A recovering Nice Guy wrote:
"As I have experienced and read, defending or explaining yourself makes you look and feel weak. It also takes away the opportunity to have fun with humor.
So where does standing up for yourself and not ever letting anyone treat you badly come in?
How do you set this boundary without making it seem that you're "taking it serious" or that it affected your mood? How do you punish bad behavior? It seems that some indirect smart-ass answer (positive and humorous) would be the best.
Any guidance of how to learn this skill?"
Boundaries are a significant issue for most Nice Guys. I dedicated an entire chapter in No More Mr. Nice Guy to the subject.
Personally, I had never even heard of boundaries until I was in my 30s, on my second marriage, and had a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy.
Here’s the issue. As children, we were small and big people could do whatever they wanted to us, and we couldn’t stop them. Therefore, it felt normal to feel helpless as other people used us, neglected us, or treated us badly.
Unfortunately, the people who often treated us the worst were the very people who were put on this planet with the job of taking care of us. This led to two things.
First, most of us grew up having no clue what personal boundaries were, much less, how to set and maintain them.
Second, we came to associate “love” with being treated badly. As I often say, “It felt normal to put up with shit to get love.”
In general, Nice Guys carry both of these issues into their adult relationships and general interactions.
Here are the two primary rules of boundary setting:
Boundaries are not about getting anyone else to be different. They are about getting us to be different.
The only power we have to set a boundary is determined by our willingness and ability to remove ourselves.