Free Webinar: Loving Your Life After Divorce | Join us February 27 at Noon EST |   REGISTER NOW

Ep. 9 – Setting Clear External Boundaries

In the last episode, we talked internal boundaries, the ones we set for ourselves. Today, we’re setting external boundaries, meaning boundaries with others. How many of us need help in this area? In this episode, I’ll help you define your boundaries and teach you how to communicate them clearly.

When we learn how to set boundaries and how to enforce them:

We start to take care of ourselves on a whole new level We start to love yourself more We start to respect the time that you have, how you want to spend it and who and how you want to deal with people

Reminder: What I’m teaching you as a life coach can be applied, not only to circumstances surrounding your divorce, but they apply to other circumstances and other people in your life.

Click here to get updates, tips and expert advice and be one of the first to hear about Doreen’s new online community! Disclaimer: Views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Yaffa Family Law Group or Your Divorce Law Center, their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, or representatives.

The content of Your Amazing Divorce is for entertainment and educational purposes. None of the content on Your Amazing Divorce should be considered legal advice, nor does anything herein create an attorney, client relationship.

As always, consult a lawyer for your legal questions.


Hey, they’re beautiful friends. I hope you’re having a good week so far. So what’s going on with me? Kids are all back in college. I have three in college right now. They are, uh, 19, 20, 21, and 23. So they’re all out of the house and one that already graduated and she’s working in Charlotte. So I am what they call an empty nest.

And you know how these kids are nowadays, they really are dealing with so much. You know, I think about when I was their age, we didn’t have social media. We didn’t even have hate to age myself too much. Cell phones and all of this. We had those big clunky cell phones, the, any of you remember those? But you know, these kids today, they’re dealing with a lot and people are always posting on Instagram.

TikTok and all these other things, but from what I see from my girls when they share with me, people are always posting about good things in their life. So people tend to be conditioned nowadays to thinking that there’s more good in the world than there is bad. And while, look, I’m a glass is half full person and I try to live my life as a positive person, the reality is bad things happen.

You know? People get sick, people die. People get into accidents, people get divorced, and these are all bad things. People are not happy about these situations, obviously. So I remind my kids all the time that there’s good and bad in life. And so when you enjoy the good, always appreciate it and understand that something eventually will happen and so just be ready for it.

I think it tends to make life a little. So that’s my 2 cents. Before I get started on my topic with you today, what if I told you that your divorce could end up being one of the best things that could happen to you? I’m Doreen Yaa, marital and family lawyer and certified life coach. I’ve been coaching and consulting women for over 26.

I’ve seen it all. Now I’m sharing my expertise and my own personal experiences to help you turn a difficult time into your amazing divorce. My topic today is about what I’m gonna call external boundaries, setting external boundaries, meaning boundaries with others. How many of us need help in this area?

I know it took me a long time to set boundaries. It really can be very hard to do. I’m not gonna say it’s easy, it’s hard, but once you learn, Set boundaries and how to enforce them. You start to take care of yourself at a new level. You start to love yourself more. You start to respect the time that you have, how you wanna spend it, and who and how you wanna deal with people.

So last week I spoke to you about what I defined as internal boundaries, meaning boundaries that you set for yourself, right? And if you haven’t listened to that episode, I suggest that you listen to that as well. So you get both sides. External boundaries, meaning boundaries with others, internal boundaries, boundaries that you set for yourself.

You can either listen to the episode today and go. or you can stop, go back and come back to this one because they compliment each other, but they’re. So let’s get started. Let’s speak about your ex or your ex to be, and the people and friends in other toxic situations lingering from your divorce. That is one area that likely needs some boundary cleanup, but.

Again, and as I always tell you or remind you, what I’m teaching you as a life coach can be applied not only to those and circumstances surrounding your divorce, but they apply to other circumstances and other people in your life. So, while I focus in on divorce, I want you to know that the lessons I teach you are really for most circumstances, okay?

As I discussed last week, the first thing to do is to know yourself and what you want and don’t want and why, but really take the time to think about that. This includes how and what you will. Or deal with as to your ex. When I teach about setting boundaries, I usually start with focusing in on having you clearly understand what a boundary is.

That is something that comes up with so many of my clients, and mainly what people think boundaries are. They. And speaking about previous episodes, I had done an episode on manuals, so I would suggest that you also listen or re-listen to that episode as well. Generally a manual is the expectation that we have as to how another person should behave.

So I suggest that you go back and listen to manuals because manuals and boundaries are very, very different. You know, some of my clients think that boundaries are things to do to control another person, and that is not the case at all. You see, boundaries are what we do instead to take care of and protect our.

You set boundaries for you, and we need boundaries after divorce more than ever.

There are three things I wanna teach you about external boundaries today that you set with others. I want you to think of it like a wall or a fence around your backyard. For many of you, maybe you have a fence or a wall enclosing your backyard. Anyone on the other side of the. Can clearly see it’s there and knows that they need not to cross it to get into your backyard.

It is like this very clear fence that everyone can see, and most people, at least people of sound mind realize without your having to say anything, that it’s not okay to just like climb over the fence into your backyard, right? Most people know that if they want to get to your backyard or to visit with you, that they need to be invited.

So I wanna see if you can visualize the fence surrounding your backyard. It helps to see it because a boundary needs to be as clear to whomever you are setting it with as a fence around your backyard. Now, most homes, at least where I live in Bo Raton, Florida, have a fence or a wall and closing their backyard, but they don’t have a fence.

Surrounding their front yard. You see the front yard is more open and a person likely would feel it’s okay to walk from the street to my front door and knock on it if they wanted to say hello to me right now. I would hope that most people would call first, but it’s more inviting. It’s more expected.

It’s anticipated that because there’s no fence in my front yard, somebody could come to my front door and that and knock on it. Whether I choose to answer or not is another story, but that would be appropriate. Getting over the fence in the backyard and knocking on my back door wouldn’t be appropriate.

So you can you see that? You visualize that. So the reason I want you to visualize the difference between the backyard with the fence and the front yard without the fence is that the first thing that you have to do with a boundary is to identify really clearly what your boundaries are that you wanna establish.

With anyone in your life, including your ex. So the first priority in establishing a boundary is that you have to know what it is that you have as a boundary in your life or what you want these to be.

You all know certain boundaries based on society and culture and based, basically just on common sense, right? Like as an example, if your ex was to push you that likely in most circumstances, or I’d like to say all circumstances, he would know that that’s off limits. You know, that’s just not okay. But if he raises his voice or yells at you, that may not be as clear of a boundary for him, and it may be something you may want to establish as a boundary that is unacceptable if he is to do it.

Does that make sense? You see some boundaries are obvious and others not so much. And so the first thing to do is for you to determine what you want and what you do not want, and then you could start to establish boundaries with people. Like I was working with a client recently and when our ex dropped off the kids, he thought it was okay.

To come into her home when he was bringing them home, you know, so he would bring them to the door, but instead of just letting them in because the children had the keypad to get in, he would just walk in with the children and it made her feel very uncomfortable. See, you will know that you want certain boundaries as something just doesn’t feel right.

It’s off, and you can say, Hey, maybe there is some boundary here that I need to think about to take care of myself. The key here is to listen to yourself and your feelings and start to get an understanding of the things that need boundaries. Boundaries to protect and take care of yourself. The second thing is that you have to make sure that the person that you want the boundary with clearly understands the boundary for some boundaries.

Again, they are pretty much a given, like most people get, that it’s not okay to hit another person. Right. You likely don’t have to go around saying to people, Hey, listen, just so you know it’s not okay to hit me, and if you do, I’m gonna call the police. Like, you don’t usually have to tell people this. See, most people know that if they violate the given boundary, that hitting, for example, is not okay, that you’re gonna get upset.

You’re gonna call the police potentially and maybe even hit them back in defense so you don’t tell them that. It’s one of those unspoken, really clear boundaries in our society that most of us get, that most of us understand. Now, let’s say yelling or raising your voice. That becomes less clear of a boundary because some people speak in a manner that others may see as loud or even yelling.

And so while most of us would say, we know where that line is, as to speaking normally versus raising your voice or yelling, it is not as clear as hitting.

I would suspect that most of you would likely walk away from someone if they were yelling at you, or you would hang up the phone if you were speaking on the phone. So the second thing with setting boundaries, remember the first is that you’re gonna identify what. Is the boundary that you want for yourself?

What are you feeling uncomfortable about that you wanna set a boundary on? And the second thing is to make sure that the person knows what the boundary is and that you are clear about it, meaning both you and the other person, like my client whose husband kept walking into the home when he dropped off the children, she needed to be very, very clear with.

That it was not okay. And when you suggest to somebody, when you tell someone that it, that, here’s the boundary, right? You don’t have to give reasons. You just have to set the clear boundary and make sure they understand it, saying clearly to him, meaning my client’s ex, listen, when you drop off the children, I do not want you coming into my home unless I invite you.

It’s not okay with me. Please bring the children to the door and don’t come in unless I invite you. Okay. And then you wanna make sure that he understands it and acknowledges, yes, I get that. Thank you very much. No need to be upset about it. No need to take an issue with it. Just clearly state the boundary and what you want the boundary to be and make sure they understand.

First thing is to know what your boundary is. Second thing is to clearly communicate the boundary with the person that you need the boundary with. This is where a lot of frustration comes because many of us just don’t clearly communicate, and instead our ex does something like walk in when he brings home the children and you like, Freak out or get angry.

So in my example with my client, the ex comes in and she is like, Hey, get outta here. You know, or she gets upset or they start to engage in words in front of the children. But what I wanted to bring to her and get her to think about. Especially cuz it was the marital home, you know, it was the home that they had lived in before they got divorced.

So I got her to think. And while it seems totally understandable that your ex doesn’t walk in the door, and most of us probably agree that that’s like something he should know, it’s not as clear as the hitting example. In other words, remember hitting somebody. Most of us know that’s just not acceptable.

Right? So I thought maybe he doesn’t. And maybe he doesn’t know that you are uncomfortable with. So I asked her to please communicate clearly to him that she doesn’t want him walking in when he drops off the children, because the third thing that I wanna teach you today about external boundaries, boundaries with others, is that the other person has to clearly know, and you have to know what the consequence is.

If they violate the. . So for my client, she knew that she could take away his ability to get through the Community Guard gate by just removing his name from the guest list. If he walks in the house again and failed to respect her, clear request not to do so when he drops off the children, like she has control over that, she can call up the guard gate and she can ask.

Them to remove his name from the list, and so that way, every time that he drops off the children, he would have to go through the guard gate, announce himself, she would get a phone call, agree that he’d come through the gate, and then she would be prepared to be at the door and receive the children, and she could control that, right?

We need boundaries in our life, like the fence around the backyard to protect our emotional health and our well. Boundaries that you establish for your emotional life as well as physical protection. A boundary is a really clear request of someone else to someone else with a really clear consequence because it can be misunderstood.

And so I want to make sure. That you really are clear of what I mean by this. You see, the consequence is something you have control over. It is something you do on your end. When a boundary violation happens, it is an action that you have the ability to take. Let me give you an example of a really clear boundary.

First of all, it’s really important to remember that the person that you’re making the request of can continue to do whatever they want, cuz remember that people get to do what they want. Adults get to behave how they want. I discussed that in the episode about manuals, and so again, if you need to go back, I’m refresh on that.

I would suggest that you do that. My client’s ex can walk through the door when he brings the kids physically. He can do that when the kids open the door. If he’s standing there, he could physically, I guess you could lock the door, but let’s assume they’re walking through the door. He could physically do it.

He’s capable of. But if my client and she did clearly tells him that it’s not okay to walk in with the kids and that if he does it again, she will remove his name from the guest list at the guard gate. Now he knows what the consequences. So it goes something like this. Hey, listen, when you bring the kids home, I would prefer that you not come into the.

If you do it again, just so that we’re on the same page, I’m going to go ahead and remove your name from the guard gate. Just so you know, not trying to cause any issues. I just would prefer that you not come in with the children unless I invite you in. And if you do, here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna remove your name from the list, okay?

So it’s clearly establishing what the boundary is, what you want, and what the consequence will be if he does it. , it’s always you clearly making the request and then explaining what you will do if there’s a violation of the request. You don’t have to get all crazy about it or upset you. Just take the action of the consequence if the violation occurs.

Plain and simple. . Some other examples might be, if you yell at me, I will hang up the phone. If you email me or text me in an antagonistic or mean-spirited way, I will not respond. If you don’t bring the children back with their stuff, I won’t send them with their stuff when they visit you and on and on and on.

And again, this works with anyone that you need to set a boundary with. I want to give you a personal. Because I think this is pretty telling.

When my stepson was a teenager for the life of my husband and I, we couldn’t get him to keep a curfew. He would stroll in late and my husband and he would go at it. So we finally set a clear boundary with him and said like, listen son, you have a curfew of 11:00 PM on weekends, you. Or try to come in after 11:00 PM the door will be locked and you’ll have to sleep in your car or in the backyard, and that’s the way it is.

So guess what happened the next weekend when it hit 11:00 PM and now it was like a few minutes after we locked the door. He tried to get in, I think it was somewhere around 11 30, 11 45, and it was locked. He called us from his cell and you know, this was really hard. This was hard for my husband, you know, cuz my son wanted to come in.

He is knocking on the door, he is calling him, and he just very calmly said, son, you know you have a curfew at 11 o’clock. We clearly explained to you that if you come in after 11, the door will be locked and you’re gonna have to sleep in your car in the backyard. I hope that this doesn’t sound crazy to you, but it took that one time of him sleeping in the patio.

In the backyard. You know, we have an enclosed patio area with a couch and stuff. One night of him sleeping there for him to never come in late again. So you make the request, you give them the option to do whatever they want to do, cuz they’re going to do what they’re gonna do. Right? We can’t control other people.

And then you follow through on the action you take if there’s a violation, you know, some people get confused with making. With things that are not boundary violations. So that’s something else I wanna speak to you about. Here’s what I need by that. Some people will say, well, I would really like from my friend to call me back more often.

I’m always the one calling her. Or let’s say, I would love to hear some positive feedback from my boss. You know, these types of wishes that you have or that we might have about other people’s actions. These are not boundary. Okay, so boundaries in those circumstances aren’t appropriate. They’re what you prefer.

If, for example, when you call your girlfriend, if she doesn’t call you back, she hasn’t crossed the boundary with you. She hasn’t come into your backyard or space, and so that is not a situation that is appropriate for a boundary. This is more of a manual issue. . While you can certainly say to your friend that you would like her to call you back the same day, you can’t place your happiness on getting a call the same day, right?

That’s just what you get to accept or not accept as her being your friend. Using the friend example, what would be okay with a boundary would be something like, Hey, listen, if you are late, when we meet up, let’s say she’s someone that’s always late. We all like friends like that, right? They’re always late, no matter.

But you could say something like, listen, if you are late, next time we meet, I’ll wait 10 minutes, and then if you’re not there, I’m gonna leave. You see the difference? The hard part is on you to enforce the boundary. Most of us want to have clear boundary, but we don’t want to follow through on the consequence part of it.

That’s a little more difficult for people, like how hard it was for us when our son was locked. When he missed curfew, it was killing us. It was emotional. It would have been so easy to just unlock the door, but if we would’ve done that, he wouldn’t take us serious about this curfew. That was the important part of it.

Following through with the consequence. And not unlocking the door, letting him sleep outside until we unlocked it in the morning. He needed to understand that, that we were serious about this and that he controlled whether he was coming in to the house by being on time or not. This is why boundary work is so important because as long as you’re not establishing a clear boundary, and as long as you are not falling through, The action that you don’t want will keep happening.

I get that this is hard work, but following through on the consequence is the way to get the other person to understand and to most importantly, protect yourself and get the action or the inaction that you’re looking for. Just like my son and my client, whose ex doesn’t come in her home without an invitation anymore, there’s no Dred, just one.

You know your boundary, right? So you know that. Two, you clearly communicate the boundary and the consequ. And three, you follow through on the consequence. If there’s a violation, you know, I’ve done this work myself. It’s hard work as most of us don’t want to hurt others. I mean, we’re generally, we don’t wanna go somewhere, you know, go to a place of hurting others, like locking my son out.

And we feel that if we set and enforce boundaries that it’s some kind. But this is what is needed for you to take care of. Number one, you. That is the work of really honoring your.

People can think what they want about whatever boundary you’re setting. Okay. That’s. Something’ll deal with you on, and we’ll talk about our thoughts, feeling action results, put that on you. You say it calm and you say it in a respectful way without a lot of explanation. And then the person gets to choose if they want to have a consequence occur or not by their action or their inaction.

You have to honor yourself about it. Place yourself as the. Look, I get that these conversations are difficult for many of you, but they may be some of the reason you stay in relationships that haven’t been the best or, and letting people take advantage or pretending that all is okay when you’re not okay with it.

It’s about really being authentic. It’s about being real. So many of my clients complain about their ex or things in life, and I’m like, well, what are you doing about it? I want you to assume he’s not going to change. He’s going to continue to do this until you put your foot down, do it before it explodes.

Love yourself enough to be honest with the people in your life. Be real with them and be real with yourself. Completely free. It’s better than bitching and complaining about things and having unnecessary drama and pain. You have to be willing to know that if someone doesn’t like it and you lose that relationship as a result, or they get angry, it’s okay.

Our truth is, And that is one thing that I did say when I was establishing my boundaries. This isn’t against you at all. This is for me and for my family. So son, when I was talking to my son, it has nothing to do with you. I have to establish this boundary because I need to protect ourself. My other kids who are sleeping in night, it comes in at whatever hour and it’s disruptive.

But I didn’t get into a lot of the explanation with him. It wasn’t necessary. He knew, he knows, and people understand. Remember to set boundaries from a place of kindness, and if you can’t do that because you are ang angry or mad, then just know that’s okay. You just have to do more work on yourself. You have to get to that place of being able to communi.

In a kind way. So maybe work on writing down why you think you are feeling this way and start there. Think about the reason you are angry, frustrated, or resentful is not because the person did something you are upset with. It really may be coming from a place of you being frustrated with yourself for accepting what you know is not acceptable.

This is not manipulating somebody’s behavior. This is not expecting them to change for your sake. And that’s the hardest part is I’ve worked with these clients with many clients before that they set boundaries for people and they think, well, of course this person should honor my boundary. I’ve told them what it is.

And a lot of times people just don’t honor them. So then you have to follow through on the. The following through on the consequence can sometimes come from a place of real frustration and anger because you’re like, what the hell? I asked you not to come in when you drop the kids off and you’re forcing me now to call the gate, they’re not forcing you to do that.

That’s what you are doing as your consequence to try to get yourself into a space where you can do that with love to protect yourself.

Here’s how you know if you’re doing boundaries in a proper way. If you don’t feel peaceful, it’s not time to set a boundary if you are trying to manipulate behavior for your own benefits, so you won’t have to follow through on a consequence. If you’re blaming and your negative, it’s not a time to set a boundary.

You have to wait and work on yourself first and be able to get to that place of. I want you to think about all this and understand that your ex and other people that frustrate you could turn out to be your best teacher in life to figure out who you are and what you want, what you want for your future, what you want out of, and from your next relationship and on and on.

So use these opportunities that are uncomfortable to learn and grow from learning how to stick up for yourself, but in a kind way without all the drama and no. That’s what starts to set you free. That’s what starts to put you as the priority and put you in a better position to heal. I totally get that.

This is hard work setting boundaries, but setting boundaries can be amazing for you to get to the next chapter of your amazing life. This is a time to recreate yourself and setting boundaries is one key way to do this. A boundary just keeps people from violating important space in your life, and it brings in a real intimacy as your true and honest with people and yourself.

Sir, think about this. What boundaries do you want or need to establish in your life to be the best version of you? Take the time to do the work by first establishing what and where you need the boundaries and why. Then think about how you can take action to protect yourself if there is a boundary violation, and then only then communicate clearly with the person, what it is and what the consequence is, and then follow.

That’s it. I would love to hear from you on your boundary work and what your challenges are, what you’re working on. You can always email me at doreen life balance Again, that’s Doreen, D o r E E n, at life balance And until next time, take care of you and love yourself. I love you. Have an amazing day.

And know. Yes, you can see you next time. Thanks so much for listening. For tips, updates, and expert advice, be sure to visit your amazing And remember my friends, yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce. See you. Views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Yaha Family Law Group or your Divorce Law Center, their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, or representatives.

The content of your amazing divorce is for entertainment and educational purposes only. None of the content on your amazing divorce should be considered legal advice, nor does anything herein create an attorney-client relationship. As always, consult a lawyer for your legal questions.

Start creating your best life after divorce and book your complimentary Discovery Call