As a mental heath clinician, I was fascinated by the podcast on NPR One last spring entitled "The Shrink Next Door"(produced by Wondery and Bloomberg) for several reasons. For one, it is an alarming story of betrayal and of a degraded mental judgment on the part of the patient that occurred in this day and age, thiscentury, which is probably the main reason for most of the shock.

However, I have to say that most shocking of all was the tepid response to Marty Markowitz's initial conclusive complaint and the many steps that he had to take to receive an appropriate interest into his remarkable story of psychological mistreatment and betrayal. His damning complaint took four whole years to review, and it was not even completed at the time of the story's broadcast.

What's more, it appears that once the responding agency got wind of the media attention following the story's publication, their handling of the issue changed for the better — which is even more discerning and telling of American culture and its feckless systems.

Interestingly enough, this is a culture that rails over "Big Brother" watching, but it has repeatedly shown a lackluster response unless there is intense scrutiny. It seems that it is not until many eyes are watching that certain people in power feel the pressure to respond compassionately — which is a devastating reality when you think about it. I can't imagine the atrocities that have gone unheard simply because people have been numb and hard-hearted in their response to minor and major personal attacks.

Naturally, a nation is made up of people, and when people are not supportive of boundaries, it becomes evident in all that they do: systems falter, relationships crumble, and violence occurs.

As much as it saddens and enrages me, it does not totally surprise me, as I have seen it before; the people who know better (i.e the people who publicly pledge to ease others from their mental ailments and suffering) are oftentimes the chief ones inflicting pain. It usually is because they are impotent and shiftless beings who are seeking to establish their own dominance rather than looking to provide the kind of attention that heals.

The thing about psychology and mental health treatment is that it does not work if you do not have boundaries. Boundaries are the imaginary lines that form the basis for treatment and psychological and emotional wellness. The importance of having them cannot be stressed enough, as they are key psychological constructs that are only upheld by consistent behaviors. They really are the source of mental fortitude and strength; boundaries are responsible for all aspects of a society and a community.

Boundaries are upheld by people, and consistent upkeep of each boundary establishes the limits that ultimately provide directions that are helpful and, indeed, protective. The ideal is to have everyone in the community supporting the boundary; this gives strength to the ideals set forth in the community and it creates harmony amongst the people.

It is no wonder that America has lost its stride as a nation because of the obvious erosion of boundaries. Naturally, a nation is made up of people, and when people are not supportive of boundaries, it becomes evident in all that they do: systems falter, relationships crumble, and violence occurs.

The thing about government agencies is that they are entirely reliant on the boundaries of those that are leading them; therefore, when agency policies are consistently derided and made awash as government leaders abandon professional boundaries for personal profit, communities suffer. Agencies become money pits with few profits to render. It is why many social service agencies suffer from recidivism and high staff turnovers.

Interestingly enough, this is a culture that rails over "Big Brother" watching, but it has repeatedly shown a lackluster response unless there is intense scrutiny.

I believe that there are few government agencies that are effective. The majority really just exist to provide some people with a consistent paycheck and aimless routines. This is all because of a lack of boundaries that are supportive of their everyday mission. Many agencies continue in a haphazard fashion of functioning for years simply because their actions are not rightly aligned with their stated goals.

This issue of boundary erosion also explains the systematic racism that afflicts government agencies and even private ones; people like being around people that are supportive of their boundaries and/or a lack thereof, so they will readily hire a person who appears to be like them. When you have large swaths of people living alike and doing the same things, it is likely that they would think the same way and support the same boundaries, and any efforts to dissuade them from it would be immediately thwarted and unsupported. This also further explains American economic disparities as well, for obvious reasons.

I have to note that anything can be set as a boundary, so it is not simply about having a boundary. It further requires the boundary is connected to something that will historically succeed. For example, when an agency's mission is reflective of society's mission, success will abound, all because of the strength that is tied into the collective mission. We live in a world that was formed by God, and any actions that are tied to the teachings of his son are ultimately connected to God and will be supported. This is the way that has been allowed for us to tap into the ancient streams of life; supporting God's teachings is supporting his boundaries, and this gives us the chance to align with his ancient strongholds. Any longterm success can be traced to this fact. It is for this reason that many agencies have to pivot to a story of giving and overall humanity so as to tap into this eternal strength.

Honesty with yourself is also important, because once you know who you are, you will come face to face with your truths: Are your actions supportive of yourself? Are you living as you believe you should?

In the workplace, terms like "team player" always leave me on guard, as they are often used as an opportunity to erode personal boundaries. Fast-paced, fast-changing practices are likewise ineffective and an effort to distract from the necessary human underpinnings of small gains, consistency, and enduring focus. The idea of a democracy is a double edged sword, and it is only useful when everyone is given the opportunity to express themselves. One must be aware that this takes time, respect, and a clear outlook on what one is trying to achieve. Given these necessary parameters, it is no wonder so many agencies are unsuccessful, as people lay unfulfilled and and frustrated. Many leaders are often under intense pressure, especially in government, and they often fail to see the forest for the trees.

It is important to note that personal and professional weakness abound when individuals are not supportive of their own personal ideals, as this affects their ability to continue successfully stand up to external and even internal pressure in the face of adversity. This is the same for agencies and companies, who will not sustain their efforts if they are not aligned in a way that is protective of their employees, their customers, and their mission.

In the workplace, terms like "team player" always leave me on guard, as they are often used as an opportunity to erode personal boundaries.

As complicated as our problems seem to be as a nation, we are able to fix it pretty quickly with a few things. One of the most important is self-knowledge: Who are you? What is your core? Honesty with yourself is also important, because once you know who you are, you will come face to face with your truths: Are your actions supportive of yourself? Are you living as you believe you should? Respect for boundaries is the next natural step, as you have to consider whether you are upholding your own boundaries. Once you are able to recognize this, you will naturally recognize the boundaries of others and respectfully support them. When you have completed this self-examination, you will have a firm belief in the things that are true, and you will tap into the ancient strongholds that have been designed to keep people safe. No matter the constancy of the hate that is hurled in your direction, none of it will materialize, as you are strengthened against any onslaughts. Truth has no match, and the spectacle that is the current American presidency is simply an opportunity for us to witness lies disintegrate in the infirm. Each day, our job is to dig in our heels into our beliefs and to do the little acts that we can do to support them, whenever we are so inclined. This is the meaning of life. This is the tree of life. It is every man for himself!


WRITTEN BY

Odetta A Fraser