Setting Boundaries After TBI

Why is setting boundaries important?

In addition to the physical changes that may occur as a result of a brain injury, the effects of brain injury can also be seen in the emotional and cognitive domains. After a brain injury, you may find that your thoughts move slower than they used to.  Your memory may not be as strong as it once was and you may have trouble understanding what others say to you. You may be easily confused or find your emotions to be more intense.  You may be more likely to jump into a situation without thinking it through or have trouble solving problems that formerly would have been easy for you. People with brain injuries can also have difficulty paying attention or concentrating.  All of these challenges can make interacting with others more difficult and influence the way you perceive the world. They can also put you at greater risk for misunderstandings, being taken advantage of, or being hurt.

A boundary is a guideline or limit that you place to help you determine reasonable and safe ways to interact with others and how to respond when something happens that is outside those limits. Building and maintaining strong boundaries can help you protect yourself and maximize the enjoyment you receive during interactions.  Below are some tips to help you set and maintain boundaries in different spheres of life.

Tips for setting healthy boundaries

  • Keep family and/or trusted friends aware of new friendships or romantic interests
  • Know what you do and don’t like and be okay with telling partners these preferences1
  • When making decisions, ask for extra time or clarification or what ask someone you trust to explain things to you
  • It is okay to keep some information private2
  • Friends and romantic interests don’t have to know your computer password, ATM pin, or full medical history
  • If you have trouble remembering this important information, ask your therapists about special apps or strategies that can provide reminders or enlist trusted family or friends to help
  • Set up an anonymous account for email and social media3
  • Don’t give out personal information online


  1. Tartakovsky, M. (2011). 10 Ways to Build and Preserve Better Boundaries. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 7, 2014, from
  2. Healthy Relationships.  Accessed 9/6/14.  No authors.
  3. Washington State Office of the Attorney General (2014).  Web Wise Washington – Socializing Online.  Retrieved on 7/13/14 from: