Boundary Testing

Step nine, and we’ve got ten steps so we’re almost done here. What we are covering now is helping you beware of something called “boundary testing” so you can start practicing independence now.

Your husband, in the divorce, is likely going to start “boundary testing” as soon as the divorce starts. This means that he will, very early on, try to see how capable he’s going to be in control you and your lawyer.

The key on how to handle these behaviors during the divorce is to “be assertive but do not be a jerk.”

If you let your husband see that he can continue to control you or worse yet, control your lawyer, then you’re going to be up a creek. This can be hard to prevent when he’s historically manipulated or controlled you (which is why I suggest you try to live somewhere where he cannot constantly badger you during the divorce).

Basically, what needs to happen here is you need to “retrain the dog” when the divorce starts. By this I mean show your husband that during the divorce, he’s not going to control you anymore.

I know- easier said than done. You can start practicing for this, taking steps every day, to let your husband know he’s not going to control you anymore.

This doesn’t require confrontation, it can be as simple as you not following his rules (or some of his rules) anymore. Practice makes perfect here.

It’s not going to be natural to you at first.

Your husband may not give you credit for becoming more independent and may blame your lawyer or someone else for the change in how you act. But my thought is: who cares? You’re going to feel better, you’re going to feel like you’re not being controlled.

You’re going to feel like, day by day, you are a step closer to the life that you really want to be living. This type of progress can be contagious, so watch out!

In all seriousness, understand that boundary testing will be an issue during the divorce and when you can, consider starting taking little steps now to stand up for yourself when your husband tries to control you.If you don’t have a therapist already, consider getting one for purposes of helping you on this point.

If you don’t know any therapists, take a look at those who are listed on or call my office and we’ll reach out to our network and find you, several qualified people, to consider.

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