Boundaries Suck

Are you confused about the state of your boundaries? Are they too weak, too rigid, or non-existent? Are you consciously setting them at all? 

Today, I’m sharing the top 7 signs your boundaries need some work. Consider this a little guided tour through the symptoms of disordered boundaries with me, your boundary boss GPS! If you could use some clarity about the state of your boundaries, this episode is for YOU. 

Remember, if your boundaries do kinda suck right now, first, you’re not alone, and second, it’s never too late to learn this life-changing skill set. When you do, you will become more empowered in your relationships and, most importantly, you will be free to align your behaviors to create the life you want and deserve. Sound good?

Now before we jump in here, let’s get on the same page: this list isn’t another reason for you to be unkind to yourself. It’s an awareness-raising exercise to empower you to learn more about yourself so you can see where you might need to put your focus. You’ve got to know what to fix before you can fix it, right? Right. 

Here are the 7 Signs Your Boundaries could use some TLC:

1. You’re exhausted.

Disordered boundaries cause a specific kind of exhaustion. It takes an enormous amount of bandwidth to say yes when you want to say no, to hold back your authentic truth, and to constantly put everyone else’s needs before your own. It can manifest as mental, emotional, and even physical exhaustion. When you have disordered boundaries, you are working overtime without creating your desired outcome.

2. You’re resentful.

Take a quick scan of how resentful you feel and with whom. Feelings of resentment are a telltale sign of a boundary being crossed or a need going unmet. If you are harboring quite a bit of resentment, I promise you, your boundary skills could definitely use a boost! 

3. Your relationships are unbalanced.

Are you overgiving, overworking, or doing more of your share in any of your relationships? Does it feel like it’s all on you to keep the people in your life happy or content? In healthy relationships there is mutuality. If you’re feeling like one or more of your relationships are out of balance, creating clear, concise boundaries and learning how to effectively communicate them is the path to more equity and satisfaction across the board. 

4. You ruminate…a lot. 

Rumination is replaying difficult, frustrating, or painful experiences in your mind. You might find yourself thinking of what you would have said or done differently or reliving negative situations. Maybe in the moment, you acted like everything was fine, but now thinking back on it, you can’t believe how entitled/nervy/idiotic “Betty” behaved. This could be a red flag that your boundaries are out of order. Keep in mind when you ruminate after the fact, you are activating your nervous system’s fight or flight response and releasing stress hormones. 

I recently did a blog on how to shift from rumination into self-reflection, so if this resonates with you, definitely check out that resource right here. 

5. You talk shit about people.

Time to get honest with yourself. When you have a not-so-great experience with someone, do you then turn around and talk to someone else about it instead of addressing the person directly? If you do – don’t be ashamed or embarrassed – we all do it at times. But, if you do it a lot, take note. It’s unhealthy and can be toxic to your relationships. Talking behind other people’s backs in this way is called triangulation and it is not an effective way to problem-solve. Dysfunctional communication patterns can indicate better boundaries need to be put in place. 

6. You can be super judgemental. 

If you’re not great at communicating or prioritizing your wants, needs, desires, and preferences, you might feel some kind of way about people who DO put themselves first. What comes up for you when you see others being assertive or direct? Do you ever think things like, “Wow, how selfish,” or “Ugh, what a bitch”? I invite you to get curious and instead of looking outside of yourself, look within. When you begin to explore your inner feelings, you might discover what you really want is the strength and the skill to assert yourself and prioritize YOU (just like those you’re judging). Healthy boundaries are the key. 

7. You’re passive-aggressive. 

Passive-aggressive communication is indirect communication. It can be verbal like, “I’m fine, I’m just tired,” when you’re not fine or it can be a physical expression, like a heavy sigh or shutting a door a little too hard. There are only two ways of communicating: effective and ineffective. Effective communication is direct. Ineffective communication is indirect. So instead of saying what’s on your mind or telling someone how you feel, you might make a sarcastic comment or roll your eyes. That’s passive-aggressive and it’s dysfunctional. Part of becoming a Boundary Boss is taking 100% responsibility for directly communicating what is and isn’t ok with you.

Empowering women to step into their most bad-ass, Boundary Boss selves is something I am deeply committed to (so much so, I wrote an entire friggin’ book on it!) because this work changes lives. There are many reasons you might not currently be fluent in the language of boundaries, and that’s ok. You can’t know something you were never taught, but you CAN learn. 

The first step is to overcome specific boundary struggles and begin to shift your unhealthy patterns is to understand your boundary baseline. After years of being in the trenches with my therapy clients, I discovered there are 6 specific boundary styles. Learning your style is how you can start to truly honor your needs, desires, and preferences.

I’ve created a free assessment to help you identify your unique boundary style and all you gotta do is go to boundaryquiz.com and take it! Then, tag me on social @terricole and let me know what you learned about yourself! 

I hope this provided some clarity and value today and as always, take care of you. 

Here are some more ways I can support you:

PRE-ORDER MY NEW BOOK BABY! Boundary Boss is THE essential guidebook for authentically expressing your desires, setting healthy limits and bringing more satisfaction, joy and peace into all of your personal and professional relationships. There are super JUICY bonuses when you pre-order, so what are you waiting for?

TAKE THE BOUNDARY STYLE QUIZ  I always say, ya can’t change anything until you become aware of it, so take the quiz and discover your unique boundary style! 

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  1. Hi Terri,
    I discovered you today through Marie Forleo. I found your videos and this one popped out and “spoke to me”. If a candle had five ends (whatever) I am burning it at all ends right now. I could yell yes to all these 7 things. But, I am sort of afraid to drop any of the things that I am juggling in order to bring about the the change that needs to happen. I am a very self-aware, highly educated (M.Div.) person but I have a chronic illness, and work two part-time jobs while working my own business, and I am feeling exhausted and super irritable and judgmental. I want to drop the two jobs and put that energy and time back into my business, but at that point where it is scary to lose that financial income when my business isn’t giving me that…but my business won’t until I do….[see merry-go-round?] Anywho…sorry for vomiting on your blog. Just needed to vent, I suppose. This hit home. Ugh.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thank you SO much for sharing this! You certainly are burning that candle at any and all ends ? it’s incredible that you’re such a hard worker, but I think it’s also important to ask yourself what your goals are, and how you can achieve them without the inevitable burnout that you’re feeling now. Could you reduce your hours at one of the part-time jobs? Where are you putting your energy when you’re not working? How are you caring for yourself? Keep in mind that while it’s admirable to be a hard worker, you don’t want your entire life to only be work ❤️

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