Setting Boundaries & Teen Dating Violence
“You hem me in, behind and before and you lay your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:4
God is the author of boundaries. He creates them for our protection. As you grow in independence and develop relationships, it’s important you create healthy boundaries with people. Here are a few truths about boundaries.
- Boundaries define what your property is – physically, mentally and emotionally. It defines what is yours. You have control over your body, mind, and heart.
- Boundaries protect you. They keep the good in and the bad out. They establish the rules of the yard for your life and person. You have the right to say “No” to others who violate your boundaries. You have control over how others treat you physically, emotionally and mentally.
- You have control and choice over what boundaries you set. You deserve to be valued, respected and free to be yourself.
- In any relationship, you have the right to be treated with respect. In romantic relationships, this means your date or boyfriend:
⁃ Is willing to compromise.
⁃ Allows you to feel comfortable being yourself.
⁃ Is able to admit being wrong.
⁃ Tries to resolve conflict in healthy, appropriate ways.
⁃ Is honest with you.
⁃ Respects your feelings and opinions.
⁃ Respects your family and friends.
⁃ Accepts when you say “no” to things you don’t want to do.
⁃ Accepts you changing your mind.
⁃ Respects the boundaries you set.
⁃ Respects your wishes if you want to end the relationship.
These are basic rights of any relationship. If you’re in a relationship and your boyfriend doesn’t accept the boundaries you set, those are red flags that the relationship isn’t healthy and that you’re in danger for physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse. Here are more warning signs of being in an unhealthy, harmful relationship.
⁃ He says he can’t live without you.
⁃ He breaks things to intimidate you.
⁃ He threatens to hurt himself if you break up.
⁃ He pressures you into any type of sexual behavior by saying, “If you love me, you will….”
⁃ He humiliates you and belittles your opinion.
⁃ He is jealous or possessive about the time you spend with friends.
⁃ He’s constantly checking up on you, texting you, asking where you are and what you are doing.
⁃ He wants your relationship to get serious too quickly, and he refuses to take “no” for an answer.
⁃ You’re frightened of him and worry about how he’ll react to the things you say or do.
⁃ When he gets angry, he calls you names, kicks, hits or pushes you.
⁃ He wants you to be available to him at all times.
⁃ He forces you to choose to be with him over family or friends.
⁃ He makes you feel afraid to express your thoughts or feelings, to make decisions about where to go, what to wear, or who to hang out with.
⁃ He constantly threatens to break up with you or accuses you of planning to break up with him.
⁃ He insults you in front of your friends or peers.
⁃ He physically hurts you.
⁃ He doesn’t respect boundaries you set for sexual behavior regardless if it’s through texting, social media, photos or in person.
If you’re in a relationship where any of these boundaries are crossed, seek help with a trusted friend, adult or a professional.
Written by Brenda Yoder