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Check out our blogs! Get valuable information, tips and tricks for dealing with anxiety, overcoming depression and overall self-care!

How to Set Boundaries in Toxic Relationships

How to Set Boundaries in Toxic Relationships

October 23, 20233 min read

Setting boundaries is an important aspect of maintaining healthy relationships with friends and family members. Unfortunately, there are times when those closest to us can become toxic and may not respect our boundaries, leading to feelings of frustration, anger, resentment, and other negative emotions.

Let’s explore practical ways to set boundaries with toxic friends and family members! This often starts by learning how to identify unhealthy patterns, communicating assertively, and taking care of yourself during the process. In this post, I want to give you the tools you need to create healthy boundaries and maintain positive relationships with those around you.

As you probably have experienced, toxic relationships can be emotionally draining and even harmful to your overall well-being. Setting boundaries is how you can protect yourself from being hurt or taken advantage of, while still maintaining a relationship with the toxic person. Here are some steps to help you start setting those boundaries:

1. Identify the behavior that needs to be addressed. The first step in setting boundaries is to identify the behavior that is causing the problem. This could be anything from constant criticism to emotional manipulation. Once you have identified the behavior, you can start to set boundaries around it.

2. Set clear and direct boundaries. It's important to be clear and direct when setting boundaries. Don't beat around the bush or be vague. State exactly what behavior you will and will not tolerate, and what the consequences will be if the toxic person continues to push those boundaries.

3. Stick to your boundaries. Once you have set your boundaries, it's important to stick to them. Don't let the toxic person push you around or make you feel guilty for enforcing your boundaries. Remember that setting boundaries is not about being mean or selfish, it's about taking care of yourself and your own well-being.

4. Communicate your boundaries clearly and calmly. When communicating your boundaries, it's important to do so in a clear and calm manner. Don't get angry or emotional, as this will only escalate the situation. Instead, be firm but respectful. Use "I" statements to express how the toxic person's behavior makes you feel, and explain why you need to set these boundaries.

5. Limit your exposure to the toxic person. If the toxic person continues to push your boundaries or refuses to respect them, it may be necessary to limit your exposure to them. This could mean spending less time with them, or even cutting them out of your life completely. While this may be difficult, it's important to remember that your well-being comes first.

Setting boundaries in toxic relationships is not easy, but it's necessary for your own well-being. Taking care of yourself and your well-being is a top priority and that includes removing yourself from toxic situations and relationships. Surround yourself with positive and supportive individuals who uplift and empower you, and don't be afraid to seek professional help, if needed. With time and effort, you can establish healthy relationships and create a positive environment for yourself.

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Jeanne Prinzivalli

Jeanne Prinzivalli is a licensed psychotherapist working with adult individuals. She supports people on their journey to self-awareness, self-care and overall wellbeing.

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Jeanne Prinzivalli
Therapist + Coach

I help ambitious, anxious women learn how to trust and put themselves first, so they can stop burning themselves out trying to meet other people's expectations.

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