This week I had an eye opening reminder about boundaries.
My friend and business partner, excited about the new year and all the possibilities. Decided to begin networking to improve business. Full of energy, boiling over, we went to our first networking event. We were pumped. We are going to meet people, make connections and get business! We met a nice, super friendly lady who seemed to be on our same page. She had a mission to help women feel good about themselves. Yes, us too! She was passionate about incorporating mind, body and soul in her work. Right on! Us too! After the meeting we exchanged information and set a date to get to know each other better or so (me and my friend) thought. I should have listened to that nagging feeling in the back ground. That feeling that said something feels off here. I ignored it, my friend was so excited. It must just be me. How often do we do this to ourselves? Ignore our hunches, our gut feelings because someone else does not validate them. (This is a whole other issue and will definitely be covered in future Therapy Thursday because it is something I have struggled with my entire life. If I am not validated it must not be real. Bullshit. Okay back to the story).
Later that week before we met, she sent us her “release form.” Makes sense, she’s a fitness instruction, it’s a release form. Next red flag, why was she sending us a release for to get to know each other? I passed it off as she was going to demonstrate some of the stuff she does with clients. Again ignoring that uncomfortable feeling that sat in my stomach. Then I read the release form. This was no release form, that was a therapy intake form. It was way more personal than my intake form. Another red flag, ignored. I didn’t fill it out. Neither did my friend.
The day comes we arrive to meet her. She’s running late, had to stop and get tea. Next red flag. You don’t honor my time. Again, I passed it off. She’s busy. Still making excuses. We go into her studio. She is visibly upset that we didn’t feel out her form. She goes with it. Starts diving into the questions. What is my soul’s mission, purpose? How do I know? Where do I feel it? Where am I stuck? Why? On and on. She pushes us to divulge to her. Where does it sit in our bodies? How does it feel? Move your body this way, that way. My friend and I were both uncomfortable. But we went with it. Ignoring the feelings that something is wrong. “You aren’t being vulnerable enough with me?” I didn’t say anything. Inside I am screaming, “I don’t even know you. I don’t expect my clients to go this deep with my, until they are ready. I don’t force them.” My friend jumps to my defense. “She is very vulnerable when you get to know her.” The lady goes on. “You come from an alcoholic family.” Again I am screaming inside. “Whoa. You need to chill.” Still I went with it. When the interrogation was done, she showed us a couple moves (we did some squats) and then she began to pressure us to buy her 90 day program to bring our dreams to life. She did not want to take no for an answer. She pushed and pushed. We kept saying that we couldn’t. Finally we said we’d get back to her. Before we left she gave us each a hug that felt like forever. Not a quick goodbye hug. A lingering hug. Again leaving me feeling very uncomfortable.
Needless to say, we left there feeling violated. We felt taken advantage of.
Oh but it doesn’t stop there. That night she texted and emailed us, claiming how excited she was to work with us. How much she could help us. The next day, I emailed her back declining her offer. We haven’t heard back from her. Finally, set the boundary. She couldn’t accept it. She didn’t get what she wanted. Isn’t that why people push boundaries? To fill their needs, their agendas, to get what they want. I get it. We want to be nice. Be a team player. But not when it comprises us.
I learned I need to listen to that little voice that told me something was off. Second, we allowed her to cross our boundaries. We did not set firm boundaries with her. We let her run the show and run all over us. When we felt uncomfortable we needed to say something or leave.
Has this happened to you?
So, what can we do?
1. Listen to yourself. If you feel uncomfortable. You are feeling it for a good reason. Check in with this feeling.
2. Say something. If someone crosses your boundaries. Say something, let them know they have gone too far. That they need to back off.
3. If they continue to disrespect your boundaries or you don’t feel you can say anything, leave. It’s them, not you.
What are some other ways you set boundaries?