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Beginnings

How to Fix Broken Boundaries

Feel resentment often? Overwhelmed with guilt when you say no? This is due to a broken boundary system that causes us to over-give,...

Written by Amy Chan · 1 min read >
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Do you often feel resentment? If so, read on.

Resentment is the cumulative effect of saying yes when we mean no, not communicating our needs, feeling guilted into doing things we don’t want, and taking care of others when it’s detrimental to our well-being.

Like death by a thousand cuts, each limit breached is our surrender of agency.

These are all symptoms of a broken boundary system that causes us to over-give, over-please, and over-function as the cost to our well-being.

How do we begin to repair? First, it’s helpful to know what type of boundaries you struggle with.

Which category of boundaries do you struggle with most?


Physical – Includes personal space, physical touch, and privacy. Violations included being denied your physical needs, being touched inappropriately or someone snooping on your phone.

Intellectual – Refers to thoughts and ideas. Healthy intellectual boundaries include respect for others’ ideas and an awareness of appropriate discussion. Someone belittling your ideas or gaslighting you are examples of violations.

Emotional – Includes honoring feelings and energy. When we don’t have healthy emotional boundaries we tend to take on the feelings and problems of others as our own. Violations include sacrificing your needs to please another and blaming others for your problems.

Sexual – Includes emotional, intellectual, and physical aspects of sexuality. Having mutual respect of limitations and desires between partners. Unwanted touch, pressure to engage in unwanted sexual acts, or someone getting angry because you don’t want sex are examples of violations.

Material – Include money and possessions. Healthy material boundaries involve setting limits on what you share and with whom. Someone borrowing your things without asking, or pressuring you to lend them money are examples of violations.

Time – Requires you to understand your priorities and setting aside enough time for different areas of your life without overcommitting. When you know your priorities, it is easier to limit the amount of time you are giving to other people/projects. Demanding time from people or habitually being late are examples of violations.


Creating and maintaining healthy boundaries are the foundation of feeling empowered in our relationships. There are internal boundaries (the ways we interact with ourselves), external boundaries (the ways we interact with others), and the respect we have for other people’s boundaries.

A question to ask yourself is, where are you currently not living aligned with your values? That’s a good place to start to determine the broken boundaries that need to be addressed. Remember – having a healthy boundary system is the kind thing to do as it educates people on how to engage with you.

In the next post, we’ll review a communications framework to help you set and enforce boundaries with others.


Also, check out my videos on this topic on my Instagram @missamychan

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