A woman sleeps under a mosquito net

How to set an emotional boundary

What to do when your partner offends or hurts you.

I’ll often say to a client, “Put on your mosquito net.” 

The “Mosquito Net” is a technique you can use whenever your partner says something that offends or hurts you, or makes you feel defensive.

This technique involves using the power of your imagination. 

How do you do it? 

The “Mosquito Net” Technique

First, you imagine a mosquito net covered with tiny holes, so small that a mosquito couldn’t get through, but plenty big for the air you need to breathe. Second, you put the net over your head.

With your mosquito net on, you have the choice to only let through the bits of what your partner says that ring true for you. As you listen to your partner, you can let the net deflect any of parts of their story that don’t resonate. 

When you practice wearing your imaginary mosquito net, you’ll learn to feel protected from your partner’s angry tone of voice or defiant body language. 

For example, let’s imagine your partner says, “You’re spending too much money.”

This is a good time to put on your mosquito net.

Taking Responsibility

What parts of what your partner is saying can you take responsibility for? With your net on, you’ll listen to what they have to say, ask clarifying questions, and seek examples. 

Your partner might say, “You always spend more than we have. Always!” 

Since you know this isn’t the case, you just imagine these words bouncing off the net back into the ether. They don’t get through. They won’t penetrate your soul.

However, you might also recognize a grain of truth. Let that in and take responsibility where you can. You might say, “I have hit the Starbucks a lot this week, I can pare it down. Let’s look at the budget together.” 

The mosquito net is an amazing technique. Try it! It can protect you from painful bites while you stay grounded in your truth. 

For many more techniques to help you set healthy boundaries with your partner, click the button above.