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Balancing Compassion & Limits

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This presentation is for caregivers of the mentally ill. It addresses a common difficulty when you have a loved one with mental illness – when to emphasize kindness and when to emphasize limit setting and how best to combine these approaches to help your loved one and to care for your own well-being.

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Balancing Compassion & Limits

  1. 1. Created December 2020 Balancing Compassionate Kindness with Limit Setting Presented by Ingrid Waldron & Sarah Freudberg of NAMI Main Line PA, an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (see contact information on the last slide) 1 NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020
  2. 2. • All of us need encouragement, appreciation and positive comments/affirmations. This is especially true for people with mental illness. • Sometimes, instead of dealing with problems after they arise, it is more effective to create a positive, supportive environment that can prevent problems. NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 2
  3. 3. • Identify and deal with any anger or fears you may have. • Anger indicates that something needs to change. What? • Reframe: Remember that his difficult behavior is often a symptom of his mental illness rather than unkind or manipulative behavior that he could stop if he would only try. • Talk with a trusted friend, support groups, physical activity, meditating, etc. NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 3
  4. 4. • A compassionate boundary is a boundary or limit that is compassionate both to myself and to my loved one. • Compassionate to myself means: o recognizing my own limits, needs and wants o asking for what I need to feel safe and maintain my own well-being. • Compassionate to my loved one means: o expressing the boundary with kindness o a willingness to compromise with their needs and desires o in their long-term best interest. NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 4
  5. 5. Questions to think about: • How can you apply what you've just learned to your situation? • What compassionate boundary do you want to set? NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 5
  6. 6. Setting limits First and Foremost: Self Care! • On the airplane- put your own mask on before assisting others • Safety is paramount in self-care NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 6
  7. 7. What prevents us from setting limits and expectations? • Guilt • Fear of what might happen to our loved one • Fear of how they may react to our limit/expectation What mindset do we need to have to override these fears? • Acknowledge your fears, own them • Ask yourself: what will happen if you DON’T set this limit/expectation? NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 7
  8. 8. Ready to Set a Limit or Expectation -be prepared to negotiate or differentiate your expectations, taking into consideration: 1) Making reachable goals 2) Setting your loved ones up for success 3) Meeting them where they are NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 8
  9. 9. Baby Steps -Limit setting is most successful when done slowly and in increments -again: small, reachable goals NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 9
  10. 10. Who’s in Charge? -You ARE the authority of the limit, expectation, and outcome -You are NOT the authority of the conversation (Why not?) NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 10
  11. 11. Listening and Understanding -“Compassion”- the roots of the word mean to literally “suffer with.” -Compassion turns sympathy into empathy -Empathy is understanding -You cannot understand if you don’t listen NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 11
  12. 12. Why Listening is Key -feeling heard leads to feeling safe -feeling safe leads to feeling trust -feeling trust leads to your loved one knowing that your limit- setting is in their best interest NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 12
  13. 13. Team Mentality -there should be no “my side/your side.” -establish common goals at start of conversation NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 13
  14. 14. Active Listening 1) mirror what you heard them say, regardless of whether or not you agree with it 2) ask follow up questions so that: a. they know you heard them b. they know you are interested in what they said/feel NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 14
  15. 15. Don’t listen in order to respond… …listen in order to understand. WOW, right?! NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 15
  16. 16. Questions to think about: • What is a limit that you want to set, but you haven't succeeded in setting yet? • What is getting in the way of setting this limit? • What is a new approach you could try? NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 16
  17. 17. Additional Resources • Communicating with a Loved One Who Has a Mental Illness • Multiple Resources for Coping with Mental Illnesses • Family Members and Caregivers – Maintaining a Healthy Relationship NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 17
  18. 18. Additional Resources • We encourage you to take advantage of Family-to-Family, support groups and other help offered by NAMI – https://namimainlinepa.org/ and https://nami.org/Home. NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020 18
  19. 19. Presented by NAMI PA, Main Line an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness www.NAMIMainLinePA.org info@NAMIMainLinePA.org 19 NAMI Main Line PA Copyright, 2020

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