6 Reasons People Don’t Hear And Respect Your Boundaries

There's more to getting your needs met than just saying a bunch of words.

woman wearing glasses setting boundaries Kseniia Perminova via Canva

Developing healthy boundaries is crucial for your mental and physical well-being. However, what happens when those around you don't respect your boundaries? What do you do then?

Luis Mojica is a somatic experiencing practitioner and life coach. In an Instagram post, he shared the real reasons people did not uphold your boundaries — and it may just hit close to home.

RELATED: 12 Emotionally Exhausting Signs It's Time To Set Boundaries With The People In Your Life


According to editor Leah Campbell and clinical psychologist Dr. Bethany Ruby, "Personal boundaries are the lines we draw when it comes to our comfort levels." But these boundaries can get confusing when we take into consideration the different types of boundaries there are.

Cognitive psychologist Jaya Roy writes, “Psychological boundaries are also less fixed and change depending on circumstances such as the situation, one’s values, and cognitive, physical, or emotional capacity.”

Besides psychological boundaries, there are other boundaries to consider such as:

  • Physical
  • Behavioral
  • Mental/ Emotional

"Regardless of which boundaries you implement, be sure that your boundaries are healthy," writes Roy. When our boundaries aren't healthy we struggle with keeping them intact. So, how do we set those healthy boundaries and why don't people respect our boundaries in the first place?


6 Reasons People Don’t Hear And Respect Your Boundaries

1. You tell them what to change instead of what you need.

When we set boundaries we must be careful. Remember boundary setting is not used to change others, it's used to express your needs.



Which brings us to the main point. When was the last time you expressed your needs? Some may argue that they've expressed them before. However, Alexa Vernola, LPC and Dr. Cassandra Faraci state that expressing your boundaries once is not enough, “It takes repetition and standing your ground to teach those around you what you need."

Be clear-cut about what your needs are and remind others where your boundaries lay. Remind yourself why setting these boundaries is so crucial in the first place.


2. You laugh your needs off.

Our bodies react differently when we experience trauma. Some people freeze and other people fight. However, there's another trauma response that doesn't get as much attention.



To fawn is to respond to a threat by becoming agreeable.

People who fawn often attempt to please others, compromising their boundaries to make others happy and quell the conflict. It's no wonder why people don't listen when we laugh or apologize for our boundaries.


However, this isn't our fault. According to clinical psychologist Ingrid Clayton Ph.D., "Developing safety in a predatory relationship is a fawner's priority." We want to feel safe and if it means compromising our mental health then fawners will do so.

But this stems from childhood trauma. "Fawners were often told expressing their emotions would only cause trouble and lead to pain," says Clayton. Over time they learned to hide their feelings by people-pleasing and being agreeable.

However, engaging in this behavior leads us to have both poor boundaries and self-esteem as we grow older.

If you want to stop fawning here’s what you can do, suggests therapist Michael G. Quirke:

  • Stop avoiding your feelings.
  • Validate your needs.
  • Practice self-care.
  • Develop firm boundaries.
  • Seek professional help if necessary.

3. You don't take responsibility for enforcing them.

Remember that setting and keeping boundaries is your responsibility. Mojica states, “I thought it was their responsibility to respect and hear my boundary, but it was mine. When someone doesn’t hear it it’s because they don’t have capacity and then it’s up to me to follow through.”

"We cannot expect those around us to manage or assume our boundaries," he continues, "We must set the standard and follow through."

If you struggle with this then a change in mindset is necessary. Don't make excuses for why you fail and don't complain.

Also, don't wait until the last minute to reinforce your boundaries. Immediately do it when someone compromises them.


RELATED: 7 Healthy Boundaries To Set In Your Relationship Immediately

4. You critique or ruminate rather than expressing a clear boundary.

Find yourself getting caught up in story mode when you are explaining a situation? Trust me, even I am guilty of doing this. However, when we are explaining our boundaries we mustn't focus too much energy on the situation.

By getting back on track we ensure that we don't lose the purpose of the conversation. But I get that it can be easier said than done.

Before a conversation, write down your main points and set a timer. Allow yourself a few minutes to explain the situation before moving on to the main point.


5. You don't check first to see if they are open to meeting your needs.

"People aren't entitled to meet your needs," writes Mojica.

According to licensed counselor Kate O'Brien, "We can't force people to respect our boundaries, but we can enforce our boundaries."

Be sure to set up limits and consequences when it comes to your boundaries. If someone is yelling at you, express that you need a minute. Then, when things have calmed down, approach the conversation again.


O'Brien also asks us to consider which boundaries are and aren't flexible. Boundaries involving physical space may be a non-negotiable for you. However, the time taken for yourself may be slightly more flexible to negotiate.

6. You don't trust your own instincts.

We get caught up in the boundaries we are told to enforce, but what happens when those boundaries don't align with our needs?

Mojica writes, “I thought about them more than I felt them so they often came from books or therapists telling me what I should say rather than from my instinct.”

When you struggle to form boundaries, it's crucial to create those boundaries from scratch.

According to Chantelle Pattermore and clinical psychologist Jacquelyn Johnson, you can try the following:

  • Reflecting on the importance of those boundaries.
  • Coming up with a few boundaries.
  • Reinforce those boundaries.
  • Limit your social media time.
  • Practice self-love.

By acknowledging our poor boundaries, we can implement methods to reinforce stronger and healthier boundaries.

RELATED: 8 Simple Ways To Start Setting Boundaries You Can Actually Keep

Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.