I’m asking for some advice tonight on accountability and boundaries. To try to sort this out I started with some definitions.
Accountable (əˈkaʊntəb ə l) — adj 1. responsible to someone or for some action; answerable.
2. (paraphrased) a promise to myself to be completely honest with a person or people, even if I have to admit that I had not kept a commitment.
Boundary (excerpt) 1. Limiting accountability with someone you trust and with whom you feel safe.
I’m really struggling with this one. I feel like I tend to be very open and honest with most of my imperfections and failures with just about everyone. I mean, I’ve got a blog here available to the whole world where I’ve revealed many less-than-flattering stories. But I don’t share every detail of every situation with the entire world, mostly from fear of humiliation and judgement, while trying to maintain some shred of dignity. From my point of view, I don’t think I just paint a rosy picture all the time. I know it’s extremely difficult to be objective with this, especially with my own stories. But I do try.
Many of you know I share more with you in person than I do on this blog…even if it’s still not every sordid detail of my life. And I may not, in fact almost never would, share ahead of time that I’m about to do something really stupid. If I was being totally honest even with myself, I probably wouldn’t even do it to begin with, much less need to account for it in advance, or ask for advice/permission ahead of time.
So here are my questions:
1. Is it possible for someone to screw up so bad that they’ve lost their right to boundaries in sharing personal information? I know in some extremes that answer is yes. For example, child predators (and just to be clear, I brought this up because it is NOT one of my issues), have lost their rights to determine who they share information with. They must register with the state as an offender with the name and residence published for every family, friend, neighbor, and stranger to see. Are there other, less harmful mistakes I could have made that also forfeit my right to set my own boundaries?
2. How does your view and understanding of accountability and boundaries differ from mine? Is admitting mistakes after-the-fact still accountability? I know admitting the lie is not the same as not lying, but does that mean I also haven’t been accountable?
3. I understand I need to be accountable to someone, or some group. Do I have the right to choose who those people are? Can I change who they are, if I discover I’m don’t trust them, even if I have no rational reason not to trust them?
4. Are there any people who are included by default, due to their relationship with me, family members, friends, spouse, therapist, doctors? And exactly how accountable should I be? Just concerning issues and behaviors that I’ve asked for help with, or every aspect of my life?
Ok, I KNOW y’all don’t post back to me often, but I could really use some feedback on this one. And LOTS of it. I want some different points of view to consider. I won’t name any names, but I know there are some more familiar with accountability and boundaries on a personal level. It would help me a lot to hear from you. Even in an email, if your personal boundaries make you uncomfortable posting here.