People put up No Trespassing signs on their property all the time. They do it to keep unwanted people and behavior away from them and off what belongs to them. They do it to protect themselves, their loved ones and their property. Are they mean for doing so? I don't think so. Putting a fence around your house sends the same message without the obvious sign. Boundaries are like invisible No Trespassing signs. Difficult people often hop the fence and create a mess once they're on the other side. They are as destructive as the worst natural disaster. They bring destruction and they'll keep coming back, at least as long as you let them.
If you've spent anytime in a loving family or in church, you know that loving people is important. But what about the difficult ones? There are many teachings that say we love them where they're at. We continue to have close relationship with them at all cost. Today, I'm shedding some light on that ridiculous belief system and giving you some tips on how to "deal" with difficult people.
We are called to love, yes. We are not called to be door mats for abusive or emotionally sick people. If you have some one in your life that hurts you, leaves you feeling drained, discourages you, is flat-out mean, uses you to dump their problems on then it's time to love them from a distance. Sometimes it's more subtle. You may leave an encounter with them feeling unsettled or down on yourself or life. There are seasons where our friends need us to be there but if you become their counselor or they tell you what you need to do and that is your relationship. They need to pay for therapy and you need to be your own person. It's ok to get and give advice but not at every interaction.
Your first step is to spend some quiet time and identify who it is if you don't already know. Ask God to help you. Forgive them so you can move forward. Forgiveness is a decision. It's between you and God. Forgiveness does not mean you have to continue to let them treat you poorly or even remain friends with them.
Set boundaries. If you're not sure what healthy boundaries are or how to set them, I highly recommend reading Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I think everyone should have a copy of this book. Boundaries are like fences. We set them up around us to teach people how we want to be treated. You will be amazed at how many people will get mad at you when you start setting healthy boundaries. The key word is healthy. If you're not sure, learn and then apply.
If the person refuses to respect your boundaries, you're still feeling drained, etc, it's time to love them from a distance. Let them watch you from the other side of the street so to speak. You can end relationships, it's ok. It does not make you a bad person. It makes you a healthy person. You can remove people from your inner circle to the outer circle and still love them in a healthy manner. Again, finding health is key. Enabling is not healthy love, people pleasing is not healthy love. You're loving them from a distance now because they are unhealthy and they are causing you to lose your peace, health, etc.
You're worth it!