Fences make good neighbors – boundaries are good, even in cohousing, intentional communities.

This article caught my attention. I recently did work interviews and like it when they say they are a family. I hadn’t thought of the flip side – it could be an abuse of your time and boundaries.

Obviously, people want to know their neighbors in cohousing. That’s the whole point. But boundaries are still good.  

At our mediation time, one member was trying to get another member to talk about something she didn’t want to. The mediator said, “she has boundaries.”

When I thought about that later it cracked me up. Shouldn’t we all have boundaries?  We all shouldn’t have privacy and some places that you don’t want to share with the group? Why isn’t it okay to go along with the group, especially if you think they are going in a very wrong direction?

Here is the article:

https://www.thecut.com/article/i-dont-want-to-be-like-a-family-with-my-co-workers.html?utm_source=pocket-newtab

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
This entry was posted in group think and cults, other blogs and websites, privacy, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Fences make good neighbors – boundaries are good, even in cohousing, intentional communities.

  1. Flower says:

    I think “We’re Like Family” is a huge red flag even if it’s meant to convey something positive and I wish that they would stop saying it. I want a professional organization. I don’t want their nose all up in my personal business. YIKES! I would not interpret that as caring. Maybe other types of people would enjoy that level of intrusiveness, but to me it feel invasive, dysfunctional, controlling and predatory. Likewise any place where I’ve worked where they made comments like that–the work culture was toxic. I don’t want to go hot tubbing in the nude with coworkers. What a massive boundary violation. NO. I want a professional work culture. Why is that concept so hard to understand.

    Yes, there is a flip side and that is the abuse of your time and boundaries. It can also be about control and manipulation. Boundaries are important everywhere. In fact people with poor boundaries demonstrate a lot of toxic behaviors as well as those who ignore them. Privacy is an important concept and cults try to erode that in order to gain control. It is okay to not go along with the group, and especially under circumstances where you feel it is a wrong direction.

    “At our mediation time, one member was trying to get another member to talk about something she didn’t want to. The mediator said, “she has boundaries.” I’ve been around people with poor boundaries that demonstrate this type of behavior. I see it as hostile and inappropriate and all about control and manipulation. If someone wants to talk they will do so when they are ready. It’s not up to others to bully you about and that’s no way to create trustworthiness or emotional safety.

  2. Flower says:

    And just to recap consider the cults that refer to themselves as “family” such as the cult lead by criminal Charles Manson. They were known as The Manson Family (known among its members as the Family). Likewise the cult known as the Source Family was lead by Father Yod or YaHoWha.

  3. CJ says:

    So true, the slow breaking of boundaries and making you feel badly for wanting them is the first step in control and manipulation. I’m watching the second season of The Vow on HBO and this time, now that I know lots about cults, I see those boundary steps and control that the leader did. He made everyone feel like family even though he took all their time, money, and self-esteem! Some days when I feel badly about my cohousing I remember how many others have left and that no one will talk about the problems but something made everyone flee.

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