Book Chapter: The Six Biggest Mistakes

Every way you interact with others is a boundary style. Some of these ways of interacting create harmony and success. Others create problems. Most people (and please don’t be like most people) have no idea what style they are using or how they come across to others. They just blindly plow ahead. Glad when it works. And clueless when it doesn’t.

Here you will learn The Six Biggest Mistakes. These are The Six Boundary Problem Styles that create upset, pain and frustration. Once you learn to think about boundary styles, you can better choices for your relationship success at home and work, with family, friends and strangers.

(I recommend you PRINT out this long chapter and highlight the behaviors you have used in the past. People who change fastest are those who identify their damaging patterns and review that information three times over a three week period. Go for it! You can stop falling into these dances, if choose to do the work.)

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“Can I Trust Him?”


Dear Jovanna,

I have been dating a man for five months and we had agreed to not date other people. Recently my girlfriend found his profile on a dating website. When I told him I knew about it, he laughed and said it was nothing. That it was just a fun thing, he did once in a while for entertainment and I shouldn’t be worried.  He’s never lied to me before, but I don’t know whether or not to trust him. Can I trust him?  -Emily

Dear Emily,

People act like themselves. And you can trust this. From what you’ve told me so far, we can trust that, when you have a concern about his behavior, he will most likely disregard it. And we can trust he will minimize what is important to you.

What I am not trusting here is you. I am not trusting you to respect your own feelings, desires and relationship guidelines. I am not trusting you to speak up and tell him it is not okay for him to laugh at your concerns. I am not trusting you to tell him what you want and expect in a relationship.

Even if he is just doing this for fun (which I doubt) you don’t like it. Don’t get stuck in the endless loop of trying to get him to agree with you that there is something wrong with him going on dating sites when he has agreed to be monogamous. Either he is being very sneaky and lying or his view of committed relationships is severely different than yours. In either case, something is wrong.

You say he has never lied to you before,  but you will never know if he has or not. That’s what lying is. You have no power over whether or not he lies to you, but you do have control over how you let other people treat you.  You can speak up or you can be passive.  You can set limits or you can begrudgingly go along with things. You can keep showing up for more bad treatment or you can move on. That is up to you. Time to stop using The Invisible Boundary Problem Style.

I have a sneaking suspicion you have a bad habit of minimizing what want or need for fear of someone leaving you. Typically, this comes from low-self esteem help or fear of abandonment. Get thee to a therapist.

And in the meantime, it is time for a meeting with him. Let him know, while you respect that he has his own way of doing “monogamous” relationships, it just doesn’t work for you. And you choose to be in a relationship with someone who presents himself publically, privately and on-line as not available. Calmly, tell him while he has every right to continue being on dating sites as much as he wants- it just won’t be with you as his girlfriend. Calmly, tell him he has two weeks to decide what he is going to do. And, for those two weeks you are taking a break from seeing him.

If you feel at all anxious about not seeing him for two weeks, this is a sure sign of your abandonment issues. Your regressed “little girl” self has been in charge of your relationship decisions. She is still trying to get love from her absent dad (or mom) via your latest boyfriend. The pattern repeats on into adulthood.

By the way, I bet there are a number of other things he does that don’t fit your description of your perfect mate. A “committed” guy who thinks being on dating sites is okay, is usually someone who has not grown up yet. Do you want to be dating a perpetual teenager or a man?

Think about it, Jovanna



Are You Being Manipulated?

Do other people pull your strings? Do you end up doing things you didn’t really want to do? Once you learn the five most common manipulative moves, you won’t be such a pushover next time.

Manipulative Move #1 – The Abandonment Move

This is when someone emotionally, energetically or physically separates from you when you don’t do what she wants you to do. Sometimes she pulls away, sulking or pouting.  Sometimes she uses a dramatic flourish and stomps out of the room.  And other times it’s done with a nonchalant ” Well, I don’t really care anyway” attitude as she “casually ” and the conversation and leaves.  Aren’t these great?

The goal of this move is to make you feel anxious. It preys on your unconscious fears of being left and abandoned.  Mommy!

Manipulative Move #2 – The Alpha Move

With this move your friend is trying to be dominant and control the situation.  Just like the alpha dog, he gets more persistent, louder or more aggressive to set up a dominant/submissive dynamic.  And, you are supposed to give in.

The goal of this move is to make you feel afraid or overwhelmed.  It preys on your fear of conflict.  You begin to tell yourself that what you want is just not worth it. Arf!

Manipulative Move #3 – The Victim Move

With this move, your friend acts one down, hurt and wounded.  She implies you are harming her if you don’t do what she wants.  The message is, you are selfish or mean if you don’t give her what she wants. Poor thing!

The goal of this move is to make you feel anxious or guilty.  It preys on your unconscious fear that you are not good enough and your terror of being seen as selfish or uncaring.

Manipulative Move #4 – The Persecutor

This move is when someone attacks you when they don’t get their way. It might be verbal with putdowns , sarcasm, ridicule or threats of attack.  It might be physical with grabbing, shoving or hitting.  Or, the physical violence could be someone smashing a wall or throwing things. Either way, message gets across just the same.

The goal of this move is to scare and intimidate you so you will do what he wants.   It is very important to confront this move the very first time you see it happen, even if it is on a very small level. It is a damaging and potentially dangerous dynamic.

Manipulative Move #5 – The Martyr Move

This is when someone shares a laundry list of things she has done for you and ways . She has suffered for you or others.  It is an attempt to paint a picture of how unfairly she has been treated and to prove you owe her something.

The goal of this move is to make you feel anxious or guilty for not doing what she wants.  It preys on your fear of being seen as a bad person.   And, if you are afraid of someone thinking you are uncaring or mean, this is the perfect move to use on you. Ha, ha!

Look back at situations where you felt pressured or manipulated. Was someone using one of these moves? In the future, if you decide to compromise, I want it to be because you felt good and grounded and safe. And from that place of confidence and self-love you made your decision.

Regression (1 of 3)


This is part 1 of your Regression Tutorial. Regression is the reason for most relationship problems. Most people have no idea what it is, how they do it and how to stop it. But not you, you are diving in to change this sabotaging dynamic. Be sure review these regression videos several times. Take notes. And, sign up for the Jovanna’s Jump Newsletter, so you are first to receive other coaching, insights and transformational methods. There are more to come! Cheers, Jovanna