Being unconditional means that our attitude toward a person is not depending on his or her behaviors. Regardless to what the person does, we keep to our promises and we give him the help and protection he needs.

Unconditional doesn’t mean that we have to be 24/7 for the person. It’s about what happens in the moment of contact.

In many cultures being unconditional in our relationships with others isn’t common. Only parents know the unconditional love and care for their children. They are there for their child, regardless what it’s doing.

This unconditional attitude in care giving relationships isn’t only a matter of intention of the caregiver. We have to train ourselves, in not falling back on conditional habitual patterns  of our culture, when a person doesn’t do what we like him to do.

Most important in unconditional care is not the intention and the skills of the caregiver, but its how the person perceives us. And that can be very difficult. Due to the combination of his personal vulnerabilities and his life-experiences, a person may be so suspicious, that he easily misinterprets our intentions and actions.

Being unconditional has to be genuine, both rational and emotional. Otherwise we will create confusion for ourselves and the person.


How to prevent harm

Unconditional doesn’t mean that whatever the person does is ok, and that we don’t do anything to prevent harmful behaviors.

When a person can’t care for himself, or when he can’t respect the borders of others, the caregiver has to assure that these borders are not crossed. When the person has no inner locus of control, the caregiver has to become his external locus of control. This doesn’t mean that we have to become domineering.

We can prevent unacceptable behaviors by supporting the person when he feels stress or help him develop better ways to deal  with stress.

An effective way to prevent harmful behaviors, is to draw the person's attention toward us and guide him through the moment of stress.  We distract him from the focus of his stress and prevent problems without being domineering.

We can do this only when we have at least developed the beginning of companionship.

Without this beginning of companionship, we can be facing moments when we have no other options to prevent harm than by intervening in a way the person does not like. It is what it is. If the harm by doing nothing is more than the harm by intervening, we have to intervene. We sometimes have to accept that we have no other options …yet.  Realizing this, we get more energy to work on developing companionship.