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Centerpointe Research

Hidden Boundaries

Boundaries vary from person to person .  What is acceptable to one person might not be acceptable to another.  They also vary from group to group or from culture to culture.  If we know a person well or are a long-term member of a group or  have been born in and lived in a certain place for a significant amount of time, we often instinctively obey certain boundaries.  An example of this would be personal space; however, this can change under certain conditions such as in a packed subway car.  Certain gestures are considered obscene in one country and perfectly acceptable in another.

What happens when someone crosses these boundaries?  They may be ostracized or shunned.  In the worse case scenario, it could get them killed.   In some countries, a woman can not be out of the home without being in the presence of a male relative.   When someone knows and obeys the boundaries, it can make for good diplomatic relationships, instant group membership, or simply friendship.   For example, some groups have secret handshakes.

There are boundaries that are subtle and frequently never put into words.  This can be true of sexual boundaries.  Naive people often have theirs crossed and may do nothing to stop it out of ignorance and embarrassment.  Adults who are victims of  the crossing of their sexual boundaries as children may become passive victims of  more sexual abuse or they may act out by displaying inappropriate sexual behaviors.  The behaviors of these victim’s who as a result are ignorant of some of the more subtle  sexual boundaries can be misinterpreted by others even though the victims didn’t mean for them to be taken that way.  This creates at the very least social ackwardness or at the worst sexual harrassment.

2 Responses to Hidden Boundaries

  • Emil Dae says:

    Have you ever encounter this? Much more likely because you have posted this

    • admin says:

      The answer is yes. I have worked with abuse victims, both children and adults. My horizons have expanded since I left home to go to college and I realize different people do things differently. They are not necessarily right or wrong but it is helpful to know what these differences are, especially if you want to be accepted in that group.

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