Why it’s So Hard for Women to Make and Hold Boundaries

For many years of my life I allowed people close to me to abuse me.

In subtle and not so subtle ways, people trampled on my boundaries, ignored my needs, and mocked my frustrations when I spoke up for myself.

For many hours on my therapists couch, she’d tell me the same thing…you can’t change their behavior, Rachel. You’ve tried everything. It’s time to set boundaries.

I’d try. I’d ask that person who always told me negative gossip without my permission to please not talk badly of those I love. I’d ask that other person who kept hugging me without permission to not touch me. Please.

The others never liked my boundaries.

I got called lots of names.






“You have too many walls.”

Too many rules.

They were right. I wanted to be loving. Forgiving.

Besides, this boundary work was too much. I couldn’t hold it. It was much easier to let myself be held by someone who abused me. Or to allow friends to talk shit about those I loved.

Except, it really wasn’t okay. And they really weren’t right.

And the abuse got worse. The trespasses on my boundaries escalated. And the names they called me as I attempted to exert power were awful.

Finally, it was enough. Finally, I was clear.

In my life-long exploration of boundaries, I’ve struggled. I wasn’t raised with good boundaries. Most of my life, I didn’t even know what they were.

I remember the first time I bought a book on boundaries and read that it actually wasn’t okay for someone close to me to comment on my body. I also remember the fear and the power I felt when I spoke up for the first time to that person, and said…

“You’re not to ever comment on my weight or my body again. That’s a boundary issue.”

That person didn’t stop. They actually amped up.

After I began to assert myself and realized people wouldn’t actually always respect my boundaries, let alone, understand me, or accept me, or love me for having them, I felt confused and hurt.

And in my deep excavation of the gold at the heart of this matter, I’ve discovered a few things.

Women have a hard time with boundaries because we’re so taught to please.

So many of us are raised to be people pleasers. This is an unconscious expectation of many women throughout our history.

We’re here to serve, to do for others, to be property, to do as others say, to be silent, to be pretty and to please.

Rising up with our voices to say, NO! is not only scary, it’s confusing.

How can we be liked and therefore, have value or self-worth if we stop people pleasing?

And that’s the thing. Our WORTH has been tied to our PLEASING.

At our core, in our heart, deep in our soul, we come up against energy that says- If I say no, if I stop being here to please others, if I set a boundary, am I worthy of love? What’s my worth?

A woman’s worth is intrinsic.

It’s within because she is. She is born worthy. There is nothing she need do.

And yet, we have lifetimes of perceptions and expectations and cultural norms and past life vows that tell us otherwise.

So, I began to realize that to stand in my truth and say NO, I was in the light. I was in my worth. I was honoring my value and right to be treated with respect- and what it triggers, when others protest, was my worth.

Do I have the right to say no? Do I have the right to demand that I be treated with respect? YES, I DO!

I heard Danielle Laporte recently state in an interview that until we have good boundaries, we will never have the love, the freedom, the money, the accolades or the relationships we desire.

I heard Oprah talking about how if we want to rise up to our fullest potential and achieve our greatness, we’ll never be able to do it until we cut out the people around us who are not in support of our highest visions.

I know it now to be true.

Please, don’t be caught in the spiritual trap of thinking that being loving and forgiving is about letting assholes treat you like shit.

Please stop thinking you must be a doormat, or let people run over you and just take it because you can. You don’t have to be “ultra spiritual.”

From where I sit, most women who want to reclaim their power have to start with their crappy relationships.

When we’re allowing people around us to abuse us, cut us down, take our energy, gossip, not believe in our potential, we’re losing energy and we’re not going to have the reserves to get where we’re going.

Being alive on this planet is hard enough work already. There are plenty of people who will try to suck you into their shit shows.

As an awakened woman, here to teach her truth and heal and bring light to the planet, you have enough to do already, and being a silent people pleaser IS NO LONGER one of them….

So, start saying NO.

No, you can’t treat me that way.

No, that doesn’t happen here.

No, I won’t talk with you about this.

No, you don’t act that way, get out.

No, I won’t come.

No, I’m not talking to you.

No, I’m not your friend.

It’s hard. Especially when you’re wired to please. To serve. To be nice. To be kind. To be loving. To be forgiving.

That’s yesterday’s model of the feminine.

It’s old. It’s outdated. It has run its course.

The new model, is one where women stand tall, say no and take shit from no one.

If you need inspiration, think Kali Ma, with the knife in one hand, and a bloody head in the other.

To your freedom,


Rachel Claire

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