Boundary vs. Interface - Which do you need?

We need to stop using the word boundary when  defining human relationships.  Maybe not stop, but our society needs a bigger vocabulary.  Once boundaries are established, we need means of getting across them safely. 
Your village-of-one scenario is only in your mind.

A cell touches its environment.  Your home has doors.  Minds meet.  We use computers to type our messages into the twitterverse, and we anticipate response.

If you just said, "I don't care  if anyone responds," you anticipated.  And it isn't what you mean - you do care, but you're preparing yourself for the possibility that you threw a rock over your boundary and nobody threw it back.  Maybe you were hoping they'd throw a rock at you, because that response feels normal.

Our society is learning to defy systemic bullying.  We are, in singular form, feeling the authenticity of our true selves.  We're deprogramming the negative self-talk that tried to protect us from stabby mixed messages we absorbed in childhood:

be your best self but do it this way so we can use it
don't associate with that which isn't like us
                   don't be different from us
Just be normal.
we need to be able to know how to use you.

This is what we're fighting, but how do we stop? We do want to stop - we need to stop. Stoppit.

Fight or Flight Response is a defense mechanism the brain engages to protect us from harm.  We sense danger, and we choose a strategy.  If life has been full of enough trauma, the toggle gets stuck.  The brain searches for engagement.  If there is no drama, the subconscious may look for some.

Drama addiction is real.

Boundaryism may be an extreme reaction to Drama Addiction.  Cut it off, the whole thing.   Build your fence, and keep the toxicity out.  Boundaryism is a good forward move, but a poor long-term solution.

Consider adding interface to both your vocabulary and your internal village.  A single cell touches its environment.  Our homes have doors.  We use computers.  Minds meet, allegorically or not.  Let's back up to the single-cell model.

The cell membrane - the boundary between what is cell and is not cell - is considered semi-permeable.  It has ways to let some things in, and some things out, in order to remain healthy as efficiently as possible.  A eukaryotic cell is a fractal version of you.

If you've been in fight-or-flight mode for a very long time, spend a very long time learning what boundaries are yours and which do not benefit you.  Once you're mapped, install interfaces allowing you to connect without reinforcing old habits.

A person who needs to show up at work on schedule has a job as an interface.  Your work-interface will likely use a subset of boundaries for maximum efficiency.  When you build social interfaces, you can also include a subset of boundaries which are semi-permeable, controlling what can cross in either direction.

Here's what I did:  when I moved to Annandale, I knew there was a very real chance I'd hunker down in my comfort zone and oscillate: work, home, work, home, laundromat, home, work.  But I was going through a major life change, and I saw what false comfort that would be.  I made a list of specific interests and started to research my new community.

Meetup found me a bi-weekly discussion of a favorite book in a public location.  I would be free to come and go as I liked.  And it turned out I liked to show up and digress.  This interface led me to further discussion with Barney, who pointed me toward a writers' group with a set weekly time and location to show up.  These groups reinforce my interests and don't  pressure me to conform - they appreciate my input and I still come and go as I like.

What could have been a cocoon of a life is semi-permeable.  I connect with my environment, and I always have access to home.  I can shut the door, or I can open it on the rare occasion when somebody knocks. I'm learning to accept silence as a necessary component in my process, and  not time wasted.

Research your self as you would anything else you want to accomplish.  Don't let anyone else choose your boundaries for you, but identify where you can loosen them up for maximum efficiency.  Stress is the only time wasted.
Round about the accredited and orderly facts of every science there ever floats a sort of dustcloud of exceptional observations, of occurrences minute and irregular and seldom met with, which it always proves more easy to ignore than to attend to.  - Benoit Mandelbrot, The Fractal Geometry of Nature,(1977, 1983), 28.


  1. That is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.

    Brief but very precise information? Thanks for sharing this one.

    A must read post!

  2. You can definitely see your entfhusiasm within the work you write.

    The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe.

    At all times follow your heart.

  3. I like your musings. They tell me what to do but not in a preachy, pedantic sorta way. It's more that you tell me what YOU do, what YOU learned as pertains to yourself. So I read, sometimes agree, sometimes don't. The best part is that I know that if I don't agree I don't have to site a reason. Much of how I respond to things is based on a lifetime of instinctive responses, and it takes me a while to figure out why I respond the way that I do. When I do, then I respond. I like that you explain YOUR process.

    1. i love when you respond, especially when you respond with your story, and especially when it's more of a tangent than a response.


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