3 Barriers to Setting Boundaries

3 Barriers to Setting Boundaries

Most of us at some time in our life will have trouble setting boundaries with family, friends, employers or even with the family dog.  This could look like you going to Christmas with in laws who are toxic.  Neither of you want to go but you do because your in laws are great at manipulating you through guilt.  Or what about the boss who gives you too much work and has too high of expectations…and at the last minute puts high pressure on you to get it done?  Does any of this sound familiar?

If you think about it, Setting Boundaries is a type of self-care.  It is a way of telling yourself and others that your needs are important. Without boundaries in your life, you are constantly having to sacrifice your own well-being in order to keep the peace within your relationships. This can cause you to feel drained, misunderstood, and unappreciated.

If you are unable to set and keep healthy boundaries you may feel overwhelmed, used and feel stuck and uncertain of what to do. When you have a history of letting people dictate your actions, feelings, and emotions it can be difficult to step away from those tendencies.  The good news is You CAN do it.  Identifying what is standing in your way can be your first step in creating healthy boundaries in your life.   Read on to discover three barriers that may be keeping you stuck.

3 Barriers to Setting Boundaries

  1. Fear

One barrier that might be standing in your way when creating boundaries is fear.

There are a variety of things that might make you fearful when creating healthy boundaries with others. The first one is the fear of rejection. You might be afraid that this person will no longer want to be in your life or will no longer need you after setting boundaries with them.

You might also be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, if you set boundaries with this individual it might cause them to be upset. If this is something that you fear, try this next time.   Remind yourself that you are not in control of their reaction.  And thankfully, you are not responsible for their emotions or for making them feel better.  The most loving thing you can do is set boundaries so you can show up to life and relationships as the most healthy version of yourself.  And setting boundaries is loving for you and for them.  You are educating them and yourself that you both have value and what you will and will not tolerate.   And, you can do this in a respectful and loving way most of the time.

  1. Guilt 

Your own guilt could be standing in your way when setting boundaries. For example, there might be someone who is struggling in life and you feel like you need to be there for them. Just because you set boundaries doesn’t mean you can’t support them.  It might look different then what they are used to but, in this case, you are valuing yourself as well.  To make steady progress, It’s important that you do not let the other person’s resistance to your boundaries stop you.

  1. You Don’t Know Where to Start

Not knowing where to begin can keep you from forming healthy boundaries. When you are not used to setting boundaries with others it might feel unnatural, confusing, and overwhelming.

Practical Tips to Setting Boundaries

  • Writing them down can give you a clear outlook and can be used as a guide when having a conversation with a person.
  • Set a specific time to have this conversation. This will help you follow through with it and not have to feel rushed or as though you are blind siding someone.
  • Another helpful tip is to have an accountability partner. This is someone who is aware of the boundaries you have set and is willing to hold you to them.
  • Lastly, don’t be afraid or surprised if you have to reiterate your boundaries.

Be patient with yourself and remember that your needs and wants are important.

If you found this helpful and want to move forward to heal and explore what your best next steps are then we are here for you.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk with you through the pain and help you heal and make sense of what to do next.  You don’t need to walk this path alone because we are here to help.  You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at to learn more about how we can best help you.



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Oklahoma City, OK 73120


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