How do you keep yourself emotionally distant?

8 tips for successful demarcation

Like everyone else, you want to be valued and loved. But don't ask for the price of ignoring your own needs. A clear “no” is important in order to be respected, to communicate without conflict, to maintain your credibility and to strengthen your self-worth. You can only sincerely say “yes” if you also say a certain “no” about yourself.

Demarcation is important for building your self-worth

I wish I could set myself apart better. “Can you just…. Be so nice ... You don't mind, do you? ... " You know those sentences where you should actually say "no" but don't. Likewise, advice or interference from other people that you basically don't want to hear, but you let it go through you patiently and often end up feeling worse than before.

Demarcation has nothing to do with "bumping into the head" or hurting. Anyone who delimits in a friendly and determined manner is respected and valued.

Particularly tricky when conditioning is triggered that are always in your way anyway. For example, your mother-in-law, who criticizes your little time for your children. Touché! Your sore point. For years you have always tried to be there for the children despite your job. Without timely demarcation, you will be left with a guilty conscience. You know best where and when you want to differentiate yourself more successfully. To make this work better in the future, here are a few effective tips:

1. Delimitation by means of three breaths

Oops, suddenly you said "yes" again, but you clearly felt a "no". This usually happens in situations in which you feel taken by surprise. Then you get angry. That's why you should always Leave some space in good time: take two or three breaths before you answer. This is not so easy for spontaneous people, but this delay brings a lot: During this time you ask yourself in your mind:

  • Do I even want that?
  • Do I have the time?
  • Is that putting me under pressure?
  • How does my stomach feel if I say yes (gut feeling)?

Lots of questions for just a few breaths to think about. But the more you practice this, the more automatically you feel whether the consequences of your answer are good for you or not. Sometimes this period of reflection can be skillfully called for by embellishment. For example, when asked if you could help with a move, you initially answer digressively: "Oh yes, move, I remember my last one well, that was something."

Incidentally, the qualified psychologist Michael Tomoff helps himself very consistently in tricky situations with the topic of demarcation as follows:

If the person needs an immediate answer, it is better if the default answer is no first. You can change that later more easily than a yes.

Michael Tomoff

But here, too, it is essential to be mindful and feel exactly why you want to change your “no” to a “yes” afterwards: for your sake or to please?

2. When it comes to demarcation, timing is important

If your gut feeling tells you “no”, it is best to say “no” too right away to communicate before you get into conflict internally.

"If you ignore the first impulse to say" No ", it becomes more and more difficult because then anger may build up in you and you can no longer say" No "calmly."


That's right, because when you can no longer say "No" calmly, anger does not only build up inside you. The other person senses your ambivalence and quickly feels hurt because they may take your hesitant "no" personally.

Now, delimitation does not always have to mean “no”. For example, you can also communicate a “partial yes”. In the job in particular, this basically happens again and again: things that have to be done, appointments that are requested. Or also privately: the children who need your time or the aunt who demands a visit. In such cases you terminate: "Yes, gladly, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.""Yes, please, next Monday." - "Tonight from 7:00 p.m. I have time for you." Those who do not accept this gentle demarcation do not deserve a whole "yes". So consistently it is easier for you to swivel to a "no" if the other person does not like your answer.

3. In a nutshell, this is how demarcation works

Oh dear, how often do you get tangled up in long explanations or possibly in excuses because you fear your "no". Behind it is uncertainty: “Do I even have the right to delimit myself?” “Is that right for me?” “Maybe I just queue up?” Along with this, you make yourself small: "Typically, I don't know what I want again." "It's logical that I'm not able to position myself again." "I'm ashamed of my stupid excuses." Do you feel what that does to you? You absolutely and absolutely have the right to stand up for yourself! It's even your duty! Because this is the only way to take good care of yourself. Therefore, be brief when it comes to demarcation. No long explanations and certainly no wildly constructed excuses. The longer you give in to excuses, the more implausible you become and most importantly: the weaker and smaller you feel!

The following sentences may help you with your clear demarcation:

I can understandthat you need help, but the weekends are my family's. "

I am very happy to help you, but I don't have the time / experience / know-how for this project. "

I understandthat it is difficult for you, but I am convinced you will be able to do it. "

With such sentences of appreciative demarcation, you signal to the other that you see and acknowledge their need. This gives your demarcation a self-confident and respectful response.

4. With demarcation there is nothing to excuse

“But if you want to express that you value and respect the wish / offer of your counterpart, then try“ I'm sorry ”. This does not imply guilt, but sympathy for his situation. "


You don't need to apologize for taking good care of yourself. That would be laughed at. Avoid sentences of apology. A "I am sorry" shows compassion, your counterpart can feel that too and that's enough! However, if you start to apologize, you weaken your position and with it the success of your demarcation. You should always be aware of: You are not responsible for the other person, but for yourself. There is nothing to excuse about this fact.

And how often do you say: "I'm so sorry, I would like to, but ... "This phrase"I would like to“You only use to appease your bad feelings and to woo understanding. For the other person, this is the ideal template to present their concerns again immediately and to change your mind with requests. Much more helpful and honest, on the other hand, is: I would rather not.“ Feel in this sentence how powerful and consistent it sounds without offending your head. How would you feel if someone answered you with this sentence? Respect, attention, equal eye level?

5. Flattery quickly upsets the demarcation

Hand on heart: Who doesn't like to be wrapped around their fingers with flattery? In the case of the children, you think that's basically quite nice - at least when they are even smallerJ But be careful: some flattery wraps the issue like pretty wrapping paper. For example: "You can do it so well, couldn't you ..." "You know your way around a lot better ..." "You always do it much faster ..." If someone smears sweet honey around your mouth, demarcation is particularly difficult. Then later you realize that you have been sucked into your "vain" ego. Low self-esteem is only too happy to be blinded.

“You are impressed by the fact that you are being asked. You feel valued, important, central…. A touch of power wafts around your ego. And because you love this feeling and fear that it will never come back if you decline the request now, say ‘Yes’. "


Flatteringly packaged requests are difficult to read. Although the other is certainly not pursuing any bad intent. How often do you lovingly ensnare your partner yourself so that he or she will do you a favor? Sometimes you don't dare to fall straight into the house with the door. Everything is human and most of the time you already know the manipulative tricks of his Pappenheimers. Nevertheless, always keep in mind that your demarcation determines how much you can develop your own needs.

6. Why questions explore the core of the lack of demarcation

“You could live a lot more relaxed if you accept yourself as you are and not as you think you should be. When you stop being afraid of doing or saying the wrong or bad, only then can you make a more relaxed decision in favor of the good. "

Theo Schoenaker, from: Courage is good "

Those who lovingly accept themselves as they are have a strong sense of self-worth and can clearly set themselves apart accordingly. But there is often a lack of self-esteem. The fear of not being loved, of disappointment, and of being rejected has a lot to do with childhood experiences and conditioning. This is why mindfulness is so important for demarcation. In mindfulness you pause, look at your thoughts and feel into your body what the situation or decision feels like. It is in these mindful moments that you realize what your real motivation is.

The lack of demarcation is largely based on fears

Try the why-questions once before saying “yes” the next time. As with an onion, you remove layer by layer and get to the core. For example:

Why do I take on the overtime on the job? ""Because I don't want to disappoint my boss. ""Why I don't want to disappoint my boss? ”“ Because I'm afraid of being fired. ”“ Why am I afraid of being fired? ”“ Because I don't trust my performance. ”“ Why don't I trust my performance? ” "Because I always have the feeling that I'm not good enough."

7. Consistency is required for demarcation

How often do you say “yes” and later revise your “yes” to a “no”? Well-intentioned at the beginning, your lack of consistent demarcation causes disappointment and anger. The other is disappointed in you and you are angry with yourself. In the long term, this also makes you untrustworthy. Consistent demarcation, on the other hand, ensures respect. Pay attention to the people who clearly demarcate themselves. How do you do that? Do you judge them for it or do you respect them?

Consistent, responsible action strengthens your self-esteem and lets you stand up for what you want more decisively. If you are used to aligning yourself with others, it is difficult at first, but you will soon feel your self-confidence growing. Take courage!

“It is sometimes uncomfortable to act responsibly. You have to stand by what you do. If you act responsibly, you return to your own door and keep answering the question: "What can I do now instead of being angry, feeling treated unfairly, as if paralyzed, waiting for solutions from outside?"

Theo Schoenaker, from: Courage is good "

8. Demarcation is half as wild

And then there are the many thoughts about what the other might think of you if you say "no": way too selfish, heartless, lazy, insensitive, not resilient etc. But seriously: What do you think when someone says to you: "I would rather not ..." Okay, maybe you are a little offended at first. But in the end, that "no" doesn't make any difference in your relationship. On the contrary, demarcation is important in a relationship. Demarcation strengthens our identity. Ultimately, demarcation strengthens the bond, even if we fear that this will endanger the bond. But in reality we value and respect the other when he is responsible for himself and stands by himself. That's far more attractive than a shapeless yes-man.

“Everyone is grateful for a clear announcement. Others can count on you to take care of themselves. That is the foundation of a relaxed atmosphere in a relationship or group. "

The first step for a successful demarcation is always a loving acceptance of yourself. Accept yourself as you are. Even in those moments when the demarcation does not yet work out. Distance yourself from your own judgment. Recognize mindfully, learn from it, accept lovingly and continue.

And that's enough. Now I practice consistent demarcation and finish my text. Point and end for todayJ.

  • I write myself a small list with the 8 tips in bullet points and hang it up at my workplace.
  • Every time I successfully demarcate myself, I consciously feel how it feels in terms of my self-worth.
  • I go on a search for clues: Which thought patterns keep preventing me from delimiting myself?