Boundaries allow for the freedom to be yourself – to provide love and care while maintaining personal integrity in the relationship.
Healthy boundaries let you maintain an emotional connection to your care recipient without the negative impacts of discomfort, resentment, or guilt. Discomfort and resentment are warning signs that boundaries are out of sync. If you feel taken advantage of, unheard, unvalued, or unappreciated, it may be a flag that you’re allowing a boundary violation. Perhaps the person you are caring for is imposing their expectations, views, or values on you.
WHOSE ISSUE IS THIS?
It takes two for a boundary to be violated. If you can understand why you allow it, you have the option to change. Look for feelings of guilt, or a need to please or rescue. These occur around boundary violations. Anger, negativity, or pushback from your care recipient may be a sign that you are pushing their boundaries. Are you respecting their need for independence, autonomy, and self-direction?
Maintaining healthy boundaries is a vital part of your own wellness as a caregiver.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS.
List your physical, emotional, and mental limits. Consider what you can tolerate and accept. Then identify what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed. The feeling of discomfort is a sign that a boundary is being pushed.
CARING WITHIN A BOUNDARY
Determine what parts of caregiving only you can fulfill. Ask yourself if someone else can meet the care recipient’s needs. Discuss with your care recipient what you can and can’t (or won’t) do. Explain why you are setting the boundary: work, stress, health, other family obligations, etc.
Expect pushback if it means bringing others into your care recipient’s life. This will be a change for both of you. Validate their concerns but maintain the boundary. Connect with our Caregiver Support Line to get advice or support around navigating this with your care recipient.
“It takes two for a boundary to be violated. If you can understand why you allow it, you have the option to change.”
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION.
Caregivers often worry about the other person’s response when a boundary is set and adhered to. caregivers feel they “should” be able to cope with a situation even when they feel their boundaries are violated. Maintaining a boundary gives you the energy and perspective to better handle your role as caregiver.
A group of peers to talk to or a close and trusted confidante makes it easier to set boundaries and be accountable. It takes courage and practice to set boundaries and stay the course. FCBC has support groups in person and virtually to give you that group of peers to turn to.
Being a resilient caregiver is about recognizing the importance of our own lives, family, and work. It is striving towards caregiving within those limits. Setting boundaries allows you to continue caring with compassion and devotion and not feel lost or swallowed up by the caregiving role. Boundaries are a sign of self-respect
- Visit the Caregiver Learning Centre: Read for more articles.
- View some of our webinars and videos in the Watch section.
- Listen to a podcast to learn more about self-care and well-being.
This article was adapted from original content created by Wendy Johnstone for FCBC in 2019.