One of the defining characteristics of an empath is being highly compassionate toward others, usually to a fault! This often means we put our own needs aside for other people. As an empath, it’s what you’ve been conditioned to do. And it’s not unusual for the individuals on the receiving end of an empath’s compassion to take advantage of the leg up, either, whether done consciously or not.
First, this is never a healthy dynamic. And if you’ve landed in one-way relationships over and over again, you probably stink at setting boundaries! But empaths can learn to set boundaries like anyone else (and they should!)
What Do Poor Boundaries Look Like?
Remember, not everyone who crosses your boundaries has a character flaw like narcissism, though some defiantly do. People, in general, need to learn their limits in any situation or relationship. Not having good boundaries means you’re in an “allowing energy” where you have little power over your circumstances.
If you have poor boundaries, you may display characteristics like:
- People pleasing
- Mental exhaustion from other people’s problems
- A lost sense of self
- Feeling resentful
- Passive aggressiveness
- Fear of abandonment
A boundary is a physical or emotional barrier that separates you from the rest of the world. To set healthy boundaries, you must identify your needs, assert them and stick by them!
Here are some examples:
- If you don’t want to give uncle Tom a hug… don’t!
- A boundary is needed if someone leaves you feeling depleted after a conversation.
- If you don’t have the mental ware with all to hear about someone else problems today, it’s okay to say, “I’m just not in the right head space for this today. Would it be okay if we talk tomorrow?”
You can set boundaries with care and love. They don’t have to be harsh or abrasive. Ensure you’re clearly communicating your needs then; make sure the other party respects them. You should re-think the time spent around those that don’t.
Boundary setting takes practice. Practice setting boundaries by visualizing scenarios where you might use them so you can be ready should the need arises. And remember that it’s perfectly okay to make your needs a priority.