The real reason why setting boundaries is so difficult


​Do you also find it difficult to set boundaries and then defend them?

Welcome to the club!

Establishing boundaries and defending them again and again is a very tiring business, especially if the other person to whom the boundaries are set continues to act as if these boundaries do not exist or do not apply to them!

I’ve actually written quite a few blog articles on the subject of setting boundaries, because it’s a perennial topic with the moms I work with.

And there are some additional podcast interviews with moms who have shared their experiences with setting new boundaries with their toxic ex.

Today, however, I would like to discuss a very specific aspect with you.

Many moms find it difficult to define their boundaries and separate them from their bewilderment at the way their ex treats their child.

One of the first tasks I give “my” moms in DEXKADIMA or in the Club of Courageous Moms is to define the most important personal values.

Quite a few people think it is enough to set a limit that is imposed from outside

The best example of this is how babies learn to sleep through the night – especially in their own bed.

How many supposed experts there are out there who tell you that your baby should learn to sleep alone in its own bed at an early age!

When a need-oriented mom, whose main value is love and care, puts her child down again and again with a mega-heavy heart and separates from him, although her baby needs a lot of warmth and physicality and sleeps best and most peacefully in the family bed, this is a boundary (towards the baby) that others have told her and which she adopts in her insecurity.

And that won’t work for precisely this reason. The baby senses the mother’s insecurity and will react accordingly.

We will ALWAYS be able to present and defend boundaries that are in line with our own values more confidently and calmly (although the latter is probably less often necessary).

These are also the limits that we feel are right.

Again, this is not to say that the boundaries that feel right for you are the best for another mom.

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​However, we have very similar boundary issues with toxic ex-partners

The first limit that should be set with a pathological narcissist is to have as little personal contact as possible and only as much as is absolutely necessary.

The underlying value that should be served is that of self-care.

That means:

There’s a difference between resisting the pressure of the helper and court system to cooperate with your toxic Ex by being nice and sweet and finally insisting that you only communicate by email and that he can’t come to your new apartment….

… or whether you tell him exactly how he has to treat the child during his contact time because his manipulation counteracts your value of care and family spirit.

You can only set boundaries that affect you personally

For all others, you need the court if necessary, and it’s important to weigh things up carefully.

I always talk about setting up boundaries when you tell your ex by email that you’ve noticed the particularly perfidious manipulation he perpetrated on your child last weekend. And that he should please refrain from doing this in future.

Whether he actually does this is no longer in your hands, so it’s important to let go. Depending on the severity of the manipulation (e.g. the child is frightened and suffering immensely), you should then consider with your legal advisor what legal options you have.

Setting boundaries is usually particularly difficult when there are still interdependencies

Quite apart from the child, there may be a few puppet strings with which he can make you dance again and again.

These are likely to be primarily financial.

One mom’s apartment is his own and she still rents it.

Or the problem with the early or late transfer of child maintenance.

Or the shared house, which he either wants to sell or not sell.

Or the private health insurance for the child, which he pays for, but you get the medication and he makes you wait a long time for reimbursement.

In order to protect yourself mentally and free yourself from him, it is your task to gradually release these dependencies.

Every time the thought comes up that you can’t detach yourself from it, please follow it up.

Because that’s mind muck!

The idea that you are dependent on his support and therefore always have to be a love child is simply not true.

You create this dependency yourself – and first and foremost in your head!

Look for examples of other mothers who don’t have this addiction. Let yourself be inspired!

Spoiler: You’ll find plenty of moms like this in the brave moms’ club!

Also talk to experts about how you can cut these liabilities, especially if you think they are particularly tricky.

Afterwards, you will realize how much weight has been lifted from your shoulders!

Immediately afterwards, setting boundaries is twice as much fun…

Do you want to feel confident about managing child hand-offs with your toxic ex?


Your child will also gradually have to learn to set boundaries for themselves

They might learn from you, or you can intentionally guide them in doing so.

However, you must also be able to put up with your child setting boundaries – for example, if they no longer want you to come into their room without knocking, or if they want to play on their own or don’t feel like visiting relatives.

And one more thing:

Being able to set boundaries doesn’t mean being nasty at the same time!

I have to emphasize it again and again – and this is not the first time I have pointed this out – but many people associate the ability to set sovereign boundaries with being “bad” or “harsh” or “rigid”.

Perhaps you once experienced a person who defended a boundary to you quite fiercely and energetically, and you felt rejected or rudely confronted at the time.

Since then, you have found people who vehemently and firmly reject everything that doesn’t suit them to be extremely unappealing.

And you don’t want to be like that.

Sweetheart, let me tell you: That’s not you either!

Can you imagine that there is a happy medium?

That the boundaries that touch and preserve your core values are the absolute and above all fundamental basis for your self-care? That you can feel comfortable with them and not have to worry at all about how they are received by others?

Because you simply know that it doesn’t matter – since you are not only responsible for your child, but first and foremost for yourself?

And still be a good mother?

No one is asking you to express your boundaries loudly, rudely and indignantly in order to be heard

The more calmly and confidently you allow yourself to set boundaries that are important to you, the more powerfully you can set them and the less you invite discussions or even transgressions.

The more shaky your inner conviction that you are allowed to have certain boundaries, the more vague it is for others.

Boundary crossings are then inevitable.

Establishing and defending borders is an eternal game of balance

You learn what is most important to you – and you leave all other topics alone.

You also learn that other people have different values and therefore different boundaries. And you see that this is also okay.

I consider such an attitude to be the basis par excellence for inner peace.

And that’s where you want to go, isn’t it?

Please let me know what you think in the comments below, Sweetheart. Let other moms benefit from your insights. Merci!

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