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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:09 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
I'm on the boundary violation part of my workshop and I've been finding it difficult to come up with consequences for boundary violations for some of the more subtle violations. I'd love to get ideas from others for what they found useful and effective. I also want to be modeling consequences that promote mature communication.

Here's an example of one that didn't work for me. During a phone conversation with my husband when I called him out on a violation, he turned to blame shifting. When I mentioned that he was shifting the blame to me and I wanted to stay focused on what he had done, he just kept pointing the finger. So I hung up. In the past, pre-DDay, I told him it was childish to hang up on in my during a phone conversation. I can't imagine I'd do that to anyone in any of my other relationships. I don't want to have that consequence in my tool box long term, because it seems so immature on my part, even though it achieved what I wanted and sent a clear message.

I'm pretty proud of how well I've defined my boundaries and recognize violations so clearly now, which weren't so obvious before. I know what to do if there are major violations. I'm prepared to leave, knowing I have no fourth chance left in me. But there are so many violations that are subtle, I'm not sure what consequences make sense. Giving the cold shoulder or walking away mid-conversation also seems immature and not something I would do in my other work or personal relationships.

What I do in "real life" is just tell people directly what's bugging me and what I expect. I'm valued in my work for how adept I am at negotiating with clients and getting a positive outcome for everyone. I'm a great communicator/negotiator with most rational people, who would then say sorry, share how they're feeling, or work it out with me through healthy communication.

So when I caught my husband in a small lie of exaggeration, I called him on it and told him that if he lies about the little things, he has no hope of regaining my trust on anything. But is calling him out enough of a consequence? It feels like there should be more, but what is it? Was the ensuing conversation enough to make my point and make sure the violation was addressed? Will he keep lying because all he got was a verbal slap on the hand?

Right now, my options for consequences are limited: leave, not allow him to be in public with the kids (because of a horrific breach of acting out with the kids before DDay--which, if it happened now would result in immediate divorce and filing for full custody), and calling him out. Not a very deep well to draw from.

I'm looking for consequences that I would use in a healthy relationship, either with him, with work colleagues, or friendships--ones that I would feel are fair and mature if he used them on me if I violated his boundaries. I don't want to be the mommy disciplining her kid. I don't want to be punitive. I'd like to develop really healthy, non-reactive consequences that lay the foundation for healthy communication.

I know that the consequences need to be what feels right to me, but I'd still love to get ideas for what has worked for you.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 12:23 pm 
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Partner's Coach

Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:49 pm
Posts: 675
RisingtoChallenge wrote:
So I hung up. In the past, pre-DDay, I told him it was childish to hang up on in my during a phone conversation. I can't imagine I'd do that to anyone in any of my other relationships. I don't want to have that consequence in my tool box long term, because it seems so immature on my part, even though it achieved what I wanted and sent a clear message.


There is the childish way to hang up the phone: "okay, fine!" *click and the mature way to hang up the phone: "This conversation isn't productive. I'm hanging up now." If someone is being aggressive or abusive over the phone, it's a very reasonable boundary to end the conversation abruptly.

As far as boundaries for other things, the question I would recommend you ask yourself is: "Do I need to do anything further to ensure my on-going safety in this relationship?" Remember that the purpose of boundaries isn't to control your partner's behavior or to reinforce good or bad behavior, but to ensure your safety. So if you are safe, and your stability is protected then simply observing that the boundary was violated is enough. If the most effective way to protect yourself is to end a conversation then do that! "This conversation isn't healthy for me, I'm leaving now" is not childish. If he continues the behavior is up to him.


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