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Are You an Emotional Caretaker? 5 Ways to Communicate Your Emotional Boundaries

Are you on emotional caretaker

Emotional caretaking is an act of providing comfort or helping someone else manage their feelings instead of acknowledging your own. An important trait of emotional caretakers could be, the willingness to put others’ needs before your own or being overly empathetic. As a human being, it is natural for people to feel that they need to be there, when their loved one is going through emotional unrest. There will be times when people unconsciously end up taking too much responsibility and that leads them to feel caregiver burden

As a caregiver, it’s essential to provide emotional support to your loved ones. However, it’s equally important to establish emotional boundaries to avoid emotional burnout and caregiver burden. If these boundaries are not set, it is unreasonable to expect that the care recipient will know about your emotional boundaries without you clearly enforcing it. This could lead to feelings of burnout or neglect of your own needs.

In easy terms, the emotional boundary is a clear line. It sets limits where you say “This is what I find acceptable for myself and this is what I don’t”. Setting clear emotional boundaries not only helps in maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself and with people around you, but it also helps prevent burnout. At Samvedna Care, we understand the importance of establishing emotional boundaries for caregivers. Here are five ways to communicate your emotional boundaries:

  1. Identify and name your limits: It will be difficult to set boundaries if you don’t know where your limits are. One should not feel guilty for maintaining their emotional boundaries. This is healthy and a sign of self-love and respect. So, the initial step should be to identify them and know what you feel comfortable with and what leaves you feeling distressed. For instance, make a list of the things you want to prioritize. Introspect about what types of requests you would like to say “yes” to and what you do not have space for. 
  2. Direct Communication: It is usually the best approach if you carefully listen, judge and speak up at the moment so that the boundary is clear and not crossed in the first place otherwise it can leave the other person feeling confused. Use simple and direct language. Letting your loved one know how much time you need to spend with them or without them, being assertive from the beginning can be helpful in setting up your emotional boundary. 
  3. Reinforce your emotional boundaries: Even after you have set your emotional boundaries, people can forget or assume that the time has changed or passed, it is always better to gently remind or reiterate that the boundaries still exist. 
  4. Provide relevant solutions: Nobody owes anyone an explanation for setting up the boundaries but sharing some background can help them understand the reason behind those boundaries. If you have turned down your loved one asking for some help because you were preoccupied with managing your own issues, check-in after sometime when you have more free time to see how you can assist them. 
  5. Self-care and ask for support: Self-care is important for all. While setting up emotional boundary, one can find it difficult to maintain them. One needs to be assertive and work on one small boundary at a time and then move to the more challenging ones. Check when those boundaries have been overstepped, stand firm with your decisions and remember that saying no to something does not require any further clarifications.

Also, if you struggle in maintaining your boundaries, then seek support from a counsellor who can help setting up clear boundaries and sticking to them. Being an emotional caretaker can be challenging, but establishing emotional boundaries is essential to avoid caregiver burden and burnout. At Samvedna Care, we provide support and guidance to caregivers to help them navigate the challenges of caregiving effectively. Remember to be honest, set clear boundaries, practice self-care, ask for help, and be compassionate when communicating your emotional boundaries to your loved one. By doing so, you can maintain a healthy and fulfilling relationship with your loved one while ensuring your own well-being. Take a caregiver burden self-assessment to understand yourself better.

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Samvedna Care, C-13 Anand Niketan, New Delhi