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Protect Your Peace from Toxic Relationships

What does it mean to protect your peace?

Protecting your peace means caring for and safeguarding your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self – in ways that you define for yourself. Protecting your peace is a personal journey, where ultimately you make the decisions and set boundaries for yourself that you determine to be in your own best interests.

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is a way to create a peaceful life. Our boundaries are a way we honor our own needs, goals, feelings, and values. Think of boundaries as guidelines to live by that only you can define. As we grow and change, our boundaries will too. Boundaries are meant to keep us safe and feel respected.

Boundaries are based on your relationship with yourself, so only you can set your boundaries. There are many different types of boundaries, like emotional, physical, spiritual, financial or digital. Some examples of boundaries can be:

  • I’m ok with listening to you telling me how you’re feeling, but I don’t want to talk about my feelings right now.
  • I’m ok with having sex, but I want to use a condom and a dental dam.
  • I need to go to church every week, and I won’t skip a week if I can’t help it.
  • I’m ok with giving you $5 this time, but I won’t give you an extra $20.
  • We can follow each other on social media, but I won’t give anybody my login information.

Don’t know what your boundaries are? Practice setting them and adjusting them when needed. Think about what you are ok with and what you are not.

Respecting boundaries

Every person has the right to change their own boundaries at any time. This includes yourself, your parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins and even your romantic or sexual partner(s). Boundaries play a very big part in creating healthy relationships with ourselves and others. Healthy boundaries let you be YOU and allow each person to protect their own peace.

Overstepping Boundaries

Sometimes, people will overstep your personal boundaries intentionally or even try to change your boundaries. This might indicate a toxic relationship – when someone is trying to control or hurt you.

Below are the same boundaries shared before. See what overstepping these boundaries might look like:

  • I’m ok with listening to you telling me how you’re feeling, but I don’t want to talk about my feelings right now.
    • Overstepping: “I told you how I feel, you must be feeling the same way.”
  • I’m ok with having sex, but I want to use a condom and a dental dam.
    • Overstepping: “You don’t actually think we should use a condom, do you? I don’t think you mean that.”
  • I need to go to church every week, I won’t skip a week if I can’t help it.
    • Overstepping: “I don’t want you to go to church, because I’ll miss you. Skip for me.”
  • I’m ok with giving you $5 this time, but I won’t give you an extra $20.
    • Overstepping: “He gave me $20, so you need to give me $20 too.”
  • We can follow each other on social media, but I won’t give anybody my login information.
    • Overstepping: “You might be cheating on me, give me your login information, so I can check your social media.”

What Can You Do if Someone Oversteps Your Boundaries?

When someone oversteps your boundaries, it’s ok to tell that person what they are doing and tell them to stop. If you feel safe enough and that person is important to you, you can show them how to respect your personal boundary.

Keep in mind though that some people will refuse to respect your boundaries. In this case, it is your responsibility to protect your peace. Not everyone is meant to walk with us on our life journey. You deserve to surround yourself with loving people who respect your needs, goals, feelings, and values. Remember, you are the expert of your own experience, and only you have the power to create or change your personal boundaries. Trust in yourself!

When to Reach Out

Relationships can be challenging to navigate sometimes, especially a potentially toxic relationship where a friend, family member, or someone else is trying to control or hurt you.

If you think you might have toxic behaviors or that you are in a toxic or abusive relationship, consider talking with a trusted adult. Talking to a trusted adult- such as a counselor, uncle, auntie, or teacher- can give you the opportunity to learn healthier relationship skills, so you can live in a way that aligns with your values.

Are you or a friend feeling unsafe in a relationship? If so, consider checking out the resources below on getting help.

This page was informed by information from loveisrespect.org

Additional Resources

Getting Help

  • Alaska 211 – Call 211 or visit the website here for help finding resources in your community.
  • Alaska’s Careline – 24/7 crisis line. Available by:
    • Calling 1-877-266-4357 (HELP)
    • Texting ‘HELP’ at 839863; from 3pm – 11pm Tues-Saturday AKST
    • App is available for download on Google Play/App Store
  • Crisistextline.org – by text
  • StrongHearts Native Helpline -1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483), you can connect anonymously with a Native advocate
  • Loveisrespect.org teen dating abuse helpline – by text, live chat, or by calling 866-331-9474
  • If you need advice from a trained counselor, consider texting the word “NATIVE” to 741741. You will be immediately connected with a crisis counselor. Don’t hesitate to reach out. All support and resources shared will remain confidential. Plus, there is no cost to you.

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