Boundary ambiguity in the context of family is defined as the lack of clarity among family members regarding who is in or who is out of the family system. Family boundary ambiguity depends upon the perception of a family as they may perceive a physically absent member as psychologically present (Boss & Greenberg, 1984). On the other hand, they may also perceive a physically present member as psychological absent. High-level family ambiguity is a term that is also used in the context of boundary ambiguity. This kind of ambiguity correlates with family dysfunctions. Family means having someone to love you unconditionally despite your flaws. Due to this reason, there is always an emotional preoccupation with the family member that is absent. This preoccupation occurs because of the fact regarding a person’s locations are ambiguous. Every person at any point in their life must have a deal with the changes in its boundaries.
Likewise every other person I have a deal with boundary ambiguity. While I was in high school my neighbors who were desperately trying to have a baby were blessed with a baby boy. I still remember the heart-wrenching incident when I was cleaning the garden area of our house and my neighbors were busy doing laundry. I saw visitors came to my neighbor’s house. They rang their doorbell and the mother left the child unattended came to open the door. As the child was nine months old, he was able to crawl. So when he saw his mother going downstairs to open the door he attempted to follow her. However, he was unable to control the balance and fall from the stairs. He was unconscious and my neighbors took him to the hospital. Upon reaching hospital they came to know that the baby passed away due to internal injuries. This was an ambiguous situation as no one predicted that this would happen. This incident shows that exits are entries are unpredictable.
Boundary maintenance is a term that can be defined as the act of maintaining boundaries in the presence of others. It can also be described as a way in which people in society distinguish themselves from others based on social status, religion, and cultural values (Inglis & Bone, 2006). Due to technology advances, the concept of natural boundaries such as gender and social status, etc has changed and therefore maintaining a boundary requires lots of energy. In the context of society, a social boundary is a term that can be defined as social rules that are considered typical as most people agree that these rules are a reasonable way to live. For instance, in many countries, while having a conversation with elders, it is considered highly disrespectful to look directly into their eyes. In contrast, it is considered rude to not looking at people directly while talking to them.
The concept of boundary maintenance is not new every person is familiar with the term and main boundary in every field of their life. Likewise, this term is being quoted in my daily routine. For instance, at our house, it is considered rude and disrespectful to belch in front of others. However, in many countries blenching is a sign that people have enjoyed the food and the host takes it as a compliment. I remember another incident where I have experienced the term boundary maintenance was when my friends and I decided to go for dinner at a local restaurant on the weekend. The term boundary maintenance also manifests itself in the context of restaurants. Like all the people in the restaurant were sitting near each other yet they have to maintain their own space despite being physically proximal.
Boss, P., & Greenberg, J. (1984). Family boundary ambiguity: A new variable in family stress theory. Family process, 23(4), 535-546.
Inglis, D., & Bone, J. (2006). Boundary maintenance, border crossing and the nature/culture divide. European Journal of Social Theory, 9(2), 272-287.
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