The Relationship Between Guilt and Boundaries

The Relationship Between Guilt and Boundaries


The Relationship Between Guilt And Boundaries

Do you often feel bad or guilty about something that other normal people don’t even think about? If so chances are you have an issue with boundaries and may struggle with co-dependency.

There is something about many of us who allow people to push and push until we give in. If others press hard enough we eventually say “okay, I will do it” even if we did not want to. Since we have an issue with boundaries, we end up feeling guilty if we don’t commit which is not only unfair, it is unrealistic. However, on a positive note, the guilt reflects our actually efforts to create and maintain boundaries. If we don’t rush to assuage the guilt too quickly, it becomes a life lesson well worth the effort.

What’s the worst thing anyone can possibly say to us when someone is trying to get us to do something that we don’t want to do? The more we are pushed, and the more anxiety we feel as a result, the more we are going to be defiant and refuse to go. Nonetheless but, it doesn’t help that we still feel bad about saying no, we just do not want to do it. Because many of us are somewhat codependent and struggle with our boundaries we tend to make up excuses as to why we cannot do something.

We may say something like…
“I’m going to be out of town.”
“I have a friend in town that I am hosting.”
“I have a prior obligation so I’ll just write a check to support the cause.”
“I fell and hurt my back that day” and just not show up.
“I had car trouble so I wasn’t able to make it.”
“We may even fake having an illness.”
Why can’t we “just say no?”

The list of excuses goes on as we continue to think of ways to get out of it, we find ourselves growing angry, frustrated, anxious, disappointed, and annoyed. The feelings of guilt parlayed into a whole array of negative emotions, and it forces us to truly examine why we allow ourselves to get into these miserable mental states. Well, obviously we just have to work harder on our boundaries.

It’s hard to manage guilt when we have issues with boundaries. We’ve learned a lot over the years of indications of our issues with boundary like apologizing for something when it is not our fault, or being take advantage of, or exploited, or manipulated by boundary-less people in our lives.

People who target people that have issues with boundaries usually have boundary issues of their own so, try to keep that in mind when the guilt takes hold. One way of coping with these issues rather than acquiescing and ignoring your boundaries is to try showing compassion or empathy when we run into people who also struggle with boundaries and don’t even know it.

So what do we do with all of this?

Try not to be pressured to say yes when you really want to say no.  Say to yourself, I am going to stop using lame excuses not to go. Just find within yourself the ability to share honestly at a heart level telling them thank you for the invite but I won’t be making it, that I am just not interested. And, if we have to verbalize it, and risk the chance of sounding insensitive, it’s better than livin with guilt that is unwarranted and propelled by having to make up a false reason that really was not necessary. Be true to yourself. Model truth in love. Remember, boundaries prevent harm and bring relationships closer together. It really feels so much healthier and freeing to speak truth in love. It frees the soul within.

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one another.” Ephesians 4:25

Boundaries: An Inside and Outside Job

Take a moment and test yourself to see where you may need to make some changes. Have Fun with it.

Read each statement below and check the ones that are true for you. Be sure to answer honestly and without judgment. This quiz is to help you decide if you need to make changes in your current boundary setting, not to be an exercise in self-criticism!

Total the number of checks you made under each category to determine what type of personal boundaries you’re currently setting.

__ I put the needs and wants of others before my own.
__ I agree with others to avoid conflict, even though I feel resentful later.
__ I find myself unable to say “no” when I’m uncomfortable with doing something.
__ I’m afraid to say “no” out of fear or guilt.
__ I allow others to speak for my time.
__ I find myself accepting poor treatment from others even when I said I wouldn’t.
__ I find myself doing more than my share of the workload.
__ I try to “fix” other people’s problems.
__ I attempt to control other people.
__ I don’t trust myself or others.

__Total Number Checked
__ I’m able to set personal boundaries that protect my body, my energy, my time, and my other resources (material, financial, emotional, social) without feeling guilty, fearful, or stressed.
__ I can comfortably express my true feelings regardless of their nature.
__ I’m comfortable with other people expressing their emotions.
__ I’m able to respect others for who they are and do not attempt to change or “fix” them.
__ I understand that conflict is a natural part of intimate relationships and even though it may not be enjoyable, I don’t avoid it.
__ I’m willing to end a relationship rather than continue to allow the other person to hurt me.
__ I respect other people’s feelings, needs, and preferences, but don’t feel the need to always defer to them.
__ I’m able to make my own decisions and look out for my interests while taking others perspectives into account.
__ I’m not afraid to disappoint or anger others by stating my opinion.
__ I take responsibility for my own feelings and don’t take responsibility for others’ feelings.
__ Total Number Checked
__ I feel frustrated when people don’t view things the same way that I do.
__ I have a tough time acknowledging and expressing my feelings and rarely consider the   feelings of others.
__ I often use anger and/or intimidation to get my way.
__ I keep people at an emotional distance.
__ I am uncomfortable with physical contact unless I initiate it, and even then it needs to be on my terms.
__ I criticize others when they don’t do things according to my plan.
__ I refuse to “play” if things aren’t done according to my rules, plans, or desires.
__ I become very upset if anyone borrows something of mine, even if they ask first.
__ I always expect something in return for my help or generosity.
__ I infrequently invite people into my “space” (home, office, physical)

__ Total Number Checked
Whichever category you checked the most items in determines the type of boundaries you have.  Do you need to make some adjustments to your personal boundaries to make them more balanced and healthy? Its’ OK.


With all of these changes our team at Compass Consulting & Affiliates LLC has made a BIG change. We have MOVED into larger offices approximately 1/2 mile from our other location. We now have at our new facilitates the ability to facilitate continued group therapy, conferences and educational classes to assist in our counseling and teaching support services. We have grown these past few years and our desire is to serve you as effectively as we can. We look forward to serving you in this beautiful facility. 

1010 Huntcliff Suite 1210
North Sandy Springs, GA 30350

Take A Look At What’s Happening At Compass

Here are services we provide:

  • DUI treatment programs and Clinical Evaluations are state approved for court ordered treatment. Allow us to help you. We also do Interventions for those struggling to get help. Call today: 678-395-7922
  • Individual, Relationship, & Child Counseling
  • Choices: Drug & Alcohol Court Ordered Group- Meets weekly. We also work with your probation officer. DUI, possession charges, and other issues arising from substance abuse.
  • Challenges Adolescent GroupMeets weekly. Now forming for Spring 2019.
  • Man ALIVE Now forming. If you are interested in joining a men’s group please contact our office for more information.
  • Anger Management Classes
  • Diversion Classes For Shop Lifting & Thief Prevention
  • Drug ScreeningAlso available on site and home kits
  • Relapse Prevention & Early Intervention Program
  • Substance Abuse Interventions for your loved ones
  • Adolescent Girls Group Now forming. Charity & Bethany are offering a 4-week intensive for adolescence. This is a focused group which will be held to a very limited number of teen girls. Give them a call about how to sign up your teen. 
  • Counseling for drug and alcohol issues. We treat both the addicted loved one as well as the battle weary family. We are here for you.
  • Executive Coaching is also available for the busy professional, who seems to never have time.

Meet our team!

Our team of counselors have various licenses and degrees, so you will be sure to find the perfect match. Call 678-395-7922 today or visit our contact page to schedule an appointment or leave a message.

Dr. Rick Petronella, PhD
Dr. Rick offers a treatment program that addresses destructive behaviors such as alcohol abuse or anger management. If left untreated, these behaviors can lead to DUI’s, domestic violence, and multiple losses in one’s life. He is a also Certified Clinical Supervisor and a Master Addiction Counselor and holds a credentials in Advanced Clinical Addiction and Drug Counseling. You only live once; you deserve to live free of addiction and embrace fully all that your life has to offer.

Having practiced as an individual, family and corporate consultant for over 30 years, Dr. Rick has also been involved with specializing in the areas of leadership development, executive coaching. He also works closely with individuals, couples and families helping to make life as fulfilling, meaningful, healthy and conflict free as one would desire. He is the president and founder of Compass Consulting and Affiliates, LLC. and Choices Treatment Program.

Bethany Kinzel — MA, LPC, NCC
Bethany is an LPC focused on individuals, couples, and adolescence. She utilizes proven, clinical and educational techniques to help her clients live a more productive, meaningful and fulfilled life. Her educational techniques include: cognitive-behavioral therapy, family systems approaches, and mindfulness exercises. By practicing these techniques, the chains of repetitive, destructive behaviors will be broken, leading to a better quality of life.

Charity L Simpson, MS, LAPC, NCC, MDiv
Charity is a collaborative, relational-oriented counselor who seeks to support individuals within their current context. She integrates humanistic, existential, and systems theories with cognitive, behavioral, and solution-focused techniques. Charity seeks to work with clients to identify strengths, better utilize available resources, and work through challenges that pose obstacles to fulfilling life and relationships. In addition to traditional talk therapy, Charity integrates practices of mindfulness and creative approaches such as art, music, experiential, sand tray, and play therapies.

Lisa Petronella- RN, CIT

With her specialization being in addiction counseling, Lisa generally works with young adults through senior adults. She has a motivational approach to therapy, using motivational interviewing techniques to help clients to find the power to change within themselves. Her techniques also focus on self-awareness and mindfulness. Lisa graduated KSU in 1995 and became licensed as a Registered Nurse. Her background in nursing brings a unique perspective of wellness to her counseling. She brings to the therapeutic relationship an understanding of how the wellness of the mind and body affect one another and how physical self-care is necessary, especially for recovery from addiction.

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