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

Stop neglecting your needs and focus on your mental well-being.

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Everyone has experienced the effects of spreading yourself too thin and not setting boundaries. You don’t want to disappoint anyone with the answer “no.” What’s one more obligation gonna hurt?

This vicious cycle continues until you can’t handle the load anymore. Now you’re emotionally exhausted and mentally stressed. It’s only natural that there will come a time when you’re in a funk and can’t shake it. When this happens, you must be able to set boundaries and focus on your own needs.


Sometimes we think it’s selfish to put ourselves first. But the truth is, you can’t fully be there for others unless you’re taken care of. So when the weight becomes too heavy to ignore, you must be ready to make a change.

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Here are 12 signs it’s time to set boundaries.

1. You’re tired all the time.

It makes sense that if you’re giving too much of yourself to others, you’ll be physically tired from all the work. Not to mention, you’re probably very stressed which is affecting your quality of sleep.

If it feels like it takes too much energy to do everyday things, this could be a clear sign that something isn’t working. You should have a healthy drive to accomplish your goals. Always be wary when your drive seems to be lacking.

2. You’re experiencing frequent breakdowns.

As weird as it may sound, one of the biggest signs you need to focus more on yourself may come in the form of a phone call from a loved one. You may call a family member you're close to and cry, not quite understanding why you're so emotional and why it feels like the world is caving in.

Although it may take a while to make the connection, once you do, you will have more mental stability. Those breakdowns full of strong emotion will eventually become too much, and you'll realize that things need to change.


3. You’re eating a lot.

Not everyone is an emotional eater, but for those who are, overeating is a strong sign that boundaries need to be set. By using your rare alone time to stuff your face, it’s clear that you’re unhappy.

It may feel like the only time you have to fill yourself is when you’re alone. And although it seems like the perfect way to do it, it’s unhealthy to choose to fill with food. On the contrary, feeling too busy to ever eat is also something to be cautious about.

4. No one can say the right thing.

Typically, when the people around us sense that we’re hanging on by a thread, they want to help with words of advice. However, you probably don’t want to hear it in the state you’re in.

Be sure to consider how you’re receiving help. Are you annoyed by what people have to say? Do you still feel stuck without any way of getting out? When we don’t realize we need to set boundaries, it’s easy to disregard what anyone says.


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5. You’ve lost joy in the simple things.

If you’re noticing that what used to make you happy doesn’t any longer, a shift needs to be made. Maybe a long walk listening to your favorite podcast brings you peace of mind and eases anxiety. Is it not working anymore? Do you still feel overwhelmed? Then it’s probably time to check in on yourself and start setting boundaries.

Once the things that bring you joy only enhance negative emotions, there’s no escape from reality. This is not a place you want to be and it’s important to recognize that something is off.

6. You have no work-life balance.

A clear sign you need to set boundaries is the inability to distinguish between your work life and your home life. When work commitments begin to encroach on your personal time or alone time, you're unable to do the things you love.


You may not have enough time anymore to enjoy your favorite hobbies or spend time with loved ones. And, if that's the case, it's time to protect yourself.

7. You don't put yourself first.

This is especially true if you've begun to neglect caring for yourself, whether it's relaxing and decompressing, or pampering yourself. You're putting the needs of others before your own, and it's a major red flag that something just isn't right.

When you ignore your emotional and physical needs, it quickly leads to burnout. And the best way to put yourself first is to establish boundaries where self-care is a priority.

8. You've begun to resent people.

When you feel like the people around you are taking advantage of you, whether acquaintances or people you're close to, it's extremely frustrating and can cause resentment to build up. You may feel not only walked all over, but unappreciated and undervalued.


This is a clear sign you don't have proper boundaries set up, as they continue to be violated. Once you do set boundaries, you'll be able to communicate your needs clearly and prevent feelings of resentment from poisoning your relationships.

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9. You find it difficult to make a decision.

Everyone struggles with indecision from time to time, but your overwhelm is preventing you from making choices that align with your values and intended path in life. When you find it hard to make a decision due to the demands of other people, it means you're trying too hard to please everyone.

Instead, set clear limits on what you can and cannot do, and you'll soon regain control over your choices and alleviate decision-making stress.


10. You've become passive-aggressive.

If you're finding yourself resorting to passive-aggressive behavior as a way to express your frustrations in an indirect way, your boundaries are being crossed and it's a sign to put your foot down.

Your passive-aggressive tactics may mean you respond by saying things like, "You're so lucky you get to do something you love" or "I wish I could spend time relaxing, but unfortunately, I have to pay rent.” By setting boundaries, you can instead address issues directly and assertively.

11. You just can't say no.

Difficulty saying no is a common indication that you need to set boundaries. When you always say yes to the requests of others, you lack spending time with and for yourself. You can easily become overwhelmed and stressed.


But rather than feeling guilty for saying no, realize that setting limits on what you can commit to is vital for preserving your mental and emotional health.

12. You take everything personally.

Every criticism, rejection, or negative comment is something you internalize and take personally. And it's yet another sign that you have weak boundaries with the people in your life.

Once you begin to protect your personal space, you develop emotional resilience, allowing you to differentiate between constructive feedback and personal attacks.

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Isabella Pacinelli is a former contributor to YourTango, features editor for Ashland University's The Collegian, and freelance writer for Medina Weekly News.