Skip to main content




Love Addiction Recovery Help & Support



Recovery Groups

Online Groups for Love Addicts


25 Maxims for Establishing Healthy Boundaries

By Jim Hall MS, Love Addiction Expert, Relationship Recovery Coach


Establishing Functional Boundaries is a vital attribute to living healthier and froming secure healthy relationships.


One of the core issues for insecurely attached love addicts and codependents crucial to a successful recovery is learning to establish and maintain strong/healthy boundaries.


What is a boundary?


A boundary is a method of setting limits that help define who you are and enhance your sense of self. Boundaries are personal expectations and needs required to feel secure in relationships and interactions with others. Our boundaries dictate what we will tolerate or not tolerate from others; when to say no and when to say yes. One of the primary purposes of boundaries is to contain and protect your emotional and physical well-being. 


"The heart of self-care is establishing boundaries."


Boundaries are like having invisible and symbolic "fences" that have these four purposes:


1. To keep people from coming into our space, disrespecting or abusing us (emotionally and physically)

2. To keep us from going into the space of others and abusing them

3. Boundaries define our identity- giving each of us a way to embody our sense of "who we are"

4. To protect us from internalizing the feelings, actions, or words of others for what we are not responsible for


Boundaries show up when we are listening and communicating with another, sharing or receiving another person physically, sexually, spiritually, intellectually, or emotionally - This process, when healthy, creates a secure relationship, an intimate connection.


Why Are Boundaries Important in Relationships?


Establishing functional boundaries is vital to health and well-being and attaining healthy, fulfilling intimate relationships.


When you establish and maintain functional boundaries, you can protect and contain yourself while remaining vulnerable enough for intimacy but not so vulnerable that you are easily manipulated, controlled, or wounded.


They protect our self-esteem, values, principles, spirituality, behaviors, and identity.


Healthy boundaries—set the stage for love, strength, happiness, well-being, and service for the good of self and others.


Impaired boundaries in addictive codependent patterns occur either as having emotional walls (avoidance) or boundaryless (love addict). In either of these extremes, intimate relationships deteriorate and can become downright dysfunctional.

Established boundaries protect you from others who attempt to violate, control, or manipulate you. They shelter you from letting others dictate your beliefs, emotions, and choices.


Functioning boundaries guard against internalizing negative feelings, actions, or words of others-- and let others know our limits (what we will tolerate or not). They send out energy to others, an identifiable shape that emerges around us of our beliefs and preferences.


Ultimately, establishing and setting firm boundaries is a demonstration of love and self-care. Where allowing another to violate our emotional or physical boundaries is not.


When we learn to establish boundaries from a place of love and self-care, we attract healthier people into our lives and invite relationships to thrive and grow. We can love and experience intimacy without losing ourselves.



25 Maxims on Embracing Funtional Boundaries

  1. We permit ourselves to love ourselves (self-care) when we dare to set boundaries, even when it may disappoint others.
  2. Boundaries are always a right; your right.
  3. Boundaries are our friends and protectors– keeping the good in and bad out.
  4. Make this a new rule in your life: NO ONE has a right to violate your boundaries in ANY manner, no matter how imperfect you may be.
  5. Establishing strong/healthy boundaries will help propel you toward becoming a secure, functional adult-- a grown-up.
  6. Establishing boundaries is crucial to recovery from love addiction, codependency, and avoidance.
  7. Boundaries are NOT selfish. Maintaining boundaries is all about SELF-CARE and protecting your emotional well-being... nothing is more important than that.
  8. Whether you love them or not, certain people will not appreciate your boundaries; instead get upset, defensive, or move away from you. It may feel like rejection (to a love addict). Regardless, it is an act of self-love– it is your way of weeding out the people who cannot respect and cherish your values.
  9. Codependency occurs when one either has NO protection during intimacy (Being Boundaryless) or has TOO much protection (Avoidant/rigid).
  10. Conveying healthy boundaries requires us to display containment to avoid violating the boundaries of others. 
  11. Healthy boundaries require us to respect and honor not only our boundaries but those of others.
  12. Communicating a boundary does not mean the other person will respond appropriately or respect them— we have no control over who another person is, how they behave, and their maturity level.
  13. Boundaries must be verbally communicated, then followed up with actions when someone violates them. For example, there must be a consequence (e.g., ending a conversation, walking away) to protect the self and communicate that the boundary violation is not okay.
  14. When a person implies or tells you what you should feel, think, or choose- it is a boundary violation, thus, an indicator to set a boundary.
  15. When a person suggests you are acting selfish, cold, or rude for setting a boundary, they are manipulating, thus violating your right to self-care (your boundary)- never buy into it.
  16. How someone responds when you set boundaries says a lot about who they are. Do they respect them? If not, this may help you determine whether the person is worth having a relationship with.
  17. Practicing functional boundaries is not about doing them flawlessly; you will make mistakes (e.g., not being contained), but when you do, own it and forgive yourself- it's okay; you are human. We give others the same freedom.
  18. Boundaries are defined and set by you, for only you. You determine your limits, what you are okay or not okay with, and what you will accept or not accept. You are the boss, my friend, in deciding your boundaries.
  19. As recovering codependents and love addicts, establishing healthy boundaries will likely induce guilt, being selfish or cold, or feeling you have done something wrong. Acknowledge these feelings. They will dissipate over time in your maturation and healing.
  20. No one is responsible for speaking your truth, your boundaries, but YOU... and vice-versa.
  21. Some indicators we need to set boundaries: are feeling overwhelmed,  taken advantage of, burned out, resentful toward people asking for help, or hurt by someone's disrespectful conduct.
  22. We must comprehend that the person who gets angry with you for setting boundaries is the one with the problem (you are not responsible for their feelings or reaction).
  23. In relationships, setting healthy boundaries means not only sharing what we don’t want but also knowing and making it known what we want in our relationships.
  24. As you define your boundaries-- start by asking yourself, "What behaviors and attitudes are I okay with and not okay with when being relational with another person, in any capacity?"- Consider your values, needs, and ideals:  Your answers can help you define many of your boundaries.
  25. If needed - start small with your boundaries... Say "yes" to the things that fit your values, goals, and plans. But, being brutally honest with yourself, say "no" to the things that will not serve your well-being. In other words, honor your truth and say "no" if someone asks you for help and you genuinely do not want to.

About the Author: 
Jim Hall, MS, is a Love Addiction Specialist, Recovery Coach, and Author of 3 Books on addictive love and how to overcome love addiction and insecure attachment patterns.  Learn about Jim and how he can help you.