Toxic Tuesday: Learn 4 Simple Phrases For Setting Boundaries

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

“She dresses herself with strength.” Proverbs 31:17

There is a way to remain strong and to thrive despite interacting with a difficult person. It isn’t easy because when you’re in the middle of relational turmoil, or are receiving a verbal lashing, it can be challenging to keep your thoughts straight.  Thinking quickly typically does not happen. If you’re like me, you have to think about and pray about the situation before acting, speaking or setting a boundary. Having a plan of action in advance will safeguard you and will be beneficial to the other person. Often the difficult person has a tough time with self-control and your boundary can help them keep an emotional, or verbally abusive, outburst from erupting.

Does your D.P. (difficult person) keep asking the same questions over and over? Do they refuse your answer and creativelykeep-calm-and-have-boundaries find another avenue to demand the response or resolution they desire? Do you continually hope for an agreement? Do you long to be rationally understood?

Disagreements abound. There may be several answers or opinions to a subject but not to your D.P. To them it is black and white and their way or opinion is the only correct one. Do not waste your time arguing. Perhaps using, “That is your opinion” repetitively will soon keep your D.P. from attempting to overtake you on the matter again. It isn’t that your D.P. forgets the previous conversation you had on the topic. It is that your D.P. is attempting to wear you down. “That is your opinion,” used consistently will remind your D.P. the ‘wear them down’ tactic is no longer a working strategy to be used against you. I’m not saying they will not continue to try, I’m saying, “That is your opinion,” is a gentle reminder to them that this conversation is going nowhere. This also shows them that you are keeping your opinion and your dignity.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

Although your reply will not be received as gentle it is working in a gentler way than their argumentative words fired at you from a flaming tongue.

Is the topic to which you have already given an answer being approached—again?  Think about this response, “I am not discussing this with you.” Any time your D.P. brings up the topic in hopes of receiving a different answer from you; remember this easy phrase. You will most likely have to say it several times as long as this person stays in your life.

“Say just a simple ‘Yes, I will’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Your word is enough.”  Matthew 5:37 (Living Bible)

If your D.P. likes to make decisions for you or give you orders but they are not an authority figure, “That’s not what I was thinking” or “That’s not what I had in mind,” are examples of good phrases to learn. After your D.P. has heard the same phrase multiple times they will remember the boundary before trying to cross it again.

If your life is in danger or you think these responses could place your life in danger use your good judgment and refrain from possibly making the situation worse. If you are in danger please leave immediately and seek help. In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships and a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse. Focus on the Family offers a one-time complimentary consultation from a Christian perspective; CLICK HERE FOR LINK. Focus on the Family also offer referrals for licensed counselors in your area: CLICK HERE FOR LINK. 

If you are dealing with an individual suffering from narcissistic personality disorder they will never tire of attempting to wear you down. They are not able to see your point of view; they are not capable of empathizing, loving or bonding. They are users who recruit people for close relationship who can be used for a specific purpose to improve their existence, provide a cover for something they don’t want others to find out about them, or to meet an unhealthy desire.  Maybe you have recently come to this realization about someone in your life. Although you may see this and know this, the most maddening part of it is that no one on the outside sees it. That is because a narcissist lives their life on a stage acting out the role they think the other person wants to see. They are the grandest actors you could ever have the disadvantage of being with in any type of relationship.

Here is a very important character trait to remember when dealing with a narcissist: Self-control. Although telling them how you feel or giving them a verbal reprimand may feel good to you; when it is all said and done you will soon realize it was wasted time, emotion, words, energy and thoughts because not one word of it will be taken seriously or to heart. In the end this will further frustrate you. A narcissist has no point of reference other than him/her.

I had to be reminded on countless occasions to remember I wasn’t dealing with a true adult; I was interacting with a toddler trapped in an adult body. So if you find yourself in this situation while looking straight into the eyes of the person—remember:

toddler 2
This toddler is not capable of grasping the issue
toddler 5
They do not realize they should be interested in your feelings. They don’t know you have feelings; nor do they care if you do..
toddler 4
They want to celebrate their specialness!
toddler 1
They did not do it. You can’t prove they did it. They will never admit to doing it. After all, even if they did do it—it’s not really who they are. So…NO…, “I did not do it!”
toddler 6
The vague, blank stare when you dare to have meaningful conversation about something other than them, their idea, their opinion, or their needs.
toddler 3
This is how they feel if you try to express your concerns, needs, victories, wants, ideas, or opinions.

These lessons have been hard experiences I have lived through, learned from, and I am still studying.  I learn from spending time in prayer and Bible study; as well as, from spending time with emotionally and spiritually healthy people. If you make time for Jesus, through prayer and Bible study, and invite Him into all areas of your life; you will never regret it or think, “That was time wasted.”  Never.

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 (NIV)

Most likely the issue with your D.P. is control. These personalities long to have power over other people but now that you are on to them, you can set up safe and healthy boundaries to protect yourself and your loved ones. You will recognize the behavior when you see it and not be caught off guard. I remember the feeling when I finally began to recognize it.

Your, “Ah hah” moment is coming!

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31: 25-26 (NIV)

Most importantly, practice I Corinthians 13:2, “but (if I) have not love, I am nothing.”  (ESV)

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  I Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)


1.)  That is your opinion.

2.)  I am not discussing this with you.

3.)  That’s not what I was thinking.

4.)  That’s not what I had in mind.

Published by Carolyn Deevers's my spiritual superpower for surviving crises and complicated relationships. Here is where I share stories...or at least the ones I can tell you about. ;-)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: