Updated: Oct 23, 2020
Boundaries are vital for any system to function properly. Business agreements, contracts, and marriage oaths are all examples of estabished boundaries. These agreements help the system run properly and give those involved a blue print of the expectations that are being agreed upon. When we lack boundaries, have poor boundaries, or fail to enforce boundaries, this can cause a breakdown in the system. These same values hold true for relationships. If we fail to implement and enforce certain boundaries, we can experience poor functioning over time. This can look like an increase in stress and anxiety, decrease in a desire to connect, and a series of unsuccessful relationships. Unhealthy boundaries are learned at an early age so don't beat yourself up if you struggle in this area. It takes mindfulness and a strategic plan to correct this issue but it can be corrected. The first step is to understand how poor boundaries show up in your relationships. Below is a list of things that you may experience if you have poor boundaries within your relationship dynamics.
1. Feel exhausted, invisible, irritated, or anxious is major relationships.
You have a tendency to always give too much or go above and beyond even at the expense of self. You ask for little due to not wanting others to “feel how you feel”. May constantly feel used or depleted in major relationships. People who fall under this category can experience serious health issues over time. Stroke and heart attack have been directly linked to those who experience higher stress levels over an extended period of time. Saying "No" and finding a healthy balance of give and take is going to be vital if you struggle in this area. Learn to prioritize your wellbeing and speak with a mental health professional to gain insight on root mindsets that have reinforced this way of "showing up" for others.
2. Lack a desire to connect with others out of fear of being used or taken advantage of.
Your habit of always giving too much and requiring too little has caused you to view relationships and people in general in a negative way. If you fall under this category then you probably have had a series of negative relationships that have left a bad taste in your mouth about relationships and people in general. You may lack trust in your ability to form a healthy relationship due to past history of trial and error. Gaining more insight on your attachment style and core mindsets that reinforce unhealthy boundaries is going to be vital if your struggle in this area. Once you can become more aware of your trends and implement and enforce more healthy boundaries you will see a drastic change in your relationship dynamics.
3. Lack close relationships
You have unrealistic expectations and tendencies to cut people off when they don’t live up to them. Expect others to reciprocate poor boundaries. If you fall under this category then you may have experienced all of the traits listed above. Your unrealistic expectations cause turmoil and trouble when you try to connect with those who have healthier boundaries in place. You have been conditioned to see unhealthy boundaries as the standard and when others don't reciprocate, you become resentful. In order to develop and maintain healthy relationships, you must recognize the unrealistic expectations that you are putting on yourself and others. Recognizing unhealthy boundaries will be a vital step if you struggle in this area.
These are just a few of the more extreme ways that unhealthy boundaries can show up in relationships. There are more subtle ways that can impact your day to day as well. Healthy boundaries are extremely beneficial to help reduce stress and anxiety. If you need more assistance with how to identify, implement, and enforce boundaries inquire now at www.trust2change.com for more information on how we can assist you.