I just got a prompt from Lady CG on the topic of boundaries in the Vampire Community. The angles and concepts started dancing in my head. Where do I start?
Let me begin by sharing that I have a panic and anxiety disorder. People who are prone to these disorders are also more prone to boundary issues. Perhaps I should start there.
What are boundaries, anyway? Can we think of them as areas of discussion that we feel uncomfortable addressing or even listening to? What happens when someone oversteps the boundaries that anxious people have?
We’re dealing with a lot of grey area when we deal with the concepts of boundaries as a whole. We have social boundaries that are commonly represented (protected) by the laws and regulations of the areas that we live in–we cannot perform particular acts because they violate the rights of others. (No hitting, touching or otherwise physically invading another person’s territory, body or belongings.)
Then, we have those social rules that are more specific to one’s group membership. We know better than to use profanity in church, use racial slurs against other ethnicities, use homophobic language against queer-identified people…
As if that wasn’t enough to keep track of, many people tend to dismiss that some of us have more complicated systems of association between our ideas. Whereas some people are more neutral and do not have physical/emotional reactions tied into many conceptual or verbal triggers, there are some people who definitely do.
The reactive [hypersensitive, sensitive] members of society might be so because of depression, anxiety or a whole host of other mental or emotional conditions. Those of us who suffer from, deal with or have this type of wiring need to take a bit more care in navigating through the world–especially through some fringe subcultures like the Vampire Community.
While those who have anxiety disorders are not the same all across the board, we do have general similarities…even while we vary in what actually activates our anxiety and to which degree the symptoms are experienced. When those of us with anxiety are exploring the Vampire Community, we might do it in a different way than do those who do not experience anxiety to our level or degree.
One of the primary reasons for being part of the Vampire Community is to find reliable resources of information. When navigating through the online groups, it is pretty much a definite that we will come across individuals who are less than helpful, if not downright antagonistic.
Ideally, someone would just sift through the bad information, until they found material which is not only useful and practical, but enhances the individual vampire’s life in some way or another. Unfortunately, when we have anxiety, coming up against abrasive personalities activates our systems to the point that we cannot focus or discern what is useful information.
There are those people who say that when sifting through the internet and the online parts of the Vampire Community, that we should take everything with a grain of salt and just keep plodding along. We have to expect negative individuals and occasional negative interactions, just because it is the nature of the world to encounter these things.
This would be sound advice if the nervous systems of the anxious weren’t so uncomfortably and automatically reactive. Speaking for myself, as soon as my anxiety is triggered, there are physical, emotional and mental processes which make it impossible for me to stay open to any incoming information or interactions, at that point of my anxiety being activated.
In big letters–WHILE ANXIOUS PEOPLE SHOULD STILL KEEP WORKING ON EMOTIONAL HEALING, MAINTENANCE, AND GROWING OUT OF THEIR CONDITIONS TO THE DEGREE WHICH THEY ARE ABLE TO IN THIS LIFETIME…WE SHOULD ALSO DISCERN WHAT IS NOT UNREASONABLE BEHAVIOR IN OTHERS [I.E., WHAT IS ACTUALLY NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OR FAULT OF OTHERS, WHEN WE EXPERIENCE ANXIETY]…AND ALSO NOT BE UNREASONABLE IN PUSHING PAST CURRENT (AND HOPEFULLY, TEMPORARILY) LIMITATIONS, SO THAT WE CAN BE AS FUNCTIONAL, AS IS CURRENTLY POSSIBLE IN EACH MOMENT.
The stance that some members have in the Community [and in other information/learning groups] is that we should not block other members, because we might be missing out on possible information that they might have to share. At the very least, we can have healthy debate or a personal challenge to our beliefs, when we meet up with contrary opinions.
Depending on individual triggers, an anxious person will often shut down or overreact during interactions–and at that point, the receptivity to information flow will also shut down. To some of us in the information-sharing aspects of the VC, it is the open flow of information which is the most important. Included in this concept, the receptivity of the student (listener) is an important factor.
The anxious member of the VC should be aware of what their personal limitations are, even while they are working on healing them or moving past them. If the anxious vampire is constantly reacting to an abrasive individual, regardless of whichever techniques they keep applying, it would be better to block the abrasive individual to cut down on the triggers that interrupt the information flow.
In my humble opinion, information is found in various channels–groups and people. There are often other individuals who may share the same information as the person who is being blocked. At any rate, if an anxiety sufferer is constantly being triggered [because they have not worked out of particular anxiety-triggers], the information is incapable of being absorbed, regardless of how long or how often they “sit in” with that would-be teacher.
Anxiety sufferers have a different way of interacting with the world. We need to adjust accordingly in the VC, so that we can be as productive as possible. This might include blocking or avoiding specific individuals, so that we can continue to learn and interact with the general populace in as positive and productive way as we can.