Many of us allow others to treat us in ways that are uncomfortable, unhealthy or disrespectful. We remain silent rather than address our disdain for fear of retribution: what will happen if I speak up? Will I lose my job? Will my best friend get angry with me? Will my family choose to no longer speak to me? Will someone argue with me and tell me I'm wrong for feeling the way I do? There are risks involved whenever we voice our feelings and expect change. Not everyone is eager to accommodate our new requests. Some will argue, coerce or try to manipulate us back into our old patterns. But if we are unhappy and remain silent, we run the risk of becoming angry, bitter, resentful, and possibly explosive. The relationship will suffer and possibly disintegrate unless someone takes action.

All healthy relationships contain guidelines and rules. Boundaries are designed to enable each party to be treated in a way that is comfortable and acceptable to them. We all seek to be treated with dignity and respect. However, those words may have distinctly different meanings to different people. How can one fully know how to treat someone unless that individual tells them? My husband smokes. I do not. I needed to tell him that I did not want him to smoke near me. How could he have known how offensive the smell is to me or my concerns for my health had I not voiced my feelings? He chose to honor my request and in seventeen years it has never been an issue between us

We each have certain rights and responsibilities when setting and enforcing boundaries.

1. Each party has a right to be treated in a manner suitable for them, however different from that of others.
2. One must be crystal clear as to how they expect to be treated.
3. Make certain what you are seeking is fair and reasonable. If not, reconsider your position.
4. As soon as possible, clearly express your boundaries to the other party. Let them know exactly how you want to be treated, and the actions you will take should they choose not to accommodate your request.
5. Be prepared to enforce the consequences and follow through in a timely manner. Expect results. It may take a few reminders but persistence pays off.
6. Respect the boundaries of all parties involved however dissimilar from yours.

The benefits to setting and enforcing healthy guidelines in relationships is that both parties are treated with the dignity and respect that suits them. Unhealthy interactions are limited or removed, stress and anger are mitigated, and there is greater opportunity to simply enjoy one anothers company. Boundaries make for healthier relationships in all areas of life.

For more on boundaries, read The Secret Side of Anger available @

Author's Bio: 

Janet Pfeiffer, international inspirational speaker and award-winning author has appeared on CNN, Lifetime, ABC News, The 700 Club, NBC News, Fox News, The Harvest Show, Celebration, TruTV and many others. She’s been a guest on over 100 top radio shows (including Fox News Radio), is a contributor to Ebru Today TV and hosts her own radio show, Anger 911, on
Janet's spoken at the United Nations, Notre Dame University, was a keynote speaker for the YWCA National Week Without Violence Campaign, and is a past board member for the World Addiction Foundation.
She's a former columnist for the Daily Record and contributing writer to Woman’s World Magazine, Living Solo, Prime Woman Magazine, and N.J. Family. Her name has appeared in print more than 100 million times, including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Alaska Business Monthly and more than 50 other publications.
A consultant to corporations including AT&T, U.S. Army, U.S. Postal Service, and Hoffman-LaRoche, Janet is N.J. State certified in domestic violence, an instructor at a battered women's shelter, and founder of The Antidote to Anger Group. She specializes in healing anger and conflict and creating inner peace and writes a weekly blog and bi-monthly newsletter.
Janet has authored 8 books, including the highly acclaimed The Secret Side of Anger (endorsed by NY Times bestselling author, Dr. Bernie Siegel).
Read what Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author, says of Janet's latest book, The Great Truth; Shattering Life's Most Insidious Lies That Sabotage Your Happiness Along With the Revelation of Life's Sole Purpose:
"Janet dispels the lies and misconceptions many people have lived by and outlines a practical path to an extraordinary life beyond suffering. Written with honesty, clarity, sincerity, and humor, this book serves as a wonderful guide for anyone seeking a more enriching and fulfilling life.”
Dr. Bernie Siegel says, "All books of wisdom are meant to be read more than once. The Great Truth is one such book."