The Truth About Setting Boundaries With Family

the truth about setting boundaries with family
Setting boundaries with family is difficult at times. You can take steps to ensure your boundaries are observed. Setting good boundaries is a form of self-care

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TOPIC – New Things I have tried recently

The Truth About Setting Boundaries With Family

I thought of many topics I could choose for this week’s Weekly Wednesday Blog Challenge, but setting boundaries with family have undoubtedly been my biggest challenge recently. 

This is a complex topic because most people only want to think about boundaries once they have been crossed. Setting boundaries before there is an issue is best. 

Over the last year or so, my boundaries have seriously been challenged. I have had to really step back and evaluate how I deal with people and situations. 

I am a tranquil, non-confrontational person. It is hard for me to stand up for myself. Let me explain; My blog is about mental health, self-care, and the trauma I have endured. The trauma has caused me to be extremely timid. You can read my story here to learn more about my life. 

Signs you have poor personal boundaries 

Knowing the signs of poor boundaries with family members can help you to take positive steps towards improving your relationship dynamic. 

If you find that you often feel overwhelmed or drained after spending time with your family, this may be a sign that your personal boundaries are not being respected. 

For example, do family members often come to you for advice about their own problems but don’t seem willing to reciprocate when it comes to supporting yours? If so, this could signal that there is an imbalance in the relationship, and your boundary needs may not be met. 

Here are some more signs that you need help with your boundaries:

  • Taking on other people’s issues, 
  • Feeling guilty for trying to establish your boundaries, 
  • Changing your identity to fit in with certain people, 
  • Easily being “used” or taken advantage of
  • Having a hard time saying “no.” 
  • Taking little or no time for yourself because you over-commit to everyone else 
  • Lower self-esteem 
  • Putting other people’s needs before yours 

setting boundaries with family - Mom and Daughter standing back to back

Changing my situation by setting boundaries with family

My immediate family is exceptionally close; we treasure our time together. We watch movies, play games, cook together, and socialize when we are at home.

As hard as it is for me, I have finally found my voice and have set certain boundaries with my extended family. 

I would rather not be disturbed on my husband’s days off work. I have asked all extended family and friends not to call or text me on his days off which are Mondays and Tuesdays. I am sad to say that this has caused many arguments. 

Here are some tips for setting boundaries 

  1. Set your limits (identify them) 
  2. You need to inform people clearly
  3. Don’t apologize for your boundaries 
  4. Don’t be afraid to say “No.” 

How do you identify your boundaries?

Some boundaries are super easy; you don’t want a stranger physically touching your body. Some are much harder, like saying you don’t want your Mom telling you how to clean your house. 

I suggest sitting down and making a couple of lists. On the lists, write down things you love that bring you joy and all things you don’t like and stress you out.

These are the lists that you want to make

  • Family 
  • Romantic person
  • Friends
  • Work

Here are some examples of the types of things you want to add to your lists. 

setting boundaries with family - Pink and Purple info graphic

Of course, these lists would be a lot longer and more detailed. No one will see your list, so have no filter! Set it all out there so you know exactly where you want your boundaries to be. 

A crucial step is a clear communication.

Your family, Love, friends, and work will not respect your boundaries if they don’t even know what they are. It is not fair to you or them to not be precise. 

To ensure your needs are met, honest conversations about expectations are key. Both parties need to understand what behaviors will be accepted and what consequences will follow if those boundaries are crossed. It’s also helpful to talk through potential grey areas and develop solutions that allow everyone’s needs to be respected and valid. 

Although setting boundaries can seem intimidating, implementing them allows for an improved sense of security within your family dynamic and healthy personal growth for all involved.

Don’t apologize for your boundaries.

Once you have identified the boundaries, it is important not to apologize. It is natural for other people close to you, such as family members, may not understand or agree with your decision; however, this does not mean that these boundaries are wrong or unnecessary. 

Respecting yourself by standing your ground can help build self-confidence and create healthier relationships within your family dynamic. 

Remember that everyone needs time alone, and having healthy boundaries sends a message that you value yourself enough to take care of yourself first.

setting boundaries with family - daughter kissing Mom on the cheek

Don’t be afraid to say “No.” 

As much as we want to help and be there for family, it is essential to learn how to say no when needed to protect our own mental health and well-being. When saying no is hard, it’s important to remember that setting healthy boundaries isn’t a sign of disrespect; it’s an act of self-care.

Learning to politely say no is key to maintaining a balance between real-life relationships and personal goals. By being honest about what we can or cannot do without causing hurt feelings, we can avoid overcommitting ourselves and prioritize the most important things. 

Additionally, if you feel guilty about saying no, remind yourself that you have the right to decide what works best for you – even if it means disappointing someone else.

Conclusion in setting boundaries with family

Establishing boundaries can be tough, especially when family members may not agree with or understand them. Developing healthy lines of communication and respect between all family members is vital to successful boundary setting. 

The last few months have been trying while I am to establish my personal boundaries. I enjoy researching these blog posts because it helps me find answers for myself and my readers. 

Please comment with your thoughts on setting boundaries with family and like and share on social media.


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12 responses to “The Truth About Setting Boundaries With Family”

  1. Michael Mock Avatar

    That’s a really good area to be working on and trying new things in. Talk about paying long-term dividends… Setting boundaries is absolutely crucial for mental health. Here’s hoping it all goes well for you!

    1. Danielle Maxwell Avatar

      Hi Michael! Thank you so much!

  2. Kate Hill Avatar

    So true. There’s nothing wrong with doing what’s best for you.

  3. Tricia Schneider Avatar

    This is a helpful post. I need to work on boundaries, too. I sometimes have a tough time saying no. It’s something I’m working on.

    1. Danielle Maxwell Avatar

      Hi Tricia! Thank you! I have a hard time saying “no” also. A lot of times, when I am thinking about what I want to blog about, I think of something that I need help with, and then I am researching the subject and help myself and my readers!

  4. Patrick Prescott Avatar

    A few years ago, when most of my extended family lived in town this would have helped. Today It’s down to just wife, daughter and me. Son lives thirty miles away with his family, so we get together some, but mostly we’re on our own. Since my mother passed, I’ve missed all the demands she made on my time.

    1. Danielle Maxwell Avatar

      Hi Patrick, thank you. It’s hard to balance time for everything and mental health sometimes. I am trying these suggestions myself right now. Some are better

  5. Lydia Avatar

    I struggle with setting boundaries, too. You’re not alone there, and it does get easier over time (at least in my experience).

    1. Danielle Maxwell Avatar

      Hi Ms. Lydia! Thank you! I am sure things will mellow with time. It hurts when people who say they love you do not respect you

  6. George L Thomas Avatar

    This is a very relatable post for me, Danielle. Since my parents passed away fifteen years ago, I feel I’ve become the defacto parent to my siblings, if that makes sense. One, in particular, seems to be unable to take care of himself in the most basic of ways, so my personal boundaries are often crossed. I keep trying to redefine them, but as you know, it isn’t easy. I enjoyed reading this!

    1. Danielle Maxwell Avatar

      Hi George! Thank you! Crossed boundaries can come from everywhere! Family, friends, neighbors ….anyone.

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