort food
This is a short list, but an effective one. Any of those activities will help you shift your thoughts and redirect them to something positive.
Anxiety is thinking into the future and imagining all possible (negative) scenarios. Mindfulness means focusing your thoughts on the here and now. It’s about experiencing an anxious thought, allowing it to flow through you and on out.
Our tendency is to stop feelings that are painful because we have a natural tendency to avoid pain, but if you instead become mindful of those feelings and give them a label, you can begin to let them go. It isn’t about avoiding the feelings, but allowing yourself to feel them and move through them.
Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
When you focus on the things in your life that you’re grateful for, you shift your focus from negative thoughts to positive. This is a great way to alleviate anxiety. During this time of being focused on what you lost, shifting that focus to what you have that’s great in your life can help a lot!
A Few More Ways
- Do something you love
- Spend time with friends and family
- Let go of needing to know why