5 Reasons You Fail To Create and Maintain Boundaries That Will Blow Your Mind

5 Reasons You Fail To Create and Maintain Boundaries That Will Blow Your Mind


Do you try and try more to create and maintain boundaries only to find yourself back where you started or find your calendar is full of other people’s agendas? As a caregiver, there is so much to do and never enough time to manage it all. As a woman, it’s common to put others needs ahead of your own. Can you relate?  There are a lot of reasons you don’t respect your boundaries. In this article, I’m sharing 5 Reasons You Fail To Create and Maintain Boundaries.

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I’m sure you’ll agree with me that setting, maintaining and respecting boundaries is critical to living a life full of alignment and peace. Yet, it’s easier said than done. In this article, we’re ‘going there’ with some deep discussions around why setting boundaries can be difficult. Once you understand these things, you can make a decision to empower yourself and live a life that’s true to you.


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Here are the biggest 5 reasons you fail to create and maintain boundaries that will blow your mind:

1st Reason You Fail To Create and Maintain Boundaries: Guilt 

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Guilt is a really common reason people don’t create or maintain boundaries. This shows up in so many ways. For me, it was in the ‘stuff’ that I allowed to be spread all over the house because I felt bad that my parents didn’t have a home or independent living. The main intention of feeling guilty is to live life in the “right” direction but sometimes all it does is damage your relationships and keep you from exercising your own, powerful voice; such as the case with my parents.

“If you avoid conflict to keep the peace you start a war inside yourself.” –Cheryl Richardson



  • Tries to keep you trapped.
  • Convinces you that saying yes in order to please others is a good thing that doesn’t need to be changed.
  • Encourages people-pleasing behaviors (especially a need to be needed).
  • Makes others feel responsible for other people’s feelings and compels to be a good person all the time, which feeds the urge to say yes, even when they really want to say no.
  • Tricks you into thinking we can successfully ignore our needs and take on other people’s responsibilities.
  • Makes you feel like you don’t have another choice.
  • Makes you feel bad about not having done enough to have prevented your loved one from getting sick.
  • Makes you feel bad for feeling like you want this to end.
  • Makes you feel bad for having been impatient with your care receiver.
  • Makes you believe you are not loving or even liking the care receiver at times.
  • Makes you feel like you aren’t doing enough for the care receiver.
  • Makes everything your fault.

If you take responsibility for someone else’s life and decisions, you’ll quickly feel exhausted, undervalued, resentful, and full of contempt.

“It’s also impossible to practice compassion from a place of resentment. If we’re going to practice acceptance and compassion, we need boundaries and accountability.” ~Brene Brown

You must set boundaries in all your relationships so that you can feel accepted, connected, heard, and loved. Speak your truth today. Tell guilt YOU are in charge now!

TAKE ACTION: Take time to write down where you feel guilty and how this prevents you from respecting your boundaries. 


2nd Reason You Fail To Create and Maintain Boundaries: Shame

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In Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, she sets up the shame conversation brilliantly and I thought it was important to share this with you. Before you skip this section because you think shame doesn’t apply to you or you think shame and guilt are the same things, read this first (I’ll get to the differences between guilt and shame in a bit):

  1. We all have shame or have felt shame. It started in the programming from childhood and has evolved from there. Do you disagree? Think about appearance/body image, parenting, money, family, health, addiction, aging, religion, trauma, and/or labels people gave you.
  2. Virtually all of us are afraid to talk about our shame.
  3. The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives. The same goes for fear, guilt, and any other negative emotion.

Shame is the fear of disconnection. We ALL want connection.

“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” ~ Brene Brown

Peter Sheahan, CEO of ChangeLabs, says this about shame:

” The secret killer of innovation is shame. You can’t measure it, but it is there.”

Every time you hold back on sharing an idea, giving feedback to someone or you are afraid to speak up, shame plays a role.

Shame is the deep fear we all have of being wrong, of being criticized and of feeling less than. This stops us in our tracks in setting and respecting boundaries. Shame becomes fear. Fear stifles everything. Shame sends the gremlins to fill our heads with messages like:

  • You aren’t good enough.
  • You deserve the criticism you are getting (or will get)
  • Real (insert name – daughters/caregivers/women/entrepreneurs) don’t struggle like this.


Here are some examples in my own life when I felt shame: 

  1. Shame is divorce.
  2. Shame is foreclosure.
  3. Shame is failing chemistry in college.
  4. Shame is getting laid off.
  5. Shame is having to tell my kids “we can’t afford x.”
  6. Shame is abortion.
  7. Shame is living with domestic violence.
  8. Shame is listening to my drunk grandparents yelling at each other and at me and going down to the basement feeling so alone and afraid.
  9. Shame is being bullied and laughed at growing up.
  10. Shame is doing a half-ass job volunteering when I was accustomed to giving 110%.
  11. Shame is taking my parents to the doctor when they have body odor.
  12. Shame is gaining 5 pounds a month because I’m not eating right (but I make sure my parents do).
  13. Shame is when someone asks me when I’m due when I’m not pregnant.
  14. Shame is watching my mother soil her pants, wheelchair, and the floor because we didn’t make it to the bathroom in time.
  15.  Shame is my dad making inappropriate comments in public.
  16. Shame is when I am running late and hurry my parents along at a faster pace than they can effectively manage because we need to get somewhere on time.
  17. Shame is when I don’t appear like I have it all together.
  18.  Shame is my new boss telling me I am being paid too much.
  19. Shame is yelling at my parents.
  20. Shame is yelling at my kids (and then being calm as a cucumber when the phone rings).

I share these real-life examples with you from my own life as a parent and caregiver so you understand how common it really is. It is easy for us to feel responsible for the behavior of someone else and feel like it is our fault when these things happen.

The difference between shame and guilt

The primary difference between shame and guilt is this:

  1. Guilt = I did something bad.
  2. Shame = I am bad.

Shame is correlated with addiction, violence, anger and rage, depression, and bullying. When we feel shame, we are desperate for worthiness. As a result, our behaviors tend to be self-destructive and attack or shame other people as a way to avoid vulnerability and accountability.

The difference between humiliation and shame is this:

1.  Shame = I deserve my shame.

2. Humiliation = I don’t believe I deserve humiliation.

TAKE ACTION: Think about times in your life when you felt shame. How is this showing up in your caregiving, parenting, work or other relationships? 

3rd Reason You Fail To Create and Maintain Boundaries: Caring Too Much

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“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” ~ Bernard Baruch

Caring too much about what other people think is a real issue for many people. Can you relate to one of these things:

1. You do things you don’t want to do and you grow to resent it.
2. You don’t really know what you want.
3. You’re afraid to say what you really believe.
4. You spend time with people you don’t like or you avoid people out of fear.
5. You struggle to make decisions and want feedback from others.
6. You think people are upset with you when they aren’t.


If you felt that nudge or got an “oh yeah” with any of these six things, you care too much about what other people think. This results in your inability to create and respect boundaries.


“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.”  Brene Brown

I LOVE this quote because respecting our boundaries has everything to do with self-love.

TAKE ACTION: Do you care too much what other people think? How does this show up for you? Where can you push through the fear and set boundaries that are true for you? 

4th Reason You Fail To Create and Maintain Boundaries: Lack of Confidence

5 Reasons You Fail To Create and Maintain Boundaries NeverBeOverwhelmedGuide

Your degree of confidence, called self-confidence, is the trust or faith that you have in yourself and your abilities.  Self-esteem is the opinion you have of yourself. People with high self-confidence typically have little fear of the unknown, are able to stand up for what they believe in, and have the courage to risk embarrassment.  In other words, they create and maintain healthy boundaries!

Do you lack self-confidence?

Here are four signs that you may lack confidence:

  1. Giving reasons/excuses for your actions.
  2. Immediately replying to criticism or judging others.
  3. Using the word “never”, become a perfectionist, or being arrogant. 
  4. Body language: People who lack self-confidence usually take the defensive position (arms folded and may be accompanied by crossing their legs).

TAKE ACTION: Do you compensate for a lack of self-confidence in one of the above ways? How does this show up for you? Where can you push through the fear and set boundaries that are true for you? 

5th Reason You Fail To Create and Maintain Boundaries: Lack self-love

5 Reasons You Fail To Create and Maintain Boundaries NeverBeOverwhelmedGuide

The first four reasons discussed above typically mean you lack self-love. If you aren’t sure whether you lack self-love (which also translates to self-care, self-compassion, empowerment), see if you can relate to any of these signs listed below.


Do you?

1. Often feel overwhelmed and stressed out?

2. Get stuck in unhealthy relationships?

3. Have/make no time for fun?

4. Feel guilty when not being productive?

5. Play small or don’t live your full potential?

6. Play the comparison game?

7. Say YES to stuff you want to say NO to?

8. Feel like you constantly have to do more and be more have more and don’t celebrate your accomplishments?

9. Hate your body.

10. Allow fear to drive your decisions.

11. Settle in one or more areas of life?

12. Feel unlovable, unloved, unworthy?

TAKE ACTION: Do you lack self-love, self-care, self-compassion? How does this show up for you? Where can you push through the fear and set boundaries that are true for you? Pick ONE thing above that you resonate with and take imperfect action to change this. 



I’m sure you’ll agree with me that these five areas run deep in our lives. I hope that by sharing why setting boundaries can be difficult, you can start exercising self-compassion and forgiveness. Once you understand what stops you, it becomes easier to work through the emotions and be empowered. Living a life that’s true to you is your divine birthright.

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Here are a few other articles you may like about self-love, self-confidence, and boundaries:

Self-Love and Trust Go Hand In Hand

365 Life Shifts: What Cancer Taught Me About Love

What I Learned About Myself and Why You Should Care

7 Proven Ways To Conquer Overwhelm Through Healthy Boundaries

3 Tips for Rebuilding Your Self Confidence

5 Best Caregiver Tips For Getting Family To Help


Next Steps:

I invite you to get your free guide below to go from stressed out and overwhelmed to calm and centered… because you DESERVE to FEEL EMPOWERED! Click here for your free “Never Be Overwhelmed Again” guide: >>

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Tandy Elisala

Family Caregiver Coach, Cancer Empowerment Advocate and Chief Inspiration Officer at Center for Inspiring Greatness | Empowered Family Caregiver
Tandy Elisala is passionate about helping family caregivers go from being overwhelmed and stressed to empowered and calm. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional, complementary, and alternative therapy. Tandy left her corporate career to take care of both parents simultaneously while raising three kids as a single mom. She took care of both parents for 2 1/2 years until their respective deaths. Tandy now teaches what she learned on her journey. Tandy is a family caregiver coach, a multiple best-selling author, inspirational speaker and mom to three adult kids, one angel dog and one diva cat.

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18 replies
  1. Lorii Abela
    Lorii Abela says:

    It is interesting that you have written about this. I just started a women’g group project called ReJoyvination (claiming Me Time for joy and honoring the divine within). It sprung from the idea that women always feel guilty of spending time for themselves. Women are always multi-tasking and so the self is always the least prioritized.

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Oh my goodness, Lorii! ReJoyvination sounds like a super valuable thing for women. Kudos for starting this. I think it’s desperately needed.

  2. Jackie Harder
    Jackie Harder says:

    Oh, Tandy, your shame examples brought tears to my eyes. My heart aches for you. I hope you love and forgive yourself. And thank you for the distinction between guilt and shame. Caring about what others think of us can be such a burden. Here’s a quote I recall often when I wonder if others are judging me: “We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.” ~ Ethel Barrett

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Oh Jackie, this Ethel Barrett quote you shared is spot on! I love it. I HAVE healed and forgiven myself for all the shame situations in my life. I agree that caring what other people think is really none of our business. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

  3. Beverley Golden
    Beverley Golden says:

    Reading your post, I came out thinking, “Welcome to being a human being”. There is so much in this post that I would guess each of us can relate to. Many of the things you shared under ‘shame’ for me come out of the ‘not good enough’ belief so many people adopt or embody in childhood. There is usually little truth to it, but one incident or event, and that belief someone sticks. I’ve realized a lot of the work I need/needed to do, had to do with accepting that striving for self-perfection…is just not sustainable and usually ends up in physical health issues. Which is what happened in my case! Many of these examples you gave, Tandy, overlap each other. When one rears its head, usually it is followed by another in one of the other areas. Setting boundaries has been one of my challenges in life too…as I strive to support others and to help them in any ways I can. Often at the expense of my own health. I’m learning…

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Oh yes, this whole being a human being is a learning experience for sure. I agree that everything overlaps each other. Usually if we have problems in one area, there’s another one rearing its ugly head.

  4. Candess M. Campbell
    Candess M. Campbell says:

    So much great information here Tandy. This is absolutely the blog to print out and refer to often! I am directing my clients to your blog! We are all deserving of an abundance in all areas of our lives regardless how others have treated us in the past. The biggest challenge I have had with clients is assisting them in changing their self-talk so they lift and support themselves and don’t knock themselves down. This article gives what we all need – Permission to love ourselves, set boundaries and know that we are valuable, lovable, capable and deserving! Love it!

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Oh my… permission for positive self-talk and loving ourselves is HUGE! Your clients are lucky to have you help them navigate this.

  5. Cathy Sykora
    Cathy Sykora says:

    So funny you talk about guilt. I went to church this morning and the priest brought guilt up at the end of mass – it was just hanging there and didn’t belong to anything. I thought he must have been talking to someone in the congregation, my husband thought he must’ve been feeling guilty. It was just so odd because it didn’t connect or flow. Of course, you always think, “is that God talking to me”. I don’t feel guilty for anything. When you started talking about shame, I could feel that. Isn’t that funny. No matter how far we come and accomplish…we can still feel shame with the snap of a thumb. I like the quote about disconnection. I must need connection more than I thought. Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

  6. Tamuria
    Tamuria says:

    Tandy, what a powerful article. I’m so glad you warned not to skim over the part about shame. Your explanation and very honest examples gave me cause to stop and re-examine my own feelings and realise that yes, we all have felt shame and it really does impact on our love of self. Love all the fabulous quotes you included in this.

  7. Claudette Chenevert
    Claudette Chenevert says:

    Powerful blog Tandy. I resonated with each one of your reasons, but the one that hit closer to home for me was #2 Shame. It’s a lifelong process, to deal with our past challenges, and taking the time to love ourselves enough to let go what doesn’t belong to us and to forgive our blunders.


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