Toxic Relationships and the Importance of Boundaries

Toxic relationships are harmful and destructive connections between individuals that can negatively impact one’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Relationships without boundaries are characterised by a lack of respect, control, and manipulation.

Part I

In a toxic relationship without boundaries, the partners may engage in behaviours such as constant criticism, *gaslighting, or even physical abuse. There may also be a power dynamic in which one person attempts to control the actions, thoughts, or decisions of the other.

*Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person seeks to sow doubt in the mind of their victim by making them question their own perception of events or reality.

One of the key issues in toxic relationships is the absence of clear and healthy boundaries. A boundary is a line that defines what is acceptable behaviour in a relationship and what is not. For example, boundaries may include respecting each other’s personal space and time, as well as not engaging in abusive or controlling behaviour.

In toxic relationships without boundaries, one partner may invade the other’s privacy, control their finances, or make decisions for them without their consent. This lack of boundaries often leads to feelings of suffocation and loss of autonomy, causing the person to feel trapped and helpless in the relationship.

Furthermore, toxic relationships can also involve emotional manipulation, where one person uses guilt, shame, or fear to control their partner. This can lead to feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, and low self-esteem. In extreme cases, the victim may start to believe that they deserve to be treated poorly and that there is no way out of the relationship.

It’s important to note that toxic relationships can occur in any type of relationship, including romantic partnerships, friendships, and family relationships. In addition, the effects of a toxic relationship can linger long after it ends, affecting one’s future relationships and overall wellbeing.

Reach Out to a Trusted Source

If you suspect that you may be in a toxic relationship, it’s important to reach out to someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, or mental health professional. They can provide support, help you understand your situation, and assist you in developing a plan to regain control of your life.

In conclusion, toxic relationships without boundaries can have severe consequences on one’s physical and emotional wellbeing. It’s important to recognise the signs and seek help if you suspect that you may be in a toxic relationship. By setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, you can take control of your life and break free from the cycle of toxic relationships.

Part II

The Keys to Setting Effective Boundaries

Setting and maintaining boundaries is a critical part of self-care and building healthy relationships. Here are some tips on how to do this effectively:

  • Identify your personal boundaries: Start by understanding what your personal boundaries are and what is important to you. Take some time to reflect on your values, beliefs, and needs and write them down. This will help you clearly define your boundaries and communicate them to others.
  • Communicate your boundaries: Once you have identified your boundaries, it’s important to communicate them to others. This can be done assertively but respectfully. Use “I” statements, such as “I need” or “I feel,” to express your boundaries without blaming others.
  • Respect others’ boundaries: It’s important to respect the boundaries of others just as you would like them to respect yours. Listen to their needs and take them seriously. If you are unsure about someone’s boundaries, ask for clarification.
  • Set consequences for boundary violations: If someone violates your boundaries, it’s important to have consequences in place. This could be as simple as telling the person that their behaviour is not acceptable and asking them to stop. Make sure to follow through with your consequences, as this sends a clear message that your boundaries are serious and important to you.
  • Stay true to your boundaries: It’s important to be consistent and firm with your boundaries. Don’t compromise your values or let others manipulate you into violating your own boundaries. Remember that you are in control of your own life and your own happiness.
  • Take care of yourself: Setting and maintaining boundaries can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to doing it. It’s important to take care of yourself and prioritize self-care. This could involve taking breaks from people or situations that challenge your boundaries, practicing self-compassion, or seeking support from friends or a therapist.
  • Practice self-reflection: Regularly check in with yourself and reflect on your boundaries. Are they still in line with your values and needs? Are they helping you maintain healthy relationships and live a fulfilling life? If not, it’s okay to adjust your boundaries as you grow and change.


Setting and maintaining boundaries is a key aspect of self-care and healthy relationships. Start by identifying and communicating your boundaries, respecting others’ boundaries, setting consequences for boundary violations, staying true to your boundaries, taking care of yourself, and practicing self-reflection. With time and practice, setting and maintaining boundaries can become a habit that positively impacts your life and relationships.

You may want to learn more and if so, the following publication is highly recommended.


“Set Boundaries, Find Peace” – Nedra Glover Tawwab

About the author
Managing Director / Counsellor at Anglia Counselling Ltd | 07747042899 | [email protected] | Business Website

Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.

Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).