Respect and Boundaries


This is my re-post of my previous blog that was published in October 20, 2009.

July 27, 2011 Statement from Amy Cohen Efron: Each time when I expressed my opinions or statements regarding ANYTHING, especially about ANY organization which their actions that I feel it was not cool. A re-tweet, or a brief comment on my facebook status, or a published blog about my opinion, and moments later some certain individuals decided to jump down my throat and attack me personally by publicly using my name or discussing about me as an individual. I find this NOT cool. If you feel that it was an effective way to ‘silence’ me, and I wanted to let you know it is not effective at all. It is useless to continue the dialogue whose goal was to disintegrate me. Not cool at all.

I am re-posting this to let you know that it is my way of setting my own limits and personal boundaries from unnecessary online abuse. Granted that when an individual decides to publish something online, the public has a freedom to respond positively and/or negatively. That is their right, and it comes with a respectful dialogue. It is an opinion that you can agree to disagree, do that respectfully.

Unfortunately, that respect get lost quickly when it gets too personal. It is YOUR credibility that was affected when the line was crossed.

Lately, I have seen the pattern in the Online Deaf Community that there were lot of infighting going on which becoming too personal. The Online Deaf Community is full of the most talented, creative, passionate and caring individuals. It saddened me how things had turned out, including myself getting involved with this kind of conflict with other wonderful individuals.

I want to start respecting other people’s boundaries, as well I wish to have my boundaries respected too. We can always agree to disagree our opinions, and please allow our passions to do whatever we believe in that may make things better for the Deaf Community.

My thoughts start with this simple equation… Respect : Boundary

We give each other respect, and that means we recognize each others’ boundaries. The more we understand each individual’s personal boundaries, and we can give respect appropriately.

Sometimes, the lack of respect can be a boundary violation for a person. This can make a person feeling angry or feeling powerless. When that happens, we usually fight back to preserve our boundaries. Fighting requires a skill.

Let me share the quote which Aristotle wrote in Nicomachean Ethics.

Anyone can become angry — that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way — this is not easy.

There are two kinds of fighting – fair fighting and unfair fighting.

Fair fighting is a respectful, structured way of confronting each other on issues that are causing open or hidden conflict. It is a method for handling and resolving the differences of opinion that inevitably occur between people, preferably in person.

The basic idea is to provide an alternative to “dirty or unfair fighting” which uses reciprocal blaming, yelling, accusing and humiliating the other, in order to win or be “right.”

Examples of unfair fighting tactics

1. Universalizing – Making an unwarranted leap from a specific situation to a vast generalization (using words like “always” and “never”).
2. Character Killing – Switching from the issues of the conflict to making a personal attack. (May include sarcasm for a more devastating effect.)
3. Cloud Covering – Making a vague foggy accusation instead of being detailed and specific about a complaint.
4. Upping the Ante – Instead of responding to the hurt or anger, you just play “tit for tat” by citing a worse case that’s been done to you.
5. Scatter Bombing – Overwhelming the other person with a barrage of faults and misdeeds that land all over the map.
6. Moth Balling – Putting an old grievance in storage “for years or decades” and bringing it out at just the right time to hurt the other person.
7. Spitting in your Soup – Using passive aggressive comments to lay the guilt on the other party. Often includes sarcasm.

Examples that we use online (via blogs and vlogs) to ‘fight’ by using words and behaviors as follows:

“Always” / “Never” / “You” / “But”

Calling names, Cussing, Bringing up the past, Categorizing/Comparing, Doesn’t listen to other person’s side, Sarcastic, Mocks other person, Using weak points, Lecturing, Monologues, Asking inappropriate questions – over the other person’s boundaries, Mad about one thing but talks about another thing, Threatening statements or behavior, Blackmail “or else” statements, Ultimatum, Attempting to “guilt trip” or “shame”, Threatening physical gestures or movements, Condescending, Breaking confidences, Lying, Pushing buttons, Ignores – doesn’t listen to you or your opinion, Pushiness, Demanding, and Judgmental.

How can we fight fairly to protect our boundaries?

Rules for Fair Fighting

1. Keep it Honest
2. Keep it Under Control
3. Keep it Timed Right
4. Keep it Positive
5. Keep it Tactful
6. Keep it Private
7. Keep it Cleaned Up
8. Find out what you’re fighting about
9. Stick to the Subject
10. Avoid Categorizing or Name Calling
11. Leave out Past Histories

Or…. simply ignore and block the person. Do not respond or retaliate to this person.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Using these rules how to fight fairly or telling other person about your own boundaries, then we all can get along in the Deaf Community despite our differences.

Amy Cohen Efron

Post Scriptum added Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 6:52pm
One reader sent me a private email reminding me about giving credit when it is due. I created this post with help from various sources very late last night, I went ahead and published it without providing sources. I learned that I should not do that again by publishing a post during late hours!

Here are the sources below in case if you wish to explore bit more about this. Thank you so much to this reader of my blog. I truly appreciate this so much.

I want to give credit to Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center’s presenters: Robert Whitaker, Psy.S. and Matthew Rider, MSEd. who brought this concept about fair fighting rules for the first time .
Picture 14

The workshop is called “Going With the Resistance: A Paradoxical Approach to Oppositional Behaviors” Thank you Robert and Matthew for this awesome workshop! You have inspired me!

Internet Sources:

Rules for fighting : Posted on 28 October 2005 by Tim Schmoyer
Boundaries: Unfair of Abusive Fighting or Personal Boundary Violations : Posted by Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, DCC

What Are Boundary Violations? How To Avoid Them : Posted by Pamela Simmons

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9 comments on “Respect and Boundaries

A really great post and set of rules for discussion. I am bookmarking it. Thanks! 🙂


You said it very well.

Excellent guidelines! I wish everyone would read this before each time they post a blog or response!

Thank you for this post. I wish that comment
#1 would have been moderated as it is an example
of what you are asking people to steer away from. The
comment had no relevance to your message and
takes away from the beauty of your post.

Usually people who are passionate about an
issue, are actively involved in an organization
that advocates on that issue. Typically those
people have experience and expertise in that
area. Therefore, I personally am careful to
weigh my comments on issues where I have
had no experience or knowledge of the issue

There are some really good, active, and well versed
people working hard to bring awareness to bilingual/ASL
and English, discrimination and prejudices of
audism, Deafhood and analysis of identity issues,
civil and human rights, etc. They all have websites
to learn more about what they are doing. I try to visit
organizations’s websites when I really don’t have enough
knowledge of the issues. This has helped me so I don’t
jump into making comments without the background to back
them up.

I am typing this on my iPhone so forgive my

Bottom line, opinions are great…keeps the world
going round. But negative blogs and comments that
attack people are what takes us 100 steps backward

So again thank you for the reminder to show respect.

One thing I have been wrestling lately..trying to be like Gandhi, MLK, etc while oppressions from top to down is still very much embedded, I know it is not in my or others’ head. No. I really struggle with that.

I may be off the point here, I am pointing this out because what has been happening stems from this and it leaves me and others having to be cognizant of all this before saying something. Sometimes it slips. (shrug shoulders)

Well-said, I’m so impressed! Each one needs to be respected as well.

Excellent post! Thumps up!

I prevent 90% of this happening by:

A: not being in facebook
B: not being in twitter
C: Pro-active in banning personal attacks on my blog, be they at me or anyone contributing.
D: NOT respond to abuses on THEIR terms, these clowns get bored if people take no notice and move on to others.
E: STAY on MODERATED sites, use the back up there, don’t fall for the spiel it is not free speech, it’s their excuse to get at YOU. They don’t give anything for free speech themselves.

I suspect going on social sites is asking for it… there are no links to them on my blog. It’s simple to remove them on your blog, and, if other bloggers operate a closed shop, you can still launch response on yours. Don’t get sucked into social areas, it’s full of nuts and people with really nothing much to say and even less to do with their time.

This applys whether in the hearing or deaf world. Stick to the issues. Attacks on someones character or making huge general attacks that are not about a specific issue doesn’t make anyone’s life better, either hearing or deaf people!

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