Victims can learn to set boundaries and may become surprised what can happen when new limits are set. The messaging needs to become that the behavior is no longer acceptable. While victims do not feel courageous or confident after having been emotionally abused, they can take a different action. Victims must take action to change the course, rather than waiting for the other person to change.
Victims can self assess throughout the process. When you do not back down and comply with demands attached with threats, how do you feel? Strong, empowered, confident, hopeful, proud, excited, courageous, assertive, effective, capable? Breaking any behavioral pattern is challenging. Develop a clear vision of what you hope to achieve. Any change will require work, effort, and discomfort, yet this is where growth occurs.
The only way to know if the limit and boundary setting will work is to try it. Forward suggests confronting the manipulator about the behaviors. What could that sound like?
- You are pushing our relationship to the edge.
- You are not taking me seriously when I tell you how unhappy I am.
- We need to find ways to deal with conflicts that do not leave me feeling emotionally abused, worn out, and depleted.
- I always comply – not willing to live like that anymore.
- I need to be treated with respect.
- Let’s talk about it, don’t threaten and punish me.
- I’m not going to tolerate those behaviors anymore.