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On A Fine Line. How To Respect Psychological Boundaries When Communicating With Elderly Relatives - Society
On A Fine Line. How To Respect Psychological Boundaries When Communicating With Elderly Relatives - Society

Video: On A Fine Line. How To Respect Psychological Boundaries When Communicating With Elderly Relatives - Society

Video: On A Fine Line. How To Respect Psychological Boundaries When Communicating With Elderly Relatives - Society
Video: Good boundaries free you | Sarri Gilman | TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2023, December

Unsolicited advice, unnecessary interventions, negative attitudes - this is how boundary violations manifest themselves. After each: "You won't get married until 25, and who needs you later," "Eat everything, throw away food is a sin", "And where are you going to look at night?" - indignation is accumulating, which sooner or later will necessarily result in a big quarrel. But this can be avoided. Irina Sulima, a psychologist at the federal network of private nursing homes for the elderly, of the Social Systems Management Company, tells how to defend your boundaries and observe them when dealing with elderly relatives

Everyone has the right to their beliefs, to ideas about what is good and what is bad, to hobbies, habits, way of life. As soon as the other person begins to impose their ideas about life, this is a violation of boundaries. As soon as the boundaries are violated, there is a feeling of anxiety and irritation.

The principle of reciprocity in dealing with elderly relatives

As Friedrich Nietzsche said: " Love your neighbor "- this means first of all:" Leave your neighbor alone! " And it is precisely this facet of virtue that is associated with the greatest difficulties. Before you defend your borders, you need to understand at what moments you tend to violate others. Respect for boundaries, like their violation, is a mutual process.

Without permission, to change, for example, the curtains in the apartment of an elderly relative, to move the chair, to rearrange the cup from the usual place - this is an invasion into the space of another person. Before "doing good", ask the opinion of the person you want to help, and find out if this help is needed. If your loved one is capable, he himself can decide what to watch, with whom to communicate, when to go for a walk or go to bed. You can advise, but you cannot insist: "Mom, I want to offer you, but you can disagree with me."

As soon as one side stops violating the borders, it will be easier for the other side to accept the new rules of communication. However, you need to understand that this is a long process, it requires a lot of awareness, self-control, and even in this case it will not do without offense.

Do not interrupt me

Before introducing new rules of communication in dealing with elderly relatives, they need to be discussed. And give advance notice of your intention: seniors need time to tune in.

Choose a day, drink tea together, tune in to the conversation and, having removed all unnecessary, start the conversation. You should not interfere with tea drinking and an important conversation in one heap, because we will talk about serious things.

Agree right away that no one will interrupt anyone. Everyone will listen carefully and respectfully to each other.

Share your feelings

The easiest way to start a conversation with older relatives about boundaries is by talking about how you feel when they violate them. It is important not to slip into claims and accusations, but to report precisely about your feelings: “Mom, it’s unpleasant for me when you ask every time where I go and what time I will return. At these moments I feel like a helpless little girl, and I am already an adult independent woman. I would like you to acknowledge the fact that I have grown up for a long time and can decide for myself what and when to do”,“Dad, it’s unpleasant for me when you comment on my personal life. When you do that, I feel literally naked. I want my personal life to remain only mine. I am not ready to discuss it even with the closest people."

If the elderly relative starts making excuses or blaming them, remind them that you agreed not to interrupt each other. Ask to listen to you to the end and promise that in turn you will also listen to him

If an elderly parent insists that he knows better what his adult child needs, ask: "Mom / Dad, can you breathe for me?" And, surprising with an unexpected question, explain that a grown child does not walk by the hand with his parents, they do not accompany him everywhere, he makes decisions himself and is responsible for his life.

Let me tell

It is imperative for older people to be heard. Very often they lose a sense of their own worth and that is often why they seek to share their experience, attitudes, and advice.

Listen carefully to everything that is said to you. Do not comment or rate. Avoid words that may offend or hurt you in some way. The most important thing at this stage is to make it clear to your elderly relative that they are being heard. And then ask what the relative heard from your speech, what he understood. Explain the difference between “listening” and “hearing”.

Figurative solution

Images help very well in setting boundaries: “Mom, look, you are one state - the state Lyubov Petrovna. And I am different, the state is Anna Alekseevna. Each state has its own constitution, rules and traditions. And they must be respected. Let us take this respect as the basis of our relationship."

An important clarification needs to be made here: the point is that the 60+ generation was brought up in a different paradigm. It was customary to sacrifice personal interests in the name of the family, state, and ideas. For a long time, the concept of "healthy egoism" simply did not exist. It can be very difficult for the older generation to accept the idea that everyone can and should live not someone else's, not shared, but their own life. This does not mean that children no longer love and care for their parents. This means that no one will "make anyone happy" forcibly with their manifestations of love and care.

Your life in practice

Very often, elderly people combine their life and the life of their children into one, it is difficult for them to understand what it means to "live their own life." Offer to try different types of activities, help master modern gadgets. They will help to integrate into the external environment.

Focus on those moments when your elderly relatives live their lives, not yours. Be sure to praise them for that. Support creative endeavors, hobbies, the desire to arrange something for yourself according to your own taste. And repeat that everyone has the right to live the way they want. This is normal.