Last year, I had poor boundaries and my mental health was severely affected. So I decided-finally- to set boundaries and stick with them.
I did the work for people to achieve goals instead of giving them the tools to do it themselves. I would become stressed out, anxious and overall irritable! The only thing I knew to do was to control what I could.
Before, I was able to set effective boundaries, I had to learn why it was important to do so. If you have poor boundaries your mental health will be affected! How do poor boundaries affect your health? I am glad you asked!
How Poor Boundaries Affect Mental Health:Your stress will increase.
When you continuously put others needs above your own, you are not getting what you need. I often inform others that if you are a cup full of nothing eventually will not be beneficial for others. The worse case scenario: your cup gets filled with stress, obligation, unmet expectations, irritability, frustration… and that is what you are pouring into the other individual.
Watch one of my favorite Ted Talks: Sarri Gilman on “Good Boundaries Free You”
With increased stress comes many mental and physical health issues. Stress causes high blood pressure, hair loss, anxiety, irritability and depression. When you become stressed, your cortisol level increases and affects your ability to function properly. High stress can cause shrinking in the brain which can impact your memory and learning.
Yes it is that serious!
How Poor Boundaries Affect Mental Health: Your relationships will be frustrating
Boundaries are the limits we set on ourselves and others within a relationship, you are able to say no and open up in a healthy way. When you have poor boundaries you do not have limits for yourself and have difficulty saying no.
You will likely have frustration within your relationships as you will often feel overextended and like there is nothing left for yourself. By that I mean that you have no energy, no motivation or drive to care for yourself and your future.
It becomes frustrating to care about a person more than they care for themselves. What is interesting is that the more you do for someone, the more you are setting an expectation and enabling their behavior.
If I am used to you washing my clothes, my dishes and fixing my food, I will become accustomed to it and expect it.
Since I expect you to do it, I am no longer going to do it.
How Poor Boundaries Affect Mental Health: You will lack self care
Poor boundaries with others-as stated before- will leave less for you. Think of your cup (you are the cup) and you are filling it with stress, poor self care habits, poor boundaries and the like. What do you think you are pouring into others?
You should mean more to yourself. As a professional helper, I totally get it. We want to see individuals in our life do the best. The issue with that is: we see potential not reality. When we see potential we put our lives on hold to help others.
Did that even sound right? You lack care for yourself!
So How Do I Set Healthy Boundaries?
Know Your Limits
When setting your boundaries, you must know around about where they need to be placed. I say “around about” because initially your boundaries will not be exactly right for you. You will need to know what your limits are and what you are willing to be lenient on. Once you know your limits and where to begin setting your boundaries, you need to…
When initially setting your boundaries many people will not be happy. I cannot blame them, I would be unhappy as well. If I became dependant on you behaving or allowing behaviors and then it changes it would be a difficult change to make.
What makes things more difficult, is when you are inconsistent. When I do not know what to expect from you, I will consistently keep pushing your boundaries, until I get what I want. When you are consistent, I know what to expect and will not try repetitively to push your boundaries.
If I push your buttons enough you will give me what I want or need. However, when you are firm on your boundaries, I will come to respect what it it. Individuals who do not respect your boundaries need consistent firm reminders that you are not going to tolerate it. When someone disregards your boundaries they are disregarding your feelings. Remember, if you have no boundaries you have nothing left for you (or what is left is not good).
What are some boundaries you are having difficulty setting? How can I help?
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