How to Handle Those Who Get Angry at Your BoundariesApr 14, 2020
When you establish a new boundary with someone, the most common form of resistance is anger. People who get angry at others for setting boundaries have a character problem. Self-centered, they think the world exists for them and their comfort. They see others as extensions of themselves.
I'm going to give you six steps to consider when someone responds to your boundaries with anger:
1. Realize that the person who is angry at you for setting boundaries is the one with the problem.
2. View anger realistically. Anger is only a feeling inside the other person. It cannot “get inside” you unless you allow it. Let the anger be in the other person.
3. Do not let anger be a cue for you to do something. People without boundaries respond automatically to the anger of others. They rescue, seek approval, or get angry themselves.
4. Make sure you have your support system in place. If you are going to set some limits with a person who has controlled you with anger, talk to the people in your support system first and make a plan. Know what you will say. Anticipate what the angry person will say, and plan your response.
5. Do not allow the angry person to get you angry. Keep a loving stance while “speaking the truth in love.” If we have boundaries, we will be separate enough to love.
6. Be prepared to use physical distance and other limits that enforce consequences. One woman’s life was changed when she realized that she could say, “I will not allow myself to be yelled at. I will go into the other room until you decide you can talk about this without attacking me. When you can do that, I will talk to you.”
If you keep your boundaries, those who are angry at you will have to learn self-control for the first time, instead of “other control,” which has been destructive to them anyway. When they no longer have control over you, they will find a different way to relate.
Need a safe place to relate to others about this topic? Join one of Dr. Henry Cloud's Boundaries Peer Groups.
Boundaries in Marriage
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Boundaries After Divorce
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Boundaries with Kids and Teens
Boundaries in Church