15: Why Divorce Should Be The Last Boundary You Hold

Podcast Episodes
September 11, 2022

The Authentic Wife and Mom

Beth Rowles | The Conscious Marriage Coach

Wondering why divorce should be the last boundary you hold? And what is a boundary, anyway?

In episode 15 of The Authentic Wife Show, you’ll learn how to create the marriage you and your kids deserve by holding boundaries long before the boundary of divorce.


Who This Episode Is For

Today’s episode is important for women who are feeling like they’re on the fence about divorce, unclear about holding boundaries, and unsure of how to step into their power. And it’s really not so much for anyone who’s already in an abusive relationship. I just wanna make that clear. This is not for people who are being harmed and need to go. It may help you. But that’s not really who I’m speaking to today. I don’t need anybody to come to me and remind me that people who are being abused should leave. Yes, of course they should.

This is for the people who don’t really know what is happening to them and what they should do next. It’s not very crystal clear, as it would be in a case where you’re being physically abused.

Divorce IS A Boundary

So we’re gonna talk about why divorce should be your last choice. And I talk about boundaries a lot, and guess what? We’re gonna talk about boundaries again. Because divorce is a boundary. It is a way to hold a limit to protect your boundary.

In fact it is a final boundary; by the very nature of it, you are creating physical separation between you and another person. That is necessary in order to protect you from them. This is why it should be your last choice. So let’s go into boundaries again. If you haven’t heard me talk about them. I’m working on a book about these.

What Are Boundaries?

I like to call them– the kids and I came up with this — I like to call them your room. So imagine that you have this room around you. Right? It has walls. It has things inside. It has your thoughts, your emotions, your ideas. Even your opinions, but then it also has your resources, like your energy. Your time, your money. It has your actual belongings, the things that are yours that you have purchased that matter to you. If you’re a mom, your kids are in this room because you’re responsible for protecting their boundaries too. Um, and it, of course, it has your physical body. Your physical body is yours.

How Do We Hold a Boundary?

And you get to decide when you open the door and let somebody in. When you actually have enough in your room to give to somebody else. And you also get to decide in most cases, unless you’re the victim of a horrific crime, how you will protect yourself. The level of protection you give. And there are varying degrees to which you will protect yourself. Sometimes, you will just say, um, you know, “Why you gottaa joke like that, man?” to somebody who’s like teasing you. Sometimes you will say, “This is unacceptable. I’m going to go somewhere else until you’re ready to talk to me in a more respectful way.”

Sometimes, if somebody were attacking you, you would actually push them off. You would protect yourself. You would trust your body really here to know exactly how to protect yourself from this other person. Even if that meant violating the other person’s boundaries, somebody’s attacking you. You do what you need to do to get them off you, right?

And hopefully you can, and I believe that all of you have a lot of strength and power. And just trust your body in that case. So our room. That’s our boundary. Right? That’s the thing between us and another person. The hardest thing for my clients to understand in the beginning is what is theirs and what’s another person’s.

Why Empaths Struggle With Boundaries

Because for most of us, We’re we are empaths, whether it’s from our childhood and the way we’re raised, and what we saw. And we tend to feel what other people are feeling. And until we’ve done the work on our own, we don’t really know when, what we’re feeling is ours. And then when, what we’re feeling is theirs.

So there’s this enmeshment. There’s this, um, it manifests as codependency. But there’s this, “I don’t know. I just don’t know where you end. I don’t know when I’m making you feel bad. You don’t know when you’re making me feel bad. We’re just like together as one person and it affects you. It affects me.” And, oh my gosh. And we’re in this space of, muck… the mud. There’s no clarity. There’s no… We have no clue how to even protect ourselves because we have no clue who we even are and what is ours and what’s theirs.

Stop Giving What You Don’t Have To Give

But as we begin to do the work, we can pay attention to behavior or words. And of course, physical actions that violate our boundary. And most of the time, it’s us. Doing it to ourselves as women, especially. We opened the door to our room and it’s totally empty. Our energy is gone. We don’t have time.

And we go, “Sure. I can help you with that.” Or we open the door and there’s nothing in the vault in the corner. And we go, yes, I can donate to you. We pretend that we have resources that we don’t actually have. In order to make other people feel good. And why do we do this? Because we don’t like our own repressed discomfort or negative or depleting emotions to be triggered.

We Avoid Discomfort

It is too painful for us to be reminded of discomfort. So we do everything possible to make just the energy of discomfort, not appear. Anywhere around us. <laugh>. In other words, if everybody else feels good, Then we get to stay feeling good and that’s good.

But then if you examine that. How good do you feel when you give from that empty room or from that empty cup? How do you feel afterward when you have found time and energy you did not have? To do something that somebody else could have helped you with?

You begin to feel resentment. It may turn into hatred. It may turn into absolute disgust. And all of those emotions are coming from us. Abandoning ourselves to keep other people comfortable. To feel a sense of worth from, oh yes, I can do it all. I can take care of everything I can make you all feel good.

Our Unhealthy Relationship With Boundaries Makes Us Feel Like He’s The Problem

And so we just don’t have a healthy relationship with boundaries. And then we start to feel bad and feel like he’s, uh, he, as in our husband is not serving us. This is one sided. He’s an awful human being. I have to go. Get out of here to be happy again. Or I have to be more forceful. Or demanding, uh, to reclaim power here because somehow he has all the power… when we don’t realize that we have given it all away.

We have absolutely given up our right to power. And most of the time, the things that bother us that we judge about our husband when we are in a relationship dynamic like this is that he actually has a good, healthy relationship with boundaries. He actually knows his worth. Maybe he’s out golfing. Maybe he’s talking to a friend. Maybe he is not giving up time for something when he’s already depleted.

He has a sense of self worth. He has a sense of: I deserve to take care of myself. I deserve to have these things. I deserve to have time to rest and recoup. I deserve to go do things that light me up and fill me with joy.

And then it bothers us because we don’t have this relationship at all. We do not see how those things are not only beneficial for us, but for our children as well. And so we heavily judge them in him. And don’t understand that if we just look at it, um, from a conscious perspective, he’s modeling something for us that we’ve been utterly unwilling to do, because that’s what was modeled from us. Especially from our mothers.

Every Little Boundary Needs To Happen Before Divorce

Right. Okay. So we know that we have this really poor relationship with boundaries, we don’t even know that they exist. We don’t know how to protect them. And then we think it’s time to leave and we just have to divorce in order to be respected, in order to be loved, but the problem is that we’ve never actually respected ourselves. We’ve never stepped into self love enough to take care of ourselves. Because if we did love ourselves, we would not allow these things to happen.

We would say, “No.” We would say, “I can’t.” We would say, “This is unacceptable.” We would say, “I’m walking out of the house until you’re ready to treat me with more respect.” We would say, “Enough. I will not tolerate you speaking to me that way. No more. I’m done.”

There are many ways to hold a boundary. You can hold them forcefully. You can hold them with anger and sometimes you will. You can just move away from behavior. You can just ignore certain requests or behavior. The idea is that you use the energy of anger to assist you to hold the boundary. But you stay in a place of love once you realize what the anger is alerting you to.

How To Know If Your Boundary Has Been Violated

Anger alerts us that our boundaries have been violated, which is why understanding our emotions and what they mean is so incredibly important. We have to know when we’re angry and whether we’re angry because an old wound has been triggered or because somebody’s actively violating our boundaries. In the moment,the question you asked yourself is, “What needs to be protected?”

It is it you, is it your children? Does something actually need to be protected in this moment? Or does the little girl inside of me need to be protected? If it’s the little girl inside of you, you do that work first. And then you come back to the table and you’re clear, you will be clear in the future on what works for you and what doesn’t.

You Can Hold Your Boundary In A Loving Way

We don’t, and especially as women, we don’t hold boundaries in a masculine way. We don’t violate other people’s boundaries when we hold them. We don’t. And I’m not saying that the masculine way is to violate boundaries. Although, that seems to be what they do a lot of the time. We don’t have to express our anger. We don’t have to yell. There are many ways to calmly do it, and they require us to step into our power. And the way we step into our power. Is to know our worth, to know that we can depend on ourselves. To take care of us and to get what we deserve.

So when I say that divorce should be your absolute last choice, that is because you have taken every opportunity that pops up, every single day, to show somebody how to love you. You have held all the little boundaries. You’ve set expectations for how you’re willing to show up. You have shared vulnerably your inner world, of where you’re at, how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling exhausted, if you’re feeling depleted, if you just need to go take care of yourself.

Set Expectations Of How You’re Able to Show Up

When you create agreements with other people, you say how you will show up. How much you can– take an inventory of how much you actually have to give. And show up in a way that works for you.

And if they agree to that fine, if they don’t, then you don’t have an agreement. <laugh>. You will not work well together. We’ve been conditioned in a lot of ways. To absolutely ignore our room. To go work a job, to go to school, to do what other people want.

Parents in this old authoritarian parenting paradigm over and over and over showed us that we didn’t have boundaries. That we weren’t worthy of respect. Think of spanking, think of yelling at us. Think of shaming us. Um, think of laughing at our ideas. There are so many ways that we are shown that we’re nothing.

And that we don’t have the right to protect who we are.

Authentically Step Back Into Your Power

And right now what’s happening in the world… And I’ve got, I actually wanna record another episode on this…. But what’s happening right now is that we are trying to reclaim that power.  I’m speaking as women. We are trying to reclaim that power in a very masculine way. We are shutting down to our feminine abilities.

We think that we have to be cold and guarded and shut off in order to be protected. And in a lot of ways, we don’t see men through the lens of they have their own boundaries, too anymore. We see them as, I don’t know. I think a lot of women see them as the enemy. As worthless as incompetent. As, um,


I can’t even finish that sentence because I have a little boy. All these men around you had mothers. And if you can’t see your son’s worth… if you can’t see your husband’s worth, you can’t see your son’s worth, is really what I should say. And for all the mothers who raised those little boys, letting them do whatever they wanted or harshly coming down on them when they didn’t behave the way they wanted. They created those men. Men also have childhood wounds.

Men also are struggling. Men also have emotions. They are trying to figure out how to heal. And the people who are most skilled, most naturally — it comes to us as a gift that we possess– and the divine feminine, the people who can help them heal. With empathy, not sympathy. The people who can understand their perspective. And reflect their perspective and their emotions for them to help them heal. That’s us. That’s the women. <laugh>.

That’s us. And if we think that. “I’ve done my work. You have to do yours,” then we are the narcissist. We’re not actually shifting into love. We are not actually taking our growth out into the world. We just have possibly put a bandaid on some of our wounds and called it good.

Because if we think, “Oh, that’s too bad, you go do it too.” Then we have not evolved. We are not in a place of love and we are not in a place of authenticity. Where we can step into our worth and know that we are powerful because we exist.

Women Don’t Hold Boundaries Because We’re Afraid of Discomfort

So to go back to the original topic <laugh> and save that one for another day. Women don’t hold boundaries because they’re afraid of discomfort. Like I said, of the other person being uncomfortable. And then, because we’re empaths, we pick that up. Or we are triggered of some time where we felt shamed or bad or wrong or something, or made a mistake and we felt terrible and we don’t wanna feel the pain from that trigger.

The trigger is just to repress the emotion that we never dealt with. So we don’t want anybody to feel discomfort because then we would have to feel discomfort. And Ooh, no. So then we feel a bunch of guilt. When we know that our husband has to deal with the consequences of his own choices. When he has to feel alone in the room because the way he wasn’t speaking was unacceptable.

We just, we just can’t take it. We just like… it’s painful in the beginning. That amount of guilt is painful and maybe he says things or gaslights or. Makes you feel like you should feel bad. Like how dare you? <laugh>. How dare you go do the thing that you said you were going to do.

Like how dare you when you have to be willing to go, “Yeah. Yep. Isn’t that something?” <laugh>. That’s what my husband likes to say. Isn’t that something? Now you have to feel this.

We had to hold some pretty drastic boundaries with a family member who is not safe. And, um, because we love people we want to scoop them up and they seem like wounded little birds, but you know, if you had like a wounded little bird who was like viciously biting you and injecting poison in you and, and was too dangerous. And there was no way that you could get them to stop reacting that way to be a safe person, to be next to. Then you’d have to like put some separation between you, you’d have to put them in a cage or something, and then there was no way that you could ever make it better then you just have to walk away.

You have to let go. Of that belief, that limiting belief that you have to be a good girl. And good girls take the wounded, whatever in front of them and make it all better. And we make it all better by being their punching bag. Hopefully figuratively. By being the thing that they can just project their pain onto. So they don’t ever have to feel their pain. The idea here is that you refuse to take on their pain for them. So they have to feel it. And when they feel it is when they grow.

Pain And Discomfort From Our OWN Actions Are The Portals To Growth

Everybody. Wants men to evolve. I don’t know if everybody does, but a lot of women are saying, oh, men need to evolve. And I was there too. And like, oh, he has to grow up. This is how they grow up. They have got to feel the pain of being this shell of who they are. Of being totally out of touch with their own worth and how to meet their own needs. And how to change their behavior.

They have got to feel the consequences of their actions. They have got to feel the pain that comes with it, and we cannot take it from them, but we can stand beside them and be there as they process it. And evolve through it.

It’s Our Responsibility To Protect Ourselves

Why Divorce Should Be The Last Boundary You Hold by Beth RowlesWe have got to learn that we even have boundaries. We’ve got to understand that we are in this room, and it is our responsibility to protect ourselves. Your husband’s not your guard at the door. You are your guard at the door! You have to protect yourselves and, because your kids are young and vulnerable, you have to protect them too and show them their worth. So they will love themselves enough to continue to do this.

Boundaries aren’t just between us and other people’s behavior. They’re also between us and things like sleep and brushing our teeth. And doing our schoolwork. So we have respect for our mind of tithing up after ourselves of living in a clean space.

Of, you know, brushing our hair and wearing clean clothes. These are all things that are related to boundaries. We have to have a healthy relationship with this. We have to know our worth and we do that. The way we teach kids about those things is by showing them their worth, showing them how loved they are. Modeling for them, how much we love ourselves so that they will love themselves too.

Boundaries Require Self-Love

If you want to have a good relationship with boundaries, you have got to love yourselves. If you really struggle. If you just, if you’re like, okay, I get this intellectually. I know I should move away from behavior that doesn’t reflect my worth. Which means walking out of the room. Maybe taking a walk in your neighborhood, whatever it is, you just refuse to engage with somebody who’s actively disrespecting you.

Um, if you know that. And yet <laugh> something happens. When that person is doing it. First you examine anything that happened to you and any of your limiting beliefs. I was working with the client the other day, and she’s got a deeply held belief that men know better. So we’re deconstructing that, that it’s not true. We are the expert in our own lives.

If Your Body Hijacks Your Response With Fear…

And some people had caregivers or other adults in their lives who violated their boundaries so much that we have a trauma response to it, and we go into fight flight or freeze and we end up freezing. Or fawning instead. So it’s literally like our body feels hijacked and we just don’t know what to do. And for that, I recommend that you try something called EMDR therapy, and see if that will help you through that trauma.

You can also do something called somatic experiencing. Actually, I would do that one first and then do the EMDR. Um, if you are having that big of a trauma response to something, but if it’s not that big.

The way I did it, the way I worked through these things, the main way, was learning how to be mindful. So using meditation to take control of my brain. And its thoughts and reactions to things, cuz it’s literally just like. Imagine a computer with a program. And it says: “If, Person yells, I will freeze.” Whatever it is. It’s like, that’s the ingrained program in your brain.

So if you take control of your brain by developing this conscious awareness, and developing the ability to move your mind’s attention back to something other than the thought it’s going down. Then you can uninstall that program. That’s the only way to get rid of that old conditioning, to develop that control of your mind to know that, “No, we don’t do this anymore. Now we do this other thing. Now we are a big adult too. <laugh>. And we move the F away from people who are rude to us. We’re not a little kid. We don’t depend on them to meet our needs. We are safe. We can take care of ourselves.”

And we will survive no matter what happens. And living this way right now with no boundaries is too painful, two unacceptable. And I’m willing to take the risk. Of what is on the other side of actually being willing to show other people how to love me.

So I invite you to find maybe it’s just a little spark. Maybe it’s a roaring lion. Maybe it’s your inner mama bear. Who is not gonna take any crap for her kids. And all she needs to do is remember that she doesn’t need to take any crap either. Whether it’s big or small, I invite you to nurture that part of you today.

To love that part of you. To invite her to protect you. To invite her to show you how to love yourself

Anytime you’re confused, especially in the beginning, I wrote about this in my book, The Authentic Wife, if you’re confused, ask yourself, “What would I do right now, if I loved myself?”

My prayer for you is that someday you don’t have to have that if there. And that it just becomes, “I love myself. What do I do?” But if all you can do today is say, “What would I do if I loved myself?” And that will be enough. And bravely do it. And don’t be sorry.


To learn more about having a conscious marriage, click here.

I have three recommendations for you. Three things I had made for you that will help you with this. The first one, if you really don’t believe anything I’ve just shared for 25 minutes and 34 seconds, and take the, Should I get divorced? Quiz. Because it will show you all the other options you have before getting divorced. And not, if you’re being abused. If you’re being abused, you got other things to do. I can’t really help you. I think there’s a hotline for you to help you with that. But if you’re just annoyed with your husband and what I’ve said today resonates with you, go take that quiz and see.

What else can you do? The other thing is that you have to know when you are feeling anger, most of us do, but if you struggle with what you’re feeling and what that means, you can go download my free emotion assessment. It’s also on my website, The Princess & The Peeve. 

To begin to see what you’re feeling. And then you can also take a course I made called Royally Guarded. Which just teaches you -it’s like a crash course in emotions. It’s fun. It’s quick. Go do that. That’s gonna teach you those things.

And then I do have a class just specifically on boundaries called Getting The Love You Deserve, and that will teach you the six most common mistakes people make when trying to hold boundaries and give you a good introduction to it. And stay tuned for my book on this topic, because I do talk about it a lot.

If you have any questions or ideas for a show, be sure to send them to beth@bethrowles.com

Step into your power. Ask yourself that question: What would I do if I loved myself? And work on changing that to I love myself. What do I do? All right. Thank you all. See you next time.


Beth Rowles
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I'm Beth Rowles, Hi!

I help driven moms use the conflict in their marriage as a feedback loop to grow in self-awareness so they can create the marriage they, and their kids, deserve without leaving the one they're in or waiting for their husband to evolve.

I'm the author of The Authentic Wife: Uncaging Yourself Through Marriage and host of The Authentic Wife Show podcast & YouTube channel.


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"Your partner is ultimately a mirror of how you feel about yourself, and your relationship will call on you to get into integrity with earlier wounds and negative life patterns."

--Dr. Laura Berman, Quantum Love

Love Queen, Enneagram 5, Child Prioritizer, Problem Solver, Book Lover, Authenticity Expert, And Your Marriage Saver

I’m Beth.
Your Authenticity
[to keep it a Family] Coach.

You and your kids deserve a marriage that brings your light to life. That may seem far away right now, but I’m proof that it’s possible and in your power to create! Stop worrying about what your kids are learning from him and let’s figure out what they can learn from you, mama!