There are many reasons why people are unable to set clear boundaries with others within their lives.
Some of the reasons include but aren’t limited to living in an unstable environment, living in emotionally and physically abusive and at times violent environment, Unclear boundaries and respect shown in childhood.
Having Low self-confidence and lack of self-worth can cause difficulty in knowing how to create and manage healthy relationships. As a result, the way we manage all relationships within our life can cause us distress.
Unhealthy boundaries can be seen as:
- Not being able to say no, due to fear of rejection and abandonment
- Putting others needs before your own and feeling resentful
- Sharing too much too soon, before establishing mutual trust
- Allowing people to treat you in an abusive manner and in a disrespectful way
- You absorb other people’s feelings
- Reliance on other people’s opinions, feelings and ideas, more than your own
- compromising your values and beliefs to please or avoid conflict with others
Learnt behaviour and beliefs are acquired over time and they become our security, to change or even to challenge them can be difficult and take you out of your comfort zone.
As a result, when we are at our most vulnerable, we turn back to learnt behaviours and beliefs, back into our comfort zone even if this is damaging and causing us distress.
Healthy boundaries look like:
- Being able to say no or yes and being okay with your choice
- Accepting other people’s rejection as their choice and not a personal attack
- Developing a strong sense of identity and respecting yourself
- Not settling in relationships with the bare minimum
- Recognising when problems are yours and when they are others
- After developing mutual and a trusting relationship you share information gradually
- Nurturing yourself
- Communicating your own needs, feelings and wants clearly
- Valuing your own opinions and feelings as much as others
- Relying on your own internal validation rather than external
- Knowing your limits and asking for help when required
Talking therapy allows you to recognise what your unhealthy boundaries are and gives you the change to explore how they are affecting your self-confidence and self-worth. With the support of a counsellor, you can start to acquire healthy boundaries after challenging and changing the unhealthy ones.