Is the problem my “poor boundaries”?

Women who have experienced abuse are often told that they do not have good boundaries. If a woman’s partner is abusive, it is unsafe for that woman to have boundaries. Abusive men see boundaries as a threat to their power and control and do everything they can to destruct them.

Perhaps you can recall a time when you said “no” to your partner or tried to set some limit on his actions. What was his reaction? Did he respect that limit? It is very scary to say “no” to an abusive man. It is also dangerous. When you accommodate your partner’s demands, you are looking out for your safety in a very threatening situation.

If you are living with your partner, it is impossible to have boundaries. Even if you are separated, it can be extremely difficult to set up boundaries. What we see women doing, post separation, is trying to build a wall of protection around themselves and their children. They put this protection in place by moving to a different house, changing locks, refusing to talk on the phone, refusing to meet in person etc. But an abusive ex will do everything he can to get through the wall of protection the woman is trying to construct. He will threaten, manipulate or coerce his way through. He will also recruit others to wear down the wall. He may honeymoon others and then have them try to convince you that you “have to communicate” with him in order to “be reasonable” or “for the good of the children”or “to give him hope”.

Abusive men will never respect a boundary or a limit. Boundaries are not the issue, abuse is.