Thirdly, is your willingness to walk away from the situation.
The confidence to walk away from a bad situation can only come when self-assurance and self-love has been attained. When you’re willing to let go and surrender all for the sake of your well being you know the playing field has been neutralized. When you have clearly defined your boundaries, and understand that guilt is no longer your weakness, your ability to walk away from a situation that no longer serves you becomes your saving grace. In this willingness to walk away there is no game-playing or pride.
It is a very high level of confidence and knowing that the rules have been established and the ground work has already been laid out. When the rules are agreed and understood, passive and controlling behaviors in the relationship become neutralized and the playing field is balanced. Neither party has an advantage over the other, which allows respect, growth, and grace.
So whether you are the passive, nurturing, gentle one in a relationship or the controlling hero with all the answers, set the ground rules up, define your own boundaries of what is acceptable to you. Make sure to discuss how guilt will or will not be used as a tool to manipulate the relationship, and clearly communicate how each of you will know when and under what conditions it is understood that walking away from the relationship is warranted.
Let others raise their children as they see fit, and remember there are many different ways to fold towels…all of which are “proper”. By the way, my advice to the young lady in my office, well, let’s just say, she re-evaluated her own self-worth and found someone willing to pay her much more for her thinking.