5 Ways Lacking Boundaries Harms your Mental Health

5 Ways Lacking Boundaries Harms your Mental Health

By Victoria Fantom

4 minute read

Have you ever had trouble telling others how you feel about their behavior towards you? Have you ever struggled with saying no, even when you really want to? If you answered yes, you may be struggling with setting boundaries in your life. Healthy boundaries are a way in which we communicate how we want to be treated by others. It is setting a limit by drawing a line between you and another person, based on core beliefs, values, and perspectives. Setting boundaries is a form of self-care and is crucial in protecting your mental health. 

There are different types of boundaries, such as: emotional, physical, intellectual, and mental. Setting boundaries strengthens relationships because there is clear communication about what you are okay with and what you are not okay with. It enables you to have mutual understanding and respect for not only the individual, but also for yourself. Not setting boundaries can lead to burnout and resentment. Here are 5 ways in which lack of setting boundaries harms your mental health:

  •  Your relationships are strained.

  • Setting boundaries is crucial to healthy relationships because it allows for honesty, openness, and vulnerability. When there is a lack of boundaries, it causes you to give more in your relationships than you get out of them. This will harm your mental health because healthy relationships help you to live a happy life with significantly reduced levels of stress.

  •  Your self-esteem is harmed.

  • Creating a boundary feels very empowering, which can also boost your self-esteem. Usually, when you lack boundaries, you lack self-esteem. For this reason, simply working on ways to boost your self-esteem will help you set healthy boundaries that you were lacking in the first place. One way you can boost your self-esteem is by using positive affirmations. When you set boundaries, you are being your most authentic self, which increases your self-esteem.  

  • You are putting other people’s needs before your own.

  • When there is a lack of boundaries in your life, you may tend to put other people's needs before your own. You may struggle with feeling responsible for other people’s feelings. Due to becoming overburdened with this responsibility, you may put others' needs first and neglect your own, which could harm your mental health


  • It makes you question your sense of identity.

  • When you allow others to take advantage of you or cross your boundaries, you can lose your sense of self. When you lack boundaries in your life, you begin to question who you really are. Whereas when there is a strong sense of self-identity, you truly understand yourself.  By understanding what you want and what you value, you will be able to set healthy boundaries more easily. 

  • It affects your ability to make decisions in your life.

  • When you are lacking boundaries, decision-making can be difficult. This is because there is a loss of communication and inability to fully relate to people or situations. It causes you to have a hard time deciding what to do, or what you want. This makes it feel impossible to make decisions, even simple ones. 

    Key Takeaways:

    Boundaries are not about right and wrong. They are about protecting your own peace, boosting your mental health, and showing others that you respect yourself, so they respect you. Boundaries are not permanent and are able to be adjusted as needed. Lacking boundaries causes harm to your mental health and for this reason, it is important to become self-aware of this in order to set boundaries in your life.

    It is important to remember that setting boundaries is not intended to limit the happiness in your life, but to protect it. It provides balance in your life and in your relationships. Setting boundaries may not always be easy, but it is always necessary. 

    By setting boundaries, you will boost your mental health, well-being and quality of life.

    Here are a few ways you can set appropriate boundaries in your life:

    • Self-reflecting
    • Being clear in your communication
    • Learning how to say no
    • Being transparent
    • Being consistent 

    If you are interested in learning about if you are lacking boundaries in your life, Anxietycentre offers a free test with instant results to see if you are struggling with setting boundaries necessary to sustaining a healthy life and maintaining healthy relationships. 

    Once you start setting boundaries, you will find yourself happier, healthier, and more fulfilled.  What is one boundary that you can implement today?


    Victoria Fantom, MS in Clinical Psychology


    Victoria Fantom is a mental health advocate and recently obtained a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology degree. Due to her own personal struggles, she has always been passionate about bringing change to a world where stigma is surrounding mental health. She is passionate about helping others who are struggling with their mental health by promoting psychoeducation and resources.