Dealing with your inner roller coaster. Graceful words for Powerful Boundaries.

Ever thought of the perfect thing to say in a tough situation….about a year later?

Me, too.

One thing that I have always found missing in those gnarly times when our boundaries have been violated is a good script, allowing us access to the right words, to hold our own in those moments.

As I have worked with clients, we have done just that.  We have created scripts, using words they are comfortable with, for those times when they are thrown off kilter by someone who is “pushing their envelope”, repeatedly.

These scripts are always based on two internal questions:

1.  “What’s true, FOR ME?”

2. “How can I express or act on that truth effectively, netting the desired result, without feeling like the “bad guy/bitch”?

For those instantaneous incendiary moments…..when all your inner fire alarms are clanging, and your head is doing the “Linda Blair” swirl…..doesn’t that sound calm and powerful?  It’s also do-able with some practice.

Here are some “script questions” to tuck away:

1.  To others, say…..”I was not expecting that.”  OR “That surprises me.” Period. 

Then, wait for their response.  Rather than trying to find ways to defend yourself and feel even more off kilter, you will be holding THEM responsible for their actions/requests rather than biting the bad apple you have just been served….do not enter the arena with them.

2.  Another thing to say…..”Could you tell me more?”  Again, you are giving yourself some breathing room while making them responsible for more clarity.

3.  Still another is….”I would love to _____________(help, support you, try that, etc) but right now, that doesn’t work for me”.  Period, again.

4.  OR, “I’m not sure what to say.” 

5.  OR, “Could I get back to you on that?  When do you need to know something.”

By the way, this does not mean holding things in.  It’s about accessing all the feelings, and rather than being stuck in the outrage, roaring right on into your own personal power—-knowing that you have the tools to harness the fury into something that really works for YOU.

The only way to set a proper boundary and not feel like a total bitch in the process… to find the words that nip THE THING in the bud (or is it butt?). When we don’t have access to the healthy boundary words we need in the moment, we raise our voices or we say things we regret—-like “YES!”  Or, we say things we really feel with no filter whatsoever.   Then we end up apologizing, for OUR behavior, and allow the other person’s behavior to get a “pass”.

Then, because we feel guilty, we end up doing the very thing with the very people we don’t want to spend our time, money or energy dealing with.  Once again our boundaries are out the window, with the baby and the bath water.

Don’t bite. Put your boundary words in your phone as a reminder….keeping them close by at the first spark of irritation.

Easier said than done?

Let me give you a real-world example.

A friend of mine entered into a contract for the sale of her house recently.  When the deal was made, she, very clearly and specifically, said she could not close for 120 days. Her move to another state, simultaneously closing out her home and her long-term career had many logistical, financial, and emotional components to deal with.   Everyone was good with that—and agreed to “the last week of the month” at the end of the 120 days, for a closing.

The buyers had not pre-qualified for a mortgage, so they had to obtain financing within a certain period of time to make the deal a solid “GO”.  They had 4 weeks to arrange for this.  In a volatile real estate market, this could potentially turn out badly for her. What if their financing was NOT approved?  She would have waited, with a “PENDING” sign slapped over her FOR SALE sign, keeping others from any interest in looking.

Those prickles of irritation were sending pinging rivulets down her back.

So, she (1)checked out what was true for her. She was willing to trust these people.  They were putting a large sum down, with the contract—which would be painful to lose if the sale did not go through, and her “gut” also said “go for it.”  So, feeling the fear and the accompanying irritation…..but moving past it, she decided (2)what terms would work for her in this situation while waiting on the buyers to qualify for financing.  She reiterated the importance of the long-term closing which would give her the time and energy needed to make the move without a frantic pace. Time passed.  She organized and planned. Things were coming together including a commitment to a new home in another state.

Then, several days AFTER the deadline, no one had contacted her about the buyer’s mortgage being approved. Uh Oh.

Fear, panic, irritation turning into anger.  Now, she found herself doing the legwork to get clarification about the mortgage, which no one had bothered to monitor for her—not her realtor or her attorney…both of whom were making the fees and commissions off the sale of her house.  Numerous phone calls, were made and messages left……only to be told ,”well, everyone is busy….it’s close to a weekend….people are on vacation…..the attorney is not in”.

Let’s throw a bit more gas on the fire.  After the initial meeting with HER attorney, only his assistant seemed to be available now.  No access to him and more Blah. Blah. Blah.  Technically, the deadline date for the financing had passed with no notice.  If she really wanted to show them a thing or two, she could legally say, “NO DEAL” and keep their hefty earnest money check.  But, then where would that get her?

Ever felt that way?  You’ve held up YOUR end of the bargain, only to get the run around, or the “who gives a s@#*!t” attitude in return?

Another twist occurred when she finally received word of the financing being approved. It had actually happened quickly, but with a stipulation of only a 30 days window to guarantee the rate. Now, THEY began insisting on an earlier close.  Because of HER, they might lose the great rate they had been quoted.

Ever accommodate someone else’s incompetency or lack of integrity?  How did it make you feel?  Railroaded?  Disrespected?  Powerless?  Furious?

And, here’s the kicker for us girls.  Were you still afraid of looking like “The Bitch on Wheels” if you called them on THEIR behavior, messing with your life?

Ditto with my friend.

So we used the process I described above:

1.  She asked: What’s true for me?

What was true is that she had clearly and repeatedly stated what WOULD work for her to close and move out. She had been reasonable, responsible, and consistently CLEAR about what she needed to make the deal work for her.

2.  What do I need to say/do to express that truth, without feeling defensive or like somehow “I am the BAD guy/bitch?

Being too angry to talk at this point, she decided to quietly and powerfully stick to her guns with an email.

That email went something like this:

“Although I would have considered a change in the closing date, had I been made aware of the early acceptance of your mortgage, the best plan now, is to honor the original contract which we all agreed to.”


Graceful and powerful.  Boundaries. The truth. Your truth. Undefended.

“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying YES too quickly and not saying NO soon enough.”   Josh Billings






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