DEAR READER: Boundaries, Intimacy, and Trust

By Kitt O’Malley

EDITOR’S NOTE: I think we all hate Facebook messenger at this point.

Email and direct messages, especially Facebook direct messages, intrude. I do not feel safe in the secretive world of chat. I need witnesses – others protecting my back. I prefer communication public – on my Facebook timeline or as comments to my blog posts.

People, you can comment on my timeline, which is public! Stop interrupting my solitude. Stop direct messaging me.

Similarly, I hate phone calls. I swear when the telephone rings. Not able to simply ignore it and let it go into voicemail. The ringing irritates me and provokes a response. I must pick it up. But, if it’s a fax, a computer generated call, market researcher, or telemarketer, I hang up on them. They are not welcome. Period.

My boundary issues date back to my relationship with my parents. You see, I grew up in an enmeshed alcoholic family. My sense of proper boundaries is off.

My way of coping is to flash my soul, then retreat. Never really letting anyone close. Always holding others at bay, at arm’s length.

I either flee or swamp. Flee from advances, from intimacy. Swamp and overwhelm with my intensity, with my attention, as if I’m stalking, though that is not my intent.

I’ve been told I’m too intense. That behavior of mine can scare others. I’ve even been blocked due to my zeal in following and commenting.

Why bother to write this, to share this with you, my reader? Am I trying to find a better balance? Do I feel I must explain myself and my behavior to others? Do I feel guilty that I have hurt people with my sometimes cold, sometimes distant behavior? With my inconsistency? Do I consider myself a cold bitch?

Perhaps I’m working my issues out in a public forum, in front of an audience. Perhaps I am the narcissist my son recently claimed me to be.

Ultimately, though, I need to communicate, to share a message. I need to write and speak publicly for I am by nature a communicator, an orator, and a theatrical performance artist. At the same time, I must maintain some sense of privacy and solitude, a safe zone.


Mental health advocate, wife and mother, neglects housework as she writes about living with bipolar disorder, parenting an adolescent migraineur with social anxiety, and being caregiver of aging parents, one with alcohol-related dementia and the other with vascular dementia secondary to stroke. Overwhelming, to say the least.

9 thoughts on “DEAR READER: Boundaries, Intimacy, and Trust”

  1. Absolutely love this post.
    I relate to it on a deep level.
    I loathe DM’s, I despise the phone, I’ve been told I’m “too much”/”too intense”/”a spaz” (ugh) and, drum roll please….the evil, evil “M” word:
    “too MANIC” (even when I was a far cry from it!)

    After getting to know you for the past couple years, my gut tells me you are NOT a “narcissist” (I can never spell that damn word) – our children don’t know it all, although I know your son is exceptionally brilliant. (I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the fact that you shared that with your readers.) It’s incredibly brave to paint oneself in a less-than-flattering light online, and it’s not only endearing; many of us readers connect with that situation and with similar ones as well and feel less alone. Thank you so much for writing this piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Flash my soul and then retreat’ … I can definitely relate to this. Letting people in so far and then keeping them at arms length definitely feels safest doesn’t it 💛


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