Posts Tagged ‘healthy boundaries’


Word told me of someone she’d met at camp who would listen over and over to the song “Desperado” by the Eagles, listen and sob about how “it’s all TRUE!!!!”

It’s not clear to me what that meant, exactly, although there’s an age for many people when they feel terribly isolated and misunderstood. Of course, there’s the opposite position as well: the feeling that people are trying way, WAY too hard to get under your skin, and you would be much happier if they would deal with their own issues, rather than trying to fix, heal, or merge with yours.

One of the more difficult social situations is to tell someone who clearly cares a great deal that the way they are wanting to care is not the way you really want to be cared for.  Some people view any thwarting of their desire to intervene as just one more sign that you are broken and “just don’t see…”[I’m sure this theme will circle back again later.]


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I think this is the gate outside the garden of the Ursuline Sisters in New Orleans

I think this is the gate outside the garden of the Ursuline Sisters in New Orleans

I had not realized that “loving bluntness” was in common use as description of behavior or style of speaking. I guess it’s harsher than “loving kindness”, but still has some religious echos, at least that’s what I gather from the sorts of sites where the description is used.

A phrase that is certainly more common is “unique and personal”, which doesn’t make it much less irritating to me. Part of that irritation comes from living on the border between the humanities and the sciences — science isn’t exactly or purely _im_personal, and way too much of what I’m getting from this set of students is confessional and visceral: could we all just take a few steps back and think about what you’ve been saying?

Sometimes I worry that my personal biases creep too much into my critiques of ‘creative’ student work.  But then I remember that I’m not the only person who’s giving them feedback, and if you’ve gotten to post-grad work, you ought to have the stomach for hearing other perspectives.  So then I go back to the stacks of earnest vagueries and try again to get those writers beyond just wanting to merge into their reader’s consciousness so that everyone sees and feels and values exactly the same things.  Show your readers something new, something they hadn’t thought of before — fine — but ixne on the possession thing, okay?  I am not going to stop the world and melt with you.  Boundaries, people!

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