The Importance Of Setting Emotional Boundaries

Setting emotional boundaries is one of many articles on personal boundaries that help an individual be resistant to emotional manipulations people use to arm-twist and guilt-trip them. 

Just like other boundary types, boundaries on the emotional level preserve our self-esteem and identities and give us clarity on the choices available to us instead of being guilt-tripped into accepting choices or blames that serve other people’s aims at our own disadvantage.

Establishing healthy emotional restrictions helps us block this emotional manipulation while not offending our acquaintances and people who matter in our lives.

What are emotional boundaries?

What emotional boundaries are and how they affect an individual.

These are the imaginary restrictions we put around our emotional space to protect us from the toxic manipulations of others.

Humans can be cunning enough to manipulate the emotions of others to their own advantage.

Some have perfected this as a tool they employ in their everyday life to outsmart others while others do it unintentionally.

Related: The Good And Bad Of Rigid Boundaries

Boundaries on the emotional level are essential in respecting people’s feelings. When your feelings are not honoured, it could be detrimental to health and relationships.

Establishing stoppers to manipulative people is a skill we learn as we live our lives, and experience also plays a part in knowing where and when to apply these boundaries.

Benefits of setting emotional restrictions

Setting Emotional Boundaries in Relationships – Road to Growth Counseling
  • Establishing emotional restrictions helps to gauge the amount of emotional energy we are ready to give and also when it’s okay to share a piece of ourselves or not.
  • It helps us move away or reduce our interactions with people who treat us with disdain, or people who don’t respond with kindness.
  • It gives us the freedom we need to be ourselves and operate as we want without undue constriction.

How to know when your boundaries are crossed on the emotional level

We get prompts from our intuition and instincts when our emotional restrictions are violated but most people are unable to identify them.

We must be in tune with our biological sensors to keep tabs on what prompts our emotions and feelings so we know how to handle them.

Being emotionally intelligent is one way to know when your emotional restrictions are being violated and here are others:

  • Discomfort around boundary violators
  • Fear of losing or offending them
  • Feeling of being manipulated
  • Feeling guilt over issues that are not your fault
  • Feeling stressed out because your happiness is constricted or suppressed
  • Having anxiety anytime you are around them and do not know what to do that would please them
  • The feeling you need your own freedom
  • You can’t express yourself freely
  • You can’t say no
  • Their moods somehow sip into your mood that you acquire theirs
  • You are anxious and resentful around them

Emotional boundaries examples

Examples of emotional boundaries and where they are likely.

Boundaries on the emotional level come in different situations and forms depending on the context and how one perceives the situation.

Boundaries on the emotional level come in different situations and forms depending on the context and how one perceives the situation.

Emotional Barriers in Dating and Relationships

Manipulations go on in relationships wittingly or unwittingly and most victims suffer in silence and no gender is exempted.

Most people in relationships use manipulation as a tool to subdue or coerce their spouse or partner to do their bidding.

This can however be avoided if the victim consciously girds themselves with healthy emotional restrictions that check these manipulations.

Related: How Porous Boundaries May Be Stunting Your Personal Growth

For example, a partner might implore the silent treatment to send the other partner into a panic mode and exploit their vulnerability.

But if the victim knows these tactics or is confident of their emotional boundary, they won’t fall for this treatment.

Putting oneself first and disengaging from unhealthy emotional attachment from a spouse or partner is the best way to be resistant to emotional manipulations in relationships.

Emotional Boundaries in Workplaces

Just as in relationships, emotional boundaries are necessary for workplaces to check the manipulative emotional activities of colleagues who explore the vulnerabilities of others.

For instance, a senior colleague could delegate their work unjustly to a junior colleague using coerciveness or cajoling as their vehicle.

Being well-rooted in your emotional boundaries will protect you from this manipulation to fend off the request on an emotional level.

Saying ‘no’ might be seen as rude. Applying emotional literacy by giving a genuine excuse can help in such situations.

Emotional Boundaries in the Family

Families are where emotional restrictions are built and confidence is imbued. People who have faulty upbringing struggle with creating boundaries on the emotional level and this spill over to every area of their lives.

Lack of this boundary would result in constant altercations and a lack of peace as offenses would be committed at random.

As close-knitted as the family, emotional scheming happens to achieve one aim or another.

A child can use crying to bring down their parents’ boundaries for them to do their bidding.

See a comprehensive article on setting family boundaries.

Setting Emotional Boundaries

Importance of setting emotional barriers and restrictions.

Just like other personal boundary types, setting boundaries on your emotions is driven by self-protection and survival to keep one protected from other people’s unwanted manipulation and invasion of their emotional space.

We understand this at some point in our lives and take steps to block these arm-twisting and guilt-tripping manipulations.

The average human is selfish and is always protecting their interests while being oblivious to how these interests and the way they go about them affect the next person.

The victim has a duty to protect him or herself and here are some steps to take.

Accept yourself: Establishing healthy boundaries on the emotional level starts with accepting yourself and believing you are okay just the way you are.

Having this confidence and self-worth lets you prioritize your needs and not need people to validate you before you feel important.

Desist from taking unnecessary responsibilities for others: When you are given to fixing other people’s problems, taking their fall, and giving up your own comfort so you would be liked or approved, you are opening yourself up for a weakened emotional boundary.

Don’t shy away from saying ‘no’: The power of saying ‘no’ cannot be overemphasized. It saves you a lot in the future while giving you immediate protection from emotional manipulation.

Detach emotionally from people who make you uncomfortable: Emotional attachment is the uppermost reason people don’t have or lose their emotional boundaries.

Somebody whom you are not emotionally attached to won’t violate your boundaries. It is because you are close enough to them for the attachment to happen that they have this effect on you.

Related: Navigating The Waves Of Relationship Dynamics Between Partners

But you can be resistant to their scheming if you are deliberate about it without feeling drained.

It takes determination to do this, but you should be propelled by the benefits. The best ways to detach yourself emotionally from people on the emotional level are by:

  • Creating value for yourself
  • Being busy with things that create value
  • Being emotionally independent
  • Seek no validation
  • Request for space or solitude and be your own company
  • Reflect on your needs and priorities
  • Resist guilt-tripping
  • Rejecting blame that is not your fault

Frequently asked questions

What are emotional boundaries?

They are the limits we set for ourselves in terms of how we allow others to treat us, how we communicate our feelings, and what we are willing to accept in our relationships with others.

Why are emotional boundaries important?

Emotional barriers are important because they help us protect our emotional well-being, maintain healthy relationships, and communicate effectively with others.

They allow us to define our own needs, feelings, and values, and to express them in a way that is respectful to both ourselves and others.

What happens when emotional boundaries are violated?

When emotional restrictions are violated, we may feel disrespected, hurt, or violated. We may experience a range of emotions, including anger, sadness, and frustration.

If boundaries are consistently violated, it can damage our self-esteem and affect our ability to trust others.

How do I set emotional boundaries?

To set boundaries around your emotions, start by identifying what is important to you in your relationships. Determine what behaviours and actions are unacceptable, and communicate them clearly and assertively to others.

Practice saying “no” when necessary, and be willing to walk away from relationships that consistently violate your boundaries.

How do I know if I need to set emotional boundaries?

If you find yourself feeling drained, disrespected, or overwhelmed by the demands of others, it may be a sign that you need to set boundaries.

If you frequently feel like your needs are not being met in your relationships, or that you are constantly compromising your own values and beliefs to please others, it may be time to reassess your boundaries.


Without emotional boundaries, you are vulnerable and will live the bitter life of blaming others.

You know the things that upset and dislodge your happy mood. You are absolutely responsible for your happiness.

It doesn’t matter if you are married or single. When people make you switch from mood to mood, they are indirectly in control of you.

This is what you have to avoid – people remoting you as they like.

You might not control how people address you and their sinister remarks at you either in the workplace, street, or at home, but you can control your reaction and response.


  1. Examples of Boundaries on the Emotional Level
  2. Importance of Boundaries in Relationships
  3. Boundaries of Emotions and Physical Boundaries
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A Personal Development Content Creator and an author. I write about life ethics and love to document and share life hacks and experiences of people to help others make good life decisions.

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