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Setting Boundaries with Difficult People

Have you ever felt like someone doesn’t respect what you say? Although certain people could be defined as difficult, the way you’re handing them might not help the situation. Boundaries help us define rules of relationships. Here are 5 tips for setting strong boundaries.

Setting boundaries with difficult people



About Dr. Julie Hanks, LCSW:
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to TV Shows and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. Her books The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide are now available. Dr. Hanks is currently accepting coaching clients.


Dana Lightman

Love the easy to remember tips on setting boundaries. This is so important for self-worth as well as living a life that is free from resentment. Thanks for the post.

Jen E

I like the analogy of boundaries and agree with the concept. I don’t love the word “difficult.” I think it’s judgmental in assuming that because someone doesn’t agree with me or with my idea of how to do something I can now classify them as “difficult” instead of different. This ideology is what causes so many problems in our Utah culture.


I totally agree with you Jen. The term “difficult” is totally subjective. I meant it more as a description of our own experience with certain people rather than that they “are” difficult. Thanks for your comment!


I really dislike being asked to explain to people who I dont want in my life, why I dont want them in my life. Apparently, if i was being assertive, I would tell them that. But then it just creates another hook for them to “discuss the story” with me. And then I can never get rid of them again. I seem to get caught in a trap of feeling like I need to come up with a “good enough” explanation when I just want to give none. So that it cant be argued back with. And I also don’t want to feel like I was too blunt.

And I also felt extremely frustrated with a certain guy who used to contradict what I said, consistently. He would say: “You DONT feel annoyed by my frequent phone calls, you look forward to them”. “You DONT feel cold, you feel hot”. etc, and then he would just stop talking, and wait for me to say something else, so he could contradict that too. I bit my tongue and hanged up, and was thankfully moving house, and he never found me again. But I still feel frustrated when i think about it, and I would still be interested to know something effective to say (verballly) that would have made him lose interest in me.

Assertiveness training, is only to be used on people who I DO want in my life, not for people I dont want in my life. If there is a snake on my door step I wont try to kill it, I will phone wild life rescue to remove it. And if there is a potential stalker on my door step now, I wont try to argue with them, I will involve the police.

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