Boundaries are the structure that makes things work. Some people grow up without having any as their parents were unavailable (violent, drugged, or even just stressed by life), and others have had theirs broken (victims of violence, sexual abuse, and soldiers). When a person is trained to go into homes at night, in fear of finding someone wishing to do them harm (self-filling prophesy?), scaring women and children and then comes "home" where that behavior is culturally reprehensible and illegal, is it any wonder some folks have difficulty with that transition?
No structure always creates bullying, even with the best of intentions. Absent relationships, intentions are unclear, personal styles are confusing, and ego raises its ugly head. Clarity of boundaries, as anon illustrates makes a big difference. Self boundaries ( I can't do this) and interpersonal boundaries (Get the f*** out of my life) are useful. What we need is more clarity, practice, and skill in expressing them. This is a transition issue.
Structure as Boundaries
Key is not making up new rules as artificial boundaries that block the authenticity necessary to make them work. When the words, always, never, must, don't etc. creep in then you know that a new rule is being made. Rules are a shorthand for behavior so we don't have to pay attention, but can go on automatic pilot in new situations. Doing so, however diminishes the participants and the meaning in the situation as habit enables us to ignore the authentic needs present in the situation. When we ignore the person(s) in front of us how can it be surprising when they respond in a negative manner?
We all need to be seen for who we are. In fact most of us would rather act out and be seen as "bad" than be ignored. We train others (children, strangers, and needy folks in general) in this behavior when we ignore good behavior and only react to negativity. Understanding the hurt behind even the worst behavior can go a long way in preventing further anguish, and may even start a path to healing.
Transition is difficult because it requires SO MUCH healing, even before healthy behavior has been established. Working with people who are injured (physically, mentally, or spiritually) creates pain in its own right, as folks in the healing professions know. This is messy business and inherently slow. So much better to not hurt in the first place. This is easier said than done as there are always very good reasons to create pain ( I'm tired, greed, fear etc,) and justify nasty behavior.
I am a catalyst, I have tools and skills in developing understanding, but few in finding "answers." Answers, in my opinion, need to be authentic responses to both the situation and the participants. I can provide a context for searching for health inducing responses, but I cannot offer them. Transition requires new skills and perspectives,mines that leave the final solution open to immediate interpretation by those present who have developed the skills and self awareness to be present enough to allow the answer to emerge spontaneously.
Paradigm shifting growth happens when people have the courage and commitment to act on their beliefs - aligning actions & vision to achieve an impact that can be awesome.
Work with me to achieve a legacy worthy of your efforts!
Kathryn Alexander, MA: futurist, speaker, author coach, her systems thinking approach to values and ethics enables deep change by impactful leaders.