If someone does these 9 things, they’re deliberately trying to push your boundaries

Eliza Hartley by Eliza Hartley | May 20, 2024, 8:37 pm

There’s a fine line between challenging someone and pushing their boundaries.

The difference lies in respect. Challenging someone is about inspiring growth, while pushing boundaries often disregards personal comfort zones.

In this article, I’m going to share with you nine telltale signs that someone is intentionally crossing your lines. Knowledge is power, so let’s arm ourselves with understanding.

1) They dismiss your feelings

Respect for someone’s emotions is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship.

When someone brushes off your feelings or makes light of them, it’s a clear sign that they’re pushing your boundaries. This sort of behavior is not just about belittling your experiences, it’s also about making you second guess your own feelings.

Think about it. They’re creating a narrative where your reactions or emotions are ‘over the top’ or ‘irrational’, thereby undermining your confidence and making it easier for them to cross your boundaries.

This tactic is subtle and often leaves you feeling guilty or confused. But understanding this sign is the first step towards protecting yourself from such manipulative behavior.

Stand firm and trust in your own emotional responses.

2) They pressure you into decisions

We all know that feeling when we’re backed into a corner, right?

When someone is trying to force us into making a decision we’re not comfortable with.

I remember an incident with a friend who was always in a hurry. He would always rush me into decisions, whether it was deciding where to eat or what movie to watch. He’d say, “Come on, make up your mind!” It made me feel like my opinions and thoughts weren’t valued.

This is classic boundary-pushing. It’s an attempt to control the situation by rushing you into making a decision before you can fully process the situation or your feelings about it. It’s a way of enforcing their will over yours.

It’s okay to take your time and make choices at your own pace.

3) They constantly test your limits

Just like a child testing the boundaries set by their parents, some people get a thrill from seeing how far they can push you.

Did you know that in psychology, this behavior is referred to as ‘push-pull’? It’s a manipulation tactic where the person pushes your boundaries and then pulls back when you react, only to push again once you’ve calmed down. It’s a vicious cycle designed to keep you off balance.

This constant testing can be exhausting and stressful. If someone is always pushing your buttons or crossing lines just to see your reaction, they’re deliberately trying to push your boundaries. Recognize this pattern for what it is and don’t be afraid to call them out on it.

4) They make you feel guilty

Guilt is a powerful tool when used manipulatively.

Ever been in a situation where someone made you feel guilty for not agreeing to their demands or not living up to their expectations? That’s them pushing your boundaries.

They might say things like, “After all I’ve done for you, can’t you do this one thing for me?” or “If you really cared about me, you would… “. These are classic guilt-tripping statements intended to make you question your own feelings and actions.

Remember, it’s okay to say no. You don’t owe anyone anything at the expense of your own comfort and well-being.

5) They ignore your ‘no’

“No” is a complete sentence, and it’s one that everyone should respect.

However, if you find someone consistently ignoring or dismissing your ‘no’, whether it’s for small requests or larger decisions, they’re demonstrating a clear lack of respect for your boundaries.

Try to spot when your ‘no’ is being ignored. For example, you say you can’t hang out because you’re tired but they keep insisting, or you decline a work assignment because you’re swamped and they still pile it on.

Ignoring your ‘no’ is not just rude, it’s an attempt to undermine your autonomy.

6) They belittle your accomplishments

There’s something incredibly hurtful about sharing a moment of joy or achievement, only to have it diminished or belittled by someone else.

Perhaps you’ve experienced this, when you’re excited about a promotion, or a personal milestone, and the person instead of celebrating with you, downplays your achievement or changes the subject.

By belittling your accomplishments, they’re trying to make you feel small and insignificant. It’s a tactic that undermines your self-confidence and self-worth.

Your achievements are worth celebrating. Don’t let anyone take that joy away from you.

7) They use sarcasm or ‘jokes’ to insult you

Humor can be a mask for hurtful comments. I’ve been there, where someone would make a ‘joke’ at my expense and then brush it off as just messing around.

These ‘jokes’ would often be about my appearance or my choices, leaving me feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable. But because they were framed as humor, it was difficult to protest without seeming overly sensitive.

The person hides behind the guise of humor to deliver insults, making it hard for you to call out their behavior without appearing to lack a sense of humor.

You have every right to stand up against this kind of behavior.

8) They invade your personal space

Physical boundaries are just as important as emotional ones.

If someone consistently invades your personal space – standing too close, touching you without your permission, or entering your personal belongings without asking – they’re clearly disrespecting your boundaries.

This disregard for your personal space is not just uncomfortable, but it’s also a sign of a larger issue. It indicates their willingness to override your comfort for their own desires.

Recognize this behavior for what it is. Don’t hesitate to remind them of your comfort zones and expect them to respect it.

9) They make you responsible for their happiness

The weight of someone else’s happiness should never be on your shoulders.

If someone makes you feel like it’s your job to keep them happy, to meet all their needs and wants at the expense of your own, they’re pushing your boundaries. You are not responsible for anyone’s happiness but your own.

It’s an unfair burden to place on anyone. Don’t forget this, everyone is responsible for their own emotions and well-being. Don’t let anyone make you believe otherwise.

Final thoughts: It’s about respect

The essence of respecting boundaries is deeply intertwined with the fundamental principle of respect for others.

Renowned psychologist, Fritz Perls, once said, “I do my thing and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, And you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you, and I am I.”

This quote encapsulates the essence of personal boundaries. It’s about understanding that each person is unique, with their own needs, desires, and limits.

When someone consistently pushes your boundaries, it’s a clear indication of a lack of respect for your individuality. It’s an attempt to mold you into what they want or need, rather than accepting you as you are.

Recognizing this behavior is the first step towards protecting your boundaries and preserving your self-respect.

So, as we navigate our relationships, let’s strive to respect each other’s boundaries while standing firm in our own – because at the end of the day, we are all unique individuals deserving of respect.