“Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do.” ~Rachel Wolchin
As an empath, you’re a giver. Often, you give more than you should, and often beyond what you can. Trust me, I get it.
As we both know, that leads to becoming a people-pleaser – and before you know it, you’re overwhelmed with toxic “emotional vampires” – also known as narcissists. The worst part is that even when you clear all the toxic people out of your life, chances are that at least every now and again, you’ll meet someone who tests your patience. You know the type I mean – those people you just need to enforce your boundaries with, or they’ll overwhelm you.
Often your body will start sending you signals that this person isn’t respecting your boundaries, but sometimes you can be so preoccupied with wondering if they’ll like you or not, that you can miss the cues. If you start feeling uncomfortable, here are seven signs that you need to up your boundary work and protect yourself from other people’s egos.
1. You feel exhausted. Egocentric people (toxic narcissists) don’t respect other people’s boundaries. They are exhausting to be with as all they do is take, take, take. If you have to have contact with someone who makes you feel like this, manage the time and place, so your exposure is limited, or you can share the energy suck with someone else, a friend, family member or colleague.
2. You feel angry and resentful. When your boundaries aren’t respected, you end up feeling angry and resentful because someone is taking advantage of you. Does this person always cancel at the last minute or ask you to pick up their child or do the monthly project report? Do they take all the credit and do little or none of the work? Time to stand up for yourself and draw some lines in the sand.
3. You feel defensive. Is your boundary predator always finding fault or criticizing you? Do you constantly feel on the defensive? People who don’t respect boundaries make themselves feel better by criticizing others. Don’t fall for this, it’s abusive, and you don’t have to put up with it.
4. You feel you can’t refuse. It’s easy to end up in a position where you feel you can’t say no. And once you establish that pattern, it’s hard to refuse. But it’s always ok to say no, it’s always a choice available to you. Unless it’s an emergency, you are perfectly entitled to refuse to do anything you don’t want to do. End of story.
5. Is your body trying to tell you something? Notice how your body reacts when you’re around a manipulative or gaslighting person.
- Does your stomach tighten?
- Are your palms sweaty?
- Is your mouth dry and your heart racing?
Your body is signaling that this person isn’t safe to be around. Put yourself first and get out of there! Pay attention to the cues you’re being given and keep those boundaries strong.
Need help keeping your boundaries in check? Check out my free ebook and mini-course and start changing your life now.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.