Boundaries are personal guidelines that define what is and isn’t okay in your relationships. They help you distinguish between where you end and someone else begins, so to speak, making it easier for you to maintain your values, beliefs, and personal space. Having firm Personal boundaries is essential to your overall well-being. They help you stay true to yourself and protect your time, energy, emotions, and physical space.
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They also enable you to establish healthy relationships with others. While it’s normal for boundaries to be tested from time to time, people who tend to have poor boundaries often struggle in relationships with others. If you’re wondering how to know if you have poor boundaries, here are nine red flags to watch out for.
1. You Don’t Feel in Control of Your Life:
Many factors contribute to your lack of control, and you may have difficulty knowing where to start with fixing things. It’s possible that people in your life aren’t respecting your needs. Or perhaps you’re not sure how to stand up for yourself. You might even be so used to others interfering in your life that it feels normal. You don’t realize there’s another way. In these cases, a lack of boundaries is at play, and unless you set some limits and assert yourself, it isn’t going to get better.
2. Personal Boundaries You Tend to Overshare:
If you feel the need to let everyone know how many problems you had last night or how much money you have in the bank, chances are high that your boundaries need some work. This is especially true if you make little effort to hide anything about your personal life from people who shouldn’t have access to that information. Others need to understand what you’re comfortable sharing with them and what’s off-limits. This can be difficult when you’re not used to set those limits for yourself.
3. You Feel Guilty About Small Things:
One of the clearest signs of having poor boundaries is feeling guilty about small things. If you feel bad for turning down a request to cats, fit your neighbor’s Kitty or if you feel guilty when someone asks you to grab a coffee sometime and you don’t try to make it happen, this is another sign of poor boundaries. It could be that you let other people walk all over you and take advantage of your time and energy, but it can also mean something much simpler. You may have trouble saying no.
4. Your Day is at the Mercy of Other People’s WHIMS:
If you regularly let others dictate how you spend your time, you likely don’t have strong boundaries. It can be difficult to say no to others, especially when we’re afraid of disappointing them or letting them down. As a result, we often take on extra tasks and projects at work where we’ve promised too much. This often comes at the expense of our own health and wellbeing, if you’re always putting other people’s needs before your own. It can quickly leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, and that doesn’t do anyone any good in the long run.
5. You Have a Hard Time Making Decisions:
When your boundaries are not strong enough to hold up against the opinions and advice of others. It can be very difficult to follow through on any decision. You can easily get pulled in many different directions or end up feeling paralyzed by indecision. You need to develop a stronger sense of self-worth and learn the value of setting firm boundaries to protect yourself from being treated poorly by others. Once you do that, you’ll no longer need approval or validation from other people when making a choice because it won’t matter what they think. You’ll be comfortable with who you are, regardless of their opinions.
6. You have a Fear of Rejection or Abandonment:
It can be hard to set boundaries with others even when you know you need them. This is especially true if you’re fearful of the person’s reaction. Perhaps you don’t want to hurt the other person, or maybe you’re afraid they’ll reject or abandon you if they feel like you’re not on their side. You could also be scared of being disliked by others or being judged for setting limits for yourself. Remember, you’re not responsible for other people’s feelings. You don’t have to explain yourself, and you’re allowed to say no when something doesn’t feel good or right for you.
7. You Find Yourself Making Excuses for other People’s Behavior:
Do you often make excuses for other people’s behavior, like telling yourself that they didn’t mean to insult you or that they were just joking rather than addressing the issue head-on? This is a sign that you have poor boundaries because it demonstrates that you’re willing to put your comfort and happiness below someone else’s. Poor boundaries often lead us to make excuses for others’ actions when those actions are actually negatively affecting us and should be addressed.
8. You have Passive Aggressive Tendencies:
Passive-aggressive behavior is another sign of poor boundaries. You might be passive-aggressive if in an effort to avoid conflict, you don’t express your anger or feelings directly, or if you try to get back at people without telling them why. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t actually solve anything because it doesn’t address the real issue, and it also makes other people feel confused and resentful.
9. Your Relationships are Difficult or Dramatic:
If your relationships are difficult or dramatic and filled with emotional ups and downs, codependency, whether physical or emotional, can be a sign that you have poor boundaries. The reason is simple. If you allow people to cross their boundaries out of fear of conflict, they will likely continue doing so. And if they get away with abusing your boundaries in small ways, they will eventually become comfortable doing it in more significant ways. If you don’t know your own limits and needs or how to express them, you are much more likely to be taken advantage of by others.
Having poor boundaries is a common problem that can lead to resentment in relationships and feelings of general anxiety or stress. Creating and maintaining healthy boundaries is one of the most important characteristics of emotionally healthy adults. That said, developing and maintaining healthy relationships is an ever-changing process which means you have to constantly set and reset boundaries. The good news is that it’s something that can be worked on with a little bit of effort. What do you think? How do you manage your boundaries? After reading this list, did you discover any weak areas? Share your thoughts and comments below.