A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

What to Say When Setting Up Boundaries (a reblog from Give Her Wings)

Setting boundaries can be especially called for over the Christmas period when family gatherings and end-of-year parties are happening. Our friend Megan C shares some good suggestions for words to use when you want to state your boundaries.


When you are learning of your intrinsic worth as a child of God, created in His image, here are some (hopefully) helpful words that aid in creating boundaries when you just don’t know what to say. I know that, at times, I just didn’t know what to say. I knew I needed as much toxicity out of my life as possible but I lacked the words. If you struggle with this, as well, read on:

When you need to go low-contact with someone who is friends with or is related to someone who is hurting you: “I am still healing and, while I appreciate your kindness, I am needing to take a break from relationships that remind me of the hurt that I experienced. Thank you for understanding that I just need some time away. Things will probably change at some point. I appreciate your graciousness.”

When you need someone to stop meddling: “Thank you for wanting to help me. I know your heart is in the right place. But, I need you to allow me to handle this with my (church, parents, ex husband) and God alone. Thank you for understanding that I need you to just be my friend and not my counselor. I do not want to talk about this (abusive) situation with you anymore.”

When you need to go no-contact: “Do not contact me again. Do not call, text, email me or message me on FB.”

(Please note that we do not need to be polite with people who are harassing us or crossing over boundaries repeatedly. Sadly, people who do not respect you, nor your boundaries, do not understand being gracious. You must be clearer than clear.)

When people ask you personal questions: “I’m not comfortable answering that.” (repeat, as necessary)

When people push themselves onto your children: “Please do not contact my children again in any way.” Period. Protect those little lambs! Remember, God has made you to be their mother and you and God know what is best for them.

You know that feeling you have after you have shared something that you did not mean to share and made you uncomfortable? Pay attention to that. That means that healthy boundaries have been crossed and your self-respect has gone quite a bit down, which aids in a downward spiral. You do not have to allow this to happen, loved ones. Stand tall . . . .  look people in the eye and say what needs to be said. Gentle and firm boundary-setting will aid in healing your self-respect. And you are to be respected, friends. You are so worth being respected.

Brothers and sisters . . . . remember that if people do not respect your boundaries, they probably never will. And taking a “time out” from said people is not sinful. Take heart! Someday, you will be asked to go back down to minister to people who are hurting and who have been hurtful but you will be strong in the Lord by that time. You will be able to bear the insults and pain, eventually. And it won’t matter, anymore. Because your worth will be defined by your Shepherd, the Lover of Your Soul. But, until then . . . boundaries.




The full post can be found here [Internet Archive link].



  1. Tess

    what a very wise post.

    Thank you Megan

  2. Anonymous

    Not hard to figure out when we are approached and ‘questioned’ who sincerely has our best interest at heart and really does seek to convey love and support, versus those who oftentimes as a result of their own shallow lives just want sordid details so as to engage in gossip. They insult our intelligence to believe we do not know the difference.

    How amazing it feels as we respond while standing tall and making good eye contact along with a “God-honoring I am of royal lineage countenance”.

    Thanks, Megan, for shedding light on dignified responses we can have as we set those NEEDED boundaries!

  3. Cher

    Thank you for this. I had to do this in the past and did use clear language. For me, it wasn’t an option to be friendly. I just felt that if I was, it would be a pathway into my life again, and I just needed to cut ties in order to heal. I also didn’t realize that I would need to temporarily cut ties with some people who reminded me of the trauma I experienced. It’s weird to feel that because I had never had to put those kinds of boundaries up before..at least, I never realized that I did because I didn’t used to respect and value myself as I do now. Thank you for this great reminder.

  4. May God Bring Justice

    Excellent! Just what I needed to hear. Thank you for encouraging boundaries.

  5. Rebecca Davis

    Wonderful. I’m forwarding to some friends. Thank you, Megan.

  6. Scared momma

    Struggling this week. Things are finally over with divorce but it did not go well for kids. GAL was a strong Allie for ex. Pretty much gave dad everything he wanted. He even tried to get statement in plan that kids could only be exposed to Catholic Church, because he knows they listen to Ps Crippen’s sermons. Kids pissed at me for settling. Really upsetting that once again I am at fault for what he has done.

    I’m having to put up strong boundaries with kids that I’m not comfortable with, but if I don’t I might have well stayed. I’m having to insist they all go together. If I don’t it will quickly turn in to I get all the responsibility, the sick kid, the upset kid that can’t deal with him, and he get only play time with the kid he wants that day. I am particularly worried about youngest being alone with him. She is same age as other were when he started to have problems with him being in their beds and started with the verbal abuse. He is already plotting ways to get her alone. He will upset other kids so they insist on coming home, so he can have her all alone. GAL did set up some boundaries, but he is already making excuses why he will need to break them. Isn’t it ok if he is in there rooms playing. He needs to check if they are safe. He is quickly disabling the boundaries that kids already were having a hard time maintaining.

    He is supposed to be doing minimal contact with me, and only via our family wizard, which was suppose to be monitored by GAL. That isn’t happening. All kinds of excuses to text / call me. Kids need a book, he does know how to enter things. I don’t think it is ever going to end.

    Prayers that he moves on. Although, I feel guilt to wish him on someone else. Prayer that kids have the strength to stand firm and that GAL sees ex for what he is, a wolf in sheeps clothing

    • aarrrggh
      (that is a shorthand way of saying I feel for you!)

  7. Anotheranon

    Great post and a good reminder. I usually don’t guard my remarks since I want to be honest about everything and then I just naturally talk too much. I have learned as time goes by to tell myself “just keep your mouth shut!” If people don’t have the information to start with they can’t hurt you with it.
    Sometimes even your friends and people you know you can trust don’t need any extra information. It saves potential embarrassment in the long run.
    (After all the Lord knows our situation and isn’t that the best Person to know it?)

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