Thursday, December 8, 2022

When Personal Boundaries Fail - Part 1

 Part of an exploration on the notion of personal boundaries. Came across this blog post on social media tonight...


And most of the advice came down to "your rules, your way, your needs". Others can either respect it or you just walk away from them. And I have mixed and complex feelings about that.

It's pretty telling that modern society's answer to dysfunction is "abandon and jettison the hurt ones who hurt others".

It's horrible to bring this up when the target audience here is often people dealing with codependent relationships. In the short term it can be a very needed answer. But half the time attempts to set boundaries just end up with worse fighting than ever. Sometimes they don't! For sure. But often they do.

And so we then say "well, if they don't accept you you're better off without them". Which only feels half true. Feels like a lose-lose moreso than the win-lose as its often framed as.

It's also just so odd to me. There's zero accountability for actual resolution and we start to almost normalize it as a society functioning well. The message of "abandon those who don't serve you on your terms" is a weird standard of advice that modern wisdom seems to be addicted to. And by saying that, I'm also not saying "stay in one-sided harmful relationships" either.

So much mental health advice boils down to...

"if they don't accept you you're better off without them"

Which only works if you have others that will accept you. If you don't, this advice essentially says "go be an isolated hermit with no friends, assistance, or interaction of any kind". Which is basically a death sentence. So that's a horrible thing to tell someone. 

The core of stand up for yourself has something to it, don't want to lose sight of that. But it's completely lost in the reality of the other half of this - walking away only works if you have somewhere to walk to - which many people don't.

And it still doesn't address the lingering injustice of the conflict happening in the first place and potential need for justice (another thing we're mostly told to not need and get shamed for not "moving past"). 

The self-help narrative has retraumatized and gaslit me for years. It's taken years to start to recover from these prevalent narratives and I'm still not out of the woods with it. This is my effort to break free of what everyone else says is good for my health, and it's been an awful, unsupported, and fight-filled journey against a lot of the help-that-doesn't-actually-help community.

But, am slowly getting there.

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