10 thoughts on “Relationships: 12 Ways To Spot Unhealthy Boundaries

  • February 7, 2018 at 4:02 am

    Hi Tamara,
    Another great article–thank you for writing about this topic!
    I think that in general, boundaries can be hard to set and maintain–as you pointed out. I also think, if you have had your boundaries purposely violated as a child by someone who was supposed to protect you and teach you how to honor yourself and others with healthy boundaries, it can make things more complicated.
    Thankfully, with therapy, I am learning to set some boundaries for myself as well as to be mindful and respectful of boundaries others may set with me. I see some good improvement —especially in my awareness of others having boundaries. However I find it hardest to set boundaries WITH others in order to benefit myself –such as not over-extending myself, or not giving in to a family member who feels it’s “normal” that I should be available 24/7 and/or that because they are family, they have a right to know everything about me. I have nothing to hide, I just don’t feel comfortable being vulnerable around them because of what happened to me throughout my childhood!
    Today for instance, I had day surgery and was scheduled for arrival at 1 P.M. with surgery at 3. I was told about this last Thursday afternoon and immediately following my appointment, I began making arrangements as to who might be able to accompany me and also bring me home. I was feeling nervous and wanted someone I didn’t have to take care of for a change, someone who could be there for me–especially if I got bad news. However, I don’t have a lot of friends in terms of people I feel very safe with, comfortable asking for a favor, trust with potentially scary and confidential medical information etc.
    One friend told me she couldn’t get me there in time due to her work schedule but she COULD go there after to bring me home and/or spend some time with me if I’d made other arrangements for a ride home. I appreciated the offer and accepted it.
    Then that night my mom offered to drive an hour and twenty minutes each way to bring me there, sit with me/wait and then take me home. I love her dearly but find it difficult, scary and disappointing to be vulnerable around her–but I accepted gratefully. I don’t have a car to get myself there and also, they wouldn’t allow me to leave the hospital unaccompanied.
    In the end, to make myself feel a little less stressed I had instructed my doctor beforehand NOT to disclose any information –beyond the general stuff like “it went well,” “she’s in recovery” to mom or anyone. Then I felt–and STILL feel guilty for setting the boundary!
    Turns out, my not totally trusting was validated–albeit in a painful way. This morning, mom called me about an hour and ten minutes before I was due at the hospital to tell me she couldn’t make it. She had planned to take her husband to his doctor’s appointment and then come to get me –only to decide to do neither. She said she wasn’t feeling “that great” which meant I had to yet again face something scary with no one there. I was hurt but I got there by cab.
    And guess what? God gave me a nurse who is a Christian–AND is also named Lori!
    Don’t know any results of surgery yet. Dr. talked to me after but I have zero memory of it so will get a basic overview tomorrow–then wait for biopsy results!

    • February 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Lori,
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experiences. Always helpful here!
      I’m glad you found someone who shares your belief system because that offers more comfort and peace of mind than you may believe. It’s always emotionally comforting to have someone care for you who gets you and gets your life perspective.

      As far as boundaries go, I get why you would feel guilty about putting up a boundary. I used to experience this as well. But standing up for yourself can be scary because you don’t know how they are going to react and most people don’t react positively. My mom used to say “if you play with a dog too much, he will bite you.” That is true in terms of our relationships. If you let things stay the same for way too long, that person may test you and it will be difficult to put up that boundary. I think you and I talked about your relationship with your brother as being this way. There is little respect and it’s difficult for you to reinforce this for you and your mom.

      In some ways, being vulnerable may feel like a boundary violation in some ways. When it comes to our parents, like you and your mom, you may feel this way because she is the “authority” in your life and always has been. The natural boundary is that you are an adult and may not want to be that vulnerable at this stage in your life around her. It’s amazing how boundaries dictate our behaviors and relationships.

      Take care

  • February 14, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Very interesting and written miss Tamara Hill, I’ll remember your name. By the way, if you have a minute, do you make a difference between triangulation and splitting?
    Have a good day!

    • February 16, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      Hi Ben1963,
      Thank you so much! I’m glad you found it helpful.
      Triangulation is dramatic and often involves three people who play different roles. There is always a victim, rescuer (someone who rescues), and a persecutor (someone who points the fingers). Splitting can look like this as well. The only difference, for me, is that splitting involves two people who do not play roles. No one is in the 3 roles of triangulation. Everyone is just confused and being used.

      I hope that made sense! Some people may say both terms are one in the same.
      Take care

  • February 16, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Nice post.A relationship begins with mutual respect for each other. Begin with giving respect and never forget to give the same. Similarly, when the other person do not follow as you, then forgive that person.
    Anger is more harmful than the injury that caused it.

    • February 16, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Hi Asesh,
      Thanks for your comment. You are correct. Respect is the foundation of all relationships. I will be talking more about this next week.
      Take care

  • February 17, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Hello Ms. Tamara,

    Thank you for writing this helpful and informative article. Some years ago, I went through what seemed to be a very disturbing experience my last year of graduate school. I was attempting to complete my internship at a site whose director is very insight oriented as she repeatedly informed me, initially, that it is “very psychodynamic.”

    As the semester proceeded, I began to feel gaslighted among other things that I had begun to notice. One day near the end of the semester, she became real upset and was informing me how awful this experience of not passing my course must be. I felt as if she had taken things personally wich are things that she imagined to be the case. At this point, I realized that what my gut feeling had been picking up on all semester was correct.

    Moreover, some of the articles that you write about have been reminding me strongly of her character and temperament, that is, her personality. I still get chills everytime I read on this topic and how strongly it relates to what I remember of her.

    I thought the field of counseling was to teach how to provide a safe and supportive environment to clients and how valuable and important this is. Needless to say, I was able to move on and complete my internship requirement at another site.

  • February 21, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    Husband has PD and delusion an concrete thought process. When I try to share my feelings he puts in back on me. My fault. He a master in the silent treatment and pouting. He excepts no blame it’s always me. He is a master at pity party and holds a grudge.he thoughts are not always clear and he’s wrong so that stop conversation in its tracts. He loves me, needs me and can not live alone but does not think so. We married at 18 and nineteen.hes always controlled w silence!!!we have a phsychologist and counsoler, and dr plus some meetings. I can’t breathe. He wants me to stay home w him. He’s on depression med at it helps.💟

    • February 26, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      Hi Jan,
      I’m sorry to hear this. Thank you for commenting.
      It sounds like your husband does have a personality disorder that is exacerbated (or made worse by) his depression. You may find it helpful to become more knowledgeable about two concepts that individuals with personality disorders do.
      1. Gaslighting
      2. Stonewalling

      You might find articles on this topic on my site if you search. Otherwise, I encourage you to Google and read about it.
      I wish you well

  • June 17, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    I have a 17 year old daughter who is lying, manipulating and has forced my hand to choose between her or my husband. I got remarried two years ago after being single for ten years. He is good to her and she is disrespectful, makes her own rules and acts entitled. I’m heartbroken over her decision to move out and in with her boyfriend who doesn’t work, drives her car and has zero ambition. The law says she’s 17 and it’s a civil matter. If I make her come home, she’ll jist leave again. What does a mother do?


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