Boundaries vs. Walls


Boundaries are a common topic when it comes to mental health and relationships. They enable people to maintain healthy and fulfilling relationships while still maintaining their autonomy. Some people are more open and extroverted so they may not feel the need to set boundaries unless a conflict arises; introverts are more likely to need to set boundaries to maintain their peace and to be able to spend some time by themselves. Boundaries can also be created to keep a respectful distance from those you don’t wish to be close to (for any reason). Boundaries are meant to be reasonable and based on what you are willing or not willing to do. They should be set calmly.

Walls are built to keep everyone out. They can also be built to avoid conflict in close relationships rather than finding a way to discuss things in a healthy way. They create barriers to meaningful relationships rather than build bridges to help them thrive. Walls are inflexible.

What Do Boundaries Sound Like?

“I won’t be able to make it this time.”

“I understand you’re angry, but please don’t speak to me that way.”

“I would appreciate it if you didn’t talk about this subject with me.”

“I love texting you, but I wanted to let you know I’m not always on my phone, so I’ll reply when I have a chance to sit down and read it.”

“I know we’re roommates, but I’m not comfortable speaking with you late at night when everyone else has gone to sleep.”

“If you continue to treat me this way, I won’t be returning here.”

“If you can’t respect what I’m asking for, I’m going to need some space.”

“I don’t go back to a guy’s place when I’ve just met him.”

“I’m feeling sick/tired right now, but I would love to talk to you again when I feel better. I need to go lie down now.”

What Are Some Signs You Need To Set Boundaries?

* You feel agitated because others are putting a demand on your time.

* You have trouble sleeping, because your mind is spinning from all the demands and conflicts

* You’re feeling socially burnt out

* You aren’t giving time and attention to the meaningful relationships in your life

* You feel pulled in a million directions

* Someone is making you feel uncomfortable or guilty

* Someone you’re not interested in wants to date you or build a close friendship with you

How Does Someone Build A Wall Rather Than Set A Boundary?

Building emotional walls is a defense mechanism. After being hurt, some people will surround themselves with walls to keep everyone out to prevent further pain. Walls are limiting and can close you off to new experiences. Boundaries allow you to create change in a positive direction.

What If It’s Hard To Set A Boundary?

It will often be uncomfortable to set a boundary with someone and that’s okay. It means you care about how the other person feels. However, if you have certain needs or they’re not being respectful, please don’t feel shame for taking care of yourself. Some people are takers and manipulators – without boundaries, they will steal your peace and happiness. You can opt to speak with a therapist if you need help doing this. They can help you practice how you will say it and what to do if the person reacts negatively.


Setting healthy boundaries are key to improving and maintaining your mental health. They are meant to improve relationships rather than hinder them. If people punish you (or try to) for setting boundaries with them, it’s a sign they needed to be set in the first place. They’re also beneficial in that the other person might not have realized their behaviour was so troubling or hurtful. It gives them a chance to grow as well if they are open to it. Sometimes they didn’t know something was bothering you that much and they’re more than happy to respect your needs. Boundaries are meant to be reasonable and are based on what *you* will or will not do. They can be flexible, assuming circumstances change or the other person’s behaviour improves, but you are well within your right to maintain a boundary if it is needed.

Thanks so much for reading today. ❤



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