people who break boundaries are (often) people who haven't had their boundaries respected

cw: non-specific physical and sexual violence

in the last few months, i have noticed that people who break boundaries are often (always?) people who haven’t had their boundaries respected. maybe that was obvious, but i truly hadn’t understood it until recently.

i have talked with three men in my life since december 2020 who have had mothers who truly and deeply didn’t respect their boundaries as they were growing up. in conversation and usually with some follow up questions, it became clear in all three circumstances that the mom’s in question hadn’t had their boundaries respected. sometimes it was via physical boundary violations, other times emotional or spiritual ones. but the pattern was clear.

i won’t share too much because i haven’t asked for consent but i can share this general lesson: if you make requests for boundaries and never or rarely experience someone upholding them, over time you forget or simply never learn what it feels like to have your wishes be respected. instead, you learn to ignore sensations related to your own boundaries. of course, you then can’t see it in someone else when you are crossing their boundaries. and, in some people, the sensation of crossing someone’s boundaries could even be interpreted as the right thing. like, if your parents always barged into your room against your wishes, maybe you’ll learn that that’s what good parenting is. you could begin to think that not doing that is neglect or something. maybe that’s a stretch but maybe not.

anyway, i bring this up because i’m beginning to have compassion for people who are notorious boundary crossers. as someone paying a lot of attention to how my nibblings are being raised, i’m increasingly attuned to consent dynamics, of boundary violations. kids are usually pretty clear when they do and don’t want something, a touch, a kiss, a hug. their faces hide very little (because they haven’t learned yet). i am excited to help create environments where they don’t have to learn how to mask their true feelings. and that means tending to my friends who were raised by parents who didn’t have their boundaries respected.

turns out… everything is connected. so, as an uncle, now a question i have is: what is my role is tending to the healing of boundary breaches between my friensd and their parents (aka my nibblings’ grandparents)? what a doozy…

words / writing / post-processing
407w / ??min / 9min