The question of setting the limits in the relationship with other people is an important issue. Setting boundaries to others may not be easy, but it is necessary for healthy relationships.
When relationships evolve
Parents meet this challenge very early, assistants and volunteers as soon as they enter the Ark community and start developing and consolidating relationships with people with the disorders, and of course with other assistants.
The question of inner freedom
When we thought about it with Silva, we came to the conclusion that the question of setting the boundaries is in fact the issue of one’s self-esteem and self-image, and as such is closely associated with inner freedom of the individual.How can you set a healthy limit to another, if you are afraid of his reaction? Click To Tweet
People with the disorders do not hide their feelings
When you are in intense relationship with people with intellectual disabilities, you are confronted with the richness of their emotions. Such a person usually does not hide his feelings and can freely express them, whether you like it or not.
At one point, they can embrace you and express the most loving emotions, the next moment they are sending you to ‘that place’. 🙂
Self-esteem dependent on others
Now imagine a person whose self-esteem is dependent on the opinions and reactions of other people. Once confirmation, praise and gratitude is received, his confidence would be high. When he received the rejection or his actions do not encounter a positive and loving response, his self-esteem would be low, he perceives unworthiness and frustration.
Driving the slalom in mutual relations
His actions in relation to the others will therefore always tried to be adapted in a way so that he will receive a confirmation and a positive response, otherwise his self-esteem would suffer.Without inner freedom there is no healthy relationship. Click To Tweet
If such an emotional slalom can be viable in relationship with the ‘normal’ person, who just knows how to play the learned roles, it is practically impossible to act this way with people with disorders. These people often have no limitations and do not hesitate to express their feelings.
Opportunity for personal growth
A man who lacks self-confidence and is dependent on the opinions and reactions of the others, can have a great challenge and a great opportunity for personal growth when working with such people. I dare to say that without a radical change in his mindset, he cannot stay within such a community for long, since any effort to affect the person with the disorder and change their mode of expression quickly backfires.
Without inner freedom, one cannot set healthy boundaries
The biggest problem occurs with setting boundaries.
How can you set a healthy limit to another person, if you are constantly afraid of his reaction? And if you do not know how to set a limit, are you free at all?
If there is anything a man living in such a community can learn, this would be that you learn to get emotionally distant of the actions of other people. Which of course means that you do accept the person such as he is, unconditionally, without wanting to change him in any way.
The core stays untouched
When you are able to keep your core intact, no matter if your actions are rewarded, you’re free, objective and simple. You may accept the other people’s responses soberly and can judge them accordingly.
Only when you can set some healthy boundaries, only then you can say ‘no’ without feeling guilty or fearing the abandonment and criticism.
And what about your experience in relationships with other people? I will be happy to receive some comments and opinions.
In our next (and last) post from Rome Ark community, we will introduce our boys and girls from our house.
You are invited to read Silva’s prayer. Click here >>
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