I love boundaries. I love boundaries so much, I would marry them, except my husband and I are monogamous, and I respect that boundary. As much as I love boundaries, setting them can be exhausting. My friend and fantastic autism advocate, El, was talking to me about how they set and maintain their boundaries, and they shared with me how they create pre-recorded responses when they are having a hard time.
El gave me permission to share some of their boundary scripts, which they keep on hand and distribute as needed. This way, they can pull the script out as needed instead of having to articulate the boundary each time. They also put their scripts over some fun imagery. Since some people get angry and aggressive in response to boundaries, I like to think the soothing images could potentially help de-escalate.
Of course, if someone disrespects a boundary and is harmful to you after you set a boundary, that is their problem and not yours. But it is valid to worry about this and to take steps to avoid retaliation in response to your boundaries.
So here are El’s templates for setting boundaries!
The text for these images, from left to right, top row and then bottom row, read:
- We have complex disabilities that include Autism, Kinetism, and Trauma. You have made claims that are inconsistent with what we know to be true. Please direct us to explicit evidence that verifies your claim, withdraw your claim, or accept that we will be ending this exchange. Thank you (green heart)
- Hello, We have complex disabilities that include Autism, Kinetism, and Trauma. Our communication styles do not appear to be compatible. We will not continue to engage on this topic with you. Thank you (green heart)
- Hello, We have complex disabilities that include Autism, Kinetism, and Trauma. We are experiencing a double empathy problem with you, meaning that collectively we are failing to effectively communicate. At this time, we believe it is in everyone’s best interest that we go our separate ways. We wish you well (green heart)
- Hello, We apologize for any misunderstanding. Our comments are not mean tot indicate that anything is universal to every Autist. Comments about Autists are implied relative to a comparable Allistic peer. Thank you (green heart)
Remember, you cannot control how people respond to your boundaries, but you can set them and communicate them clearly. You can also choose who has access to you, and you have the right to limit or eliminate contact with someone who does not respect your boundaries. No one is entitled to access to you.