I wish I understood my mother's counsel when I was younger. She told me, "People can only do what you allow them to do to you." That powerful counsel required life experience and frames of reference to fully embrace the wisdom. That repeated statement was my mom's attempt to teach me to create boundaries in relationships.
It took 15 years of marriage and newfound confidence to establish boundaries with my husband and my in-laws. For 15 years I allowed others to take advantage of me mentally, physically, and emotionally, feeling victimized and vulnerable. The family taught me to be silent with their abuse. I began to believe my voice was not valid. I waited so long to establish boundaries that I caused confusion because I led them to believe I was okay with their behavior. I allowed it to reach a place where my sanity was compromised. I began to operate in the insecurities and fears they created for me.
I had to be smaller so they could be larger, and I diminished my own value. But the experience empowered me, and I could no longer sit prey. I had to make a change. I promised myself that I would create boundaries, and I did. I have changed for the better when I saw my value and established self love and self preservation.