Are personal boundaries disappearing? How do the digital age and the lack of boundaries correlate? The British Psychological Society surveyed 1612 adults about relationship break-ups and the online behavior of former partners. The researchers found that almost 40% experienced online abuse and found these experiences to be highly or extremely distressing. Obviously, people are using the internet to express their negative feelings, often in inappropriate and damaging ways. Many people believe that the internet allows for open expression of thoughts and feelings regardless of the impact or consequence of their actions. Some have the tendency to share too much, turn off their filter, and use this forum to attack others.
Boundaries serve a purpose and provide healthy barriers to personal and emotional information and feelings that we all have the right to protect and keep private. Unfortunately, some believe that the internet gives them a voice to share and are seeking affirmation and acknowledgment of their beliefs. For some the internet is a weapon that is used for retaliation. Others are looking for sympathy for being a victim. Regardless of the rationale, internet abuse is wrong, cowardly, and dysfunctional. When people experience emotional pain they often look to ways to lessen it and sometimes select destructive and unhealthy mechanisms. On occasion, people choose to inflict pain rather than deal with their own pain.
Of course relationship break-ups are painful, like any loss in life, but what we do with our pain determines the outcome. What are some options other than lashing out and attacking a person digitally? How about writing them a letter/email and expressing your feelings privately without posting it on the internet. Work at sharing your thoughts and feelings assertively, respectively and constructively since the other choices make you look bad and don’t provide resolution. Consider forgiving your ex, even if you are not able to forget, condone, or reconcile. Instead let go of the negative emotion and release them from your life. Lastly, decide to move forward with your life and no longer fixate on the things that were done and said, instead learning from the experience and healing from the pain. When you focus on revenge and retaliation you remain stuck in the pain and give it more power and energy. Pain is part of everyone’s life, choose to handle it with integrity and grace; you’ll be glad you did.