4 Steps to Setting Boundaries with Narcissists & Toxic People

4 Steps to Setting Boundaries with Narcissists & Toxic People 4 steps to setting boundaries with narcissists & toxic people
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Setting boundaries with toxic people in your life is not an easy thing as they will keep nudging you and violating those boundaries. In fact, it may look impossible to draw those limits when you’re dealing with an abusive person in your life. They know exactly which buttons to press when they want to get to you and some also don’t have the moral qualms on what they can or cannot do when it comes to manipulating you. Some of the buttons they might press are using your kids, your joint property, your family or even threatening you with harm when you try to say no and uphold those boundaries with them.

The most sensitive things in your life are the ones which are being use to make you surrender your boundaries. That’s why you might learn about boundaries but you will still struggle setting and upholding them because the stakes are just too high (like losing child support for your kids). The good thing it, it is still possible to keep boundaries since there’s someone who’s at the center or in control of all this, and that person is not the narcissist or something else, that person is “YOU.”

Boundaries are all about you, your connection and alignment with your loving self. It’s all about your deeply-held values, truths and life. In this article, I am going to share with you the 4 steps you can take that will help you set and uphold boundaries with toxic people in your life.

1. Acknowledge What’s Being Triggered

A narcissist will use what’s already within you to get to you or to make you lower your boundaries. However harsh it may sound, when we’re triggered by the actions of a toxic person, there’s something deep within us we’ve got to look at. They are masters are pushing the buttons or our unhealed wounds which we might have shared with them in the idealization phase of the relationship. They are good at exploiting your vulnerabilities and weaknesses so that they can psychologically torment you to do as they wish.

So, instead of pushing away those painful feelings or being angered by your triggers, just show yourself grace and acknowledge that there is something deep within that needs some healing. The thing is, as long as you interact with a toxic person in your life, you will get triggered because they really know how to use their tongues. You are acknowledging these feelings so that you can use exploit the narcissist to really grow yourself on an inner level. Acknowledging and accepting is a great foundational step to our healing. For example, if they’re threatening to humiliate you in front of your family if you don’t do something for them then look at how you’re feeling deep inside (– are you attaching your worth to how others perceive you?)


2. Heal What’s Being Triggered

Once you’ve acknowledged what’s being triggered, it’s time to go deeper and really address them. This is about taking full responsibility and really doing the inner work so that next time they call you those names or they press those buttons, you’ll just be there laughing and enjoying the moment. One of our greatest vulnerabilities is our unhealed trauma and that’s what provides the best landing for what they say about us.

For example, if we deeply feel unworthy of love because of our past experiences, then when a narcissist mentions something that is triggering, it will scratch what was already there deep within us. A trigger makes an unhealed wound look fresh or brings back those unprocessed traumatic memories.

So, healing will now be about fully processing those unhealed parts within ourselves so that next time you meet a toxic person, their words and actions will not have a soft landing deep within us. With healing, you will see and deeply (not logically) know you’re doing your best. A narcissist will press those buttons that make you lower your boundaries, but what happens when there are no buttons to press? That’s what it means to take full inner responsibility of your healing, clearing the landmines deep within us so that the narcissist will not explode inside us when they step on those boundaries, they will just pass through like the wind.

Going back to our example, if you deeply know you’re worth of love, then what someone says will not even bother you because of your solid foundation. You will not lower your boundaries to prove your worthiness and you don’t even have to prove anything, you just are. Next time you’re triggered, you can ask yourself this, “What is it that was just triggered that I need to heal about myself?”

3. Define Yourself and Set Your Boundaries

Once you are in a loving alignment with yourself and your past is no longer holding you back, then it becomes really easy to have a deep understanding of who you are. When you know who you are, you know that the actions of another doesn’t need to define you. You know what’s within your control is just you and no one else. Unlike before when your definition of who you’re depending on how other people perceived you, you are now firmly rooted in yourself.


You can say “No” when something is not in alignment with your inner peace and it doesn’t feel like a struggle. There’s no huge emotional baggage or feelings of guilt or other negative sensations when you stand for yourself. You can also compromise but not because your buttons have been pressed but just because you want to, you know what’s right for you. It’s all about you fully taking the steering wheel of your life and embodying your deep values and truths. This is how you’ve set your boundaries by deeply understanding yourself.

Actually, you don’t even need to physically write down those boundaries, when you know yourself, they become an imprint of who you are. One useful tip that can help you in this journey is if you have to remind yourself, say every morning, about your boundaries then you can go back to step 1 and still check if there’s still something in there that needs some healing. When you know yourself, you build a solid foundation and there is a certain feeling of ease and assurance that you carry with you. If you also feel and find it really hard to keep those boundaries, then you now go back to step 1 till it starts being easy.

4. Be Willing to Lose It All to Get It All

I love this final step, which I picked from Melanie Tonia Evans, one of my favorite gurus in this narcissistic relationships’ space. I’d highly recommend most of her articles and content, they really penetrate to the deepest level. (check her blog here.)

In this final step, you have to be willing to lose it all to get it all. In short, you have to be willing to lose everything else (even your kids) and choose you. You have to be the kind of person who is willing to lose something or somebody but not themselves. It may sound harsh but that’s how it is. You might still be clinging to that joint property or that ’50–50’ parental arrangement with the narcissist and really fighting for it because you feel that it defines you as a person.

There is no problem with fighting for it but it becomes a problem when you’re not willing to let it go on a deeper level. The narcissist has more tools (manipulation and all) in their arsenal as compared to you, they can use law enforcement, death threats or even corrupt the system just to manipulate you. So, unless you’re willing to really get your hands dirty, fighting with them for those things you’re clinging on to in life may sometime prove futile.

“Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

You just give your all depending on your ability but not at the expense of your inner peace. It’s the actual definition of letting go on a deeper level. If you don’t have this willingness to let it go, it will mean that you’re still putting your boundaries on the line. But when you’re deeply anchored in the truth of who you are and you’ve embraced your wholeness, you will know that you’re dealing with someone who is ‘good’ at what they do and that those externalities don’t need to define you as a person.

When you deeply let go, you will understand that your job, your relationship, your status, your property even your family can be taken away from your but your inner being or your soul will still stand still. A vulnerability that is hardly talked about but one of the most crucial ones is obligation. For example, when you feel obliged to raise your kids in a traditional family unit and you cannot look beyond that then that’s a barrier to you setting boundaries. When you let go, you just love and you drop the obligation (or sense of duty).

(Read my article on parental alienation and what to do about it here)


You can set boundaries with a toxic person if you really go deep enough, deep within you. The most common mistake I see people making is jumping to step 3 (setting boundaries) without actually building a great foundation for those boundaries. They do that a couple of times but they still find themselves letting toxic people back into their lives. You see, boundaries are not a separate thing from you, the quality of your boundaries depends on the quality of who you are.

When you set boundaries without healing, it’s like building a boundary without digging the foundation. It will work briefly but after a few shakes, the walls will crumble. So, start by going inwards, understanding yourself and it will become so easy to live a life where boundaries are just who you are. In conclusion, boundaries are you and you are the boundaries. So, if you’re really struggling with those boundaries, go through the steps and keep refining them till you get to the point where you really feel they are part of you.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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