Not sure if you have poor boundaries? Here are 12 signs to look out for

Do you struggle to make decisions? Do you say yes and regret it later? Or feel pressured to complete others’ work before your own?

Especially as second generation immigrants, and particularly for second generation women, we’re expected to put others above ourselves. Their needs, helping other people and taking care of our family. They are all things that are expected of us, without thinking about our own responsibilities and health.

I have a podcast episode all about this topic – so check it out here.

Boundaries – Do you need them?

Having boundaries was never a topic that was brought up in my household. My parents always worked super hard, came home and went above and beyond to provide for us.

But yes! Boundaries, however strict, are necessary.

💫 They communicate what is important to you.
Your values are demonstrated through your boundaries. If you value your time, you’ll have more boundaries around that. If your health is important, you won’t let anyone mess around with that.

💫 They clearly define how you’d like to be treated.
It’s not about them. It’s about you. Whether you want unannounced guests showing up. Or your friends consistently showing up late to planned meetups. Having a conversation about that would make the expectation clear.

💫 They allow you to strengthen your relationships.
The first thoughts about establishing boundaries, is normally about anger, disagreements or annoyance. But let’s not get it to that point. Communicating and establishing your boundaries earlier prevents you bottling it up and exploding at the other person.

12 signs of having poor boundaries

1️⃣ Overextending yourself

You overwork, take over the responsibilities for a lot of household chores, you go out of your way to do things for other people, you’re always the initiator in your friend group.

Doing allllll of these extra things leaves you super busy, stressed and exhausted. Despite how much sleep you get, how well you eat and how much you exercise, you’re constantly tired.

You’re always giving your energy away, tending to everyone else.

You might even feel responsible for how others feel. Thinking about how they’re feeling, what they might be thinking (which is the worst!), whether they’re having a good time or whether they’re comfortable.

2️⃣ Lost sense of self

This is when you’re unsure of who you are, what you enjoy or the career that you want to pursue.

It’s because you’ve spent so much of your time doing what others (your elders and other wise people we should respect!), that you don’t know what you want, or what you enjoy and what matters to you.

What tends to happen with second generation immigrants, is that they become trapped in the typical life that’s expected from them, not thinking twice about whether it’s what they truly want.

3️⃣ Indecision

You might go to everyone else for their opinions and advice, instead of trusting yourself to know what’s best. And what’s worse! You might ask for their opinion even if you don’t completely agree with their beliefs.

Trusting your elders is a normal thing we do as second generation women. So you tend to go to wiser, more experienced people for advice and disregard your own inner wisdom and self trust.

4️⃣ Feeling resentful, frustrated and/or annoyed

You might feel that the situation is unfair, that you’re doing more than the other person, that you’re taking on more responsibilities.

You might regret saying yes to helping them and don’t want to complete the task that you had initially agreed to take on. Or complain about it as you’re doing it.

You might feel disrespected, overlooked or taken advantage of, and this ruins the relationship that you’ve grown with the other person.

5️⃣ You expect others to know why you’re upset

This builds onto the previous point.

When you feel upset, you might want the other person to pick up on it straight away, without you needing to communicate it or confront the issue.

But this is just an endless loop of miscommunication because other people aren’t mind readers. So your thoughts and feelings are bottled up and you might explode, or at least reluctantly help them again,

6️⃣ Being passive aggressive

Are you not clear or direct? And instead go a roundabout way or use an ineffective way to communicate what you really want?

The previous sign hinted at some degree of passive aggression. You feel out of control and taken advantage of so you try to gain some power back.

You try to be somewhat aggressive so that they get the message. But you’re also trying to be ‘nicer’ at the same time so they don’t get offended. What this does is instead is it makes the message very unclear.

7️⃣ Fear of rejection

This could stem from your childhood, where your immigrant parents set conditions for their love. When you do something worthy of praise, like get good grades at school or behave the way they want, then you receive their love. Their kind words, presents, special food, whatever that is.

But when you don’t deliver, you might have been criticise, blamed or compared to people who are ‘better’ than you. This just makes you super cautious about how you behave and speak around other people, becoming super useful and overextending yourself, in order to maintain relationships.

8️⃣ Overly concerned with what others think of you

This sign links back to the previous point, where you’re worried about being judged and how other people perceive you.

You don’t like hurting others’ feelings or having people not like you, so you remain passive and just agree with what they want you to do. That way, there’s less of a reason for them to judge you negatively or not like you.

9️⃣ You’re always behind on your work

You might do everyone else’s work first before your own, so it just piles up.

You feel like you can’t risk completing it late and letting them down, or just want to get it to them as soon as possible in case they need it.

So you work others’ work at the expense of your own responsibilities and sanity.

🔟 Accepting things even when you don’t want them

Believe it or not, but a lack of boundaries can also show up when you receive things too, not just when you’re giving.

You might be obliged to accept a random gift or invitations, even if you don’t want to. You might feel like it’s rude, ungrateful or unappreciative if you were to say no thanks.

1️⃣1️⃣ You can’t make exceptions or be flexible

If you cut people out of your life and don’t give second chances when someone does something that offends you or goes against your values.

1️⃣2️⃣ You mostly have only surface level relationships

You might be afraid of being vulnerable, judged or taken advantage of so you’re more wary of each situation. You keep conversations shallow and don’t want to share your personal experiences or how you’re truly feeling

These are the signs that indicate whether you might need to work on your boundaries in certain aspects of your life.

Here’s a FREE guide to help you communicate your boundaries ⤵️

Tell me – Which area of your life needs clearer boundaries?

Have a listen to the full podcast episode 👇 for more elaboration.

Van Anh

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