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The Importance of Establishing Boundaries After 60

By Leslie Moon April 24, 2024 Mindset

I recently found myself in a position where, at the age of 62, I have begun to establish and actually stick with some boundaries.

This came with a complete mindset change – I wasn’t just paying lip service to this idea – it felt very different in my brain. I was setting some boundaries and would be sticking to them.

I had never done this before.

A Bit of Background

I had recently taken on more of a caretaking role for my mother, who I would describe as fairly narcissistic. Our relationship is less than fabulous, but I am her only child and regardless of my feelings overall, I want her to be safe.

Recently, my daughter-in-law had a small medical emergency and needed me to go and take over my grands for a few hours. My mother’s response to this was, “I hope she’s okay by tomorrow so you can get me where I need to go.”

There was zero concern for my daughter-in-law – her granddaughter-in-law. And I knew that if my kids and grands needed me the next day, that’s where I would be. They are my priority.

As it turned out, I was able to get my mother where she needed to go the next day, but it evolved into an entire day-long situation. I dropped her off at her home that night, and I felt different.

I was done. I had reached a new place in terms of what I was willing and able to do for my mother anymore.

I was establishing boundaries.

Boundaries Can Be Tricky, and They Come with Mixed Feelings

Making the decision to limit my availability to my mother as well as end my tendency to drop everything and run if something came up represented a huge change for me. Throughout my life I have always been a people pleaser and a caretaker – always wanting to do what I can to make people comfortable.

I had a realization that I could never make my mother comfortable or happy – and that my trying to do so was harming my own mental health and keeping me from doing the things and being with the people that I loved.

Establishing and respecting boundaries made perfect sense in my brain, but it felt “weird” to me because this was not something that I had EVER done.

My counselor encouraged me to change the word “weird” to the word “uncomfortable.” My action was new. It went against my personality. That didn’t mean it was wrong.

I often talk to the women in my Life Balance After 50 community about how it’s okay for us to sit in discomfort sometimes. Everything isn’t always easy. We aren’t supposed to be happy all the time. And, when we try something different, we should expect it to be uncomfortable.

Especially at the beginning.

I found that as I’ve started to follow through on these boundaries, I’ve felt a bit of discomfort mixed with a good amount of happiness and a healthier feeling overall.

Guilt Around Respecting Our Boundaries

Guilt is a common feeling among the women in this community, particularly when it relates to taking steps that benefit self. Many of us have been raised to smile and go along with whatever is happening, regardless of how we are feeling in the moment.

When we set boundaries, we are self-advocating. We are putting ourselves first. And this is often difficult or uncomfortable.

But is it wrong? Usually, no! And often, these boundaries strengthen us, strengthen our relationships, and make us more accessible and available to the people that we actually want to be there for!

We need to stop feeling guilty just because something we are doing feels right and good!

Saying “No” Doesn’t Come Naturally to Many of Us

We often don’t want to disappoint others. We often want to avoid conflict. Sometimes it just seems easier to say “yes.”

But, when we say “yes” to something or someone, who is not in line with our priorities and values, we are likely saying “no” to something or someone who is.

Because there is only so much time in a day.

And, what I’ve remembered is that I retired so that I could spend time with my husband and children and grandchildren.  

Boundaries are important at any age, but after 60 they feel even more important. Time is valuable. Relationships are valuable. And, at this stage of the game, it is okay for us to decide how we want to spend our time and with whom. It is okay for us to take steps to limit toxicity in our lives.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you ever had to set boundaries with someone in your life? Was it difficult? Were you able to respect the boundaries that you set? What positive things came of it?

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Kimberly Phoenix

I am looking for a therapist who helps adult children caregivers to emotionally immature parents or mothers with narcissistic tendencies. Online therapy would be helpful and if they accept insurance would be helpful also. Asking for a friend. They are suffering physically and mentally with this situation.


I hear you I am right there with you! It is NOT easy

You might want to check out


Thank you..your article taught me heaps n look forward to more..cheers

Patricia Lanton

Good Morning Margaret and Sisters! Happy Thankful Thursday to you all! After being a people pleaser most of my life I am learning to set boundaries and I like it! Learning what is best for me! Thank you very much for sharing this topic! Love and Peace to you all 🥰


It feels good, right?? Thank you for sharing, Patricia!


A woman in my group.of friends to be her “best friend”. She is loud and I don’ her. I have decided to own wishes and only see her in the group.


Smart lady. I had a friend like that for 8 years, trying to help her with her many issues, loud and drank way too much, but finally I decided to drop the toxic relationship. It just wasn’t working for me any longer and was affecting my health. I’ve learned that we can’t “fix” people, and some friendships are not worth starting in the long run. Do what is best for you.

Joyce Ramsay

My sister frequently drinks too much, gets loud and repeats her ‘sad’ life stories ad nauseum. Although I am always seen as the strong one in the family, I often see her as a bully – using her emotions to get what she wants from me. I have set boundaries; sometimes I tell her, sometimes I don’t it doesn’t seem to make any difference as she quickly moves on to something else she can get from me. I have even been asked if I am leaving her things of mine she covets when I die. You are right. Fixing some people (actually, anybody) is just not possible and it will certainly do your head in if you try. I am in a happier place now that I do see the funny side of her narcissism and let her know decidedly just what I am prepared to do. I have compassion for her as we were brought up in a toxic alcoholic/caretaker environment but I have developed compassion for myself and I must remain vigilant that I don’t regress into the competent ‘pleaser.’


Yeah, I just dropped a friend of many years – in fact we had a huge falling out last Xmas. What I found interesting about the fallout – was her ideas of what she actually thought about me, which I thought was extremely entertaining. Her ideas of what she thought I was all about – were just so distorted and just unbelievable – it was just ridiculous. Because of this, I am now so relieved she is out of my life! During our final conversation together, she told she was a ”people person” and I wasn’t. In my view, this woman is narcissistic and uses people for what she can get out of them. She ingratiates herself onto or with people! For example I was constantly giving her vegetables from my garden. I did not mind for a long time – as I often have a surplus of vegetables anyway! In the end – I just felt used! I have many hobbies and one of them is photography and I spend huge amounts of time pursuing this hobby and have done so for quite a few years. She then told me, I only pursued photography – cause that was the only thing I was capable of doing!!!! I pursue this hobby because I find it really enjoyable and not because it is something ”I have to work at or need to do in order to survive”!!!!!! There is a huge difference – which this woman obviously failed to understand! It then made me realize (I was very shocked) in how jealous she felt – because of what I find is a riveting and absorbing hobby and it occupies so much of my time! This woman works in a job which she finds physically demanding and exhausting and with this job – she is constantly fighting with the many bosses she has had to work with over the years. She does this work – as she is incapable of doing anything else in her life and was always too lazy to do any training for any other type of job! Before I retired – sometimes (occasionally) I did the kind of work this woman does (this is how we met in the first place), however I also worked as a Market Research Interviewer for eight years – before retiring! I then had to remind this woman that as well as working as a Market Research Interviewer, I also worked as a photographer of babies in a major hospital for three years. I have also worked in a Boarding House and a Second Hand shop for many years. I am not a one-trick pony – like this woman is. This woman’s whole life has been in getting other people to work for her – like her husband and her adult children. When her husband went bankrupt – she abandoned her husband and five young children (the oldest was 15 and the youngest was five years old at the time) – she then moved to another town and then tried to find herself another man (to look after her financially) and has had many relationships since! After a great many years of doing this – she is still on her own!!!!! Anyway, enough is enough as far as she and I are concerned – I am now very relieved and very happy in not having this woman in my life anymore. The only problem is that we both live in a small town and occasionally I do run into her – which I find extremely uncomfortable. When this happens – I just wave to her and keep walking! I don’t hang around to talk and I know that she wants me to. I just keep saying, “I am really busy – I have to go”!


i don’t know you, but i’m proud of you


Wow! This is so me! I have been a people pleaser and avoided conflict my entire life. I even stayed in an emotionally abusive relationship in my teens and early twenties for this very reason. I have spoken to my therapist about this and it is one of my current goals. I feel that the women of our generation were taught to be “good” little girls, be quiet and not cause trouble. It is extremely difficult to change your habits after such a long time.

Mary Smith (not my real name)

So true for many of us. I understand you clearly.


I have had to set boundaries with my oldest child. I’m more relaxed and can now appreciate the positives in our relationship more


Yes, when it’s really done intentionally, the positives are really there. I’m so glad!

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The Author

Leslie is the founder of Life Balance After 50 where she uses her background in counseling and behavior analysis to help women navigate their goals and dreams after 50. She created a free mini workbook along with a guide and a full-length workbook for women who are looking to redefine and find joy and purpose in their second half of life. Contact Leslie at

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