Wednesday night on the AMU, the conversation turned to a certain individual. We had some discussion about this person, and I wanted to share something here that is relevant. It is something I’ve pondered before, and I think it applies in the particular case we discussed. I think it applies in my own case, to be perfectly honest.
There is a difference between being raised and growing up. It is possible to grow up without being raised. For example, there is a spectrum between being well raised and being feral. Now, I am not suggesting that this person or myself is feral, lol. But I do think we fall somewhere on the spectrum below the “well raised” end.
I don’t mean to suggest that “not well raised” equals “rude.” It can mean, “Lacking in the ability to discern certain social cues,” or, “Not understanding normal social boundaries.” Let’s put Liz at the “well raised” end of the scale, just for reference. I wrote to her and asked her permission to do this, which indicates that I see a boundary there. I didn’t want her to see this post without first being aware that her name appears in it. But I only knew of this boundary because of my interactions on that other site. It was not something I acquired during my childhood.
Liz has remarked a number of times that her dad gave her the best childhood anybody could ask for, and I believe her. When I listen to her talk and read her writings, it seems that she has a lot of tacit knowledge that was passed down to her from her parents, and presumably from their parents, and so on. It accumulates and passes down in a normally functioning family. In an abnormally functioning family, that kind of tacit knowledge gets easily lost to subsequent generations. They suffer for it, and they have to waste time reinventing the wheel, so to speak, regarding social interactions. They might inadvertently hurt others’ feelings, transgress normal social boundaries, and/or reveal inappropriate information. Assuming that there is a certain amount of trust with the individual, it is appropriate to discuss these situations with the individual when they happen. Without correction the person might intuit but won’t understand what is wrong. I think it is fair to say that they either acquired no boundaries while growing up, or their own boundaries were never developed and/or were transgressed as a matter of course. This might explain their problem with boundaries.
I like looking at human behavior through this lens. It makes allowances for correction while taking the fault off the individual for why they don’t understand these things. After correction, then the individual is more accountable, but not before, and I mean in a moral and social sense, not a legal sense. I do wonder if it is possible to develop these intuitions at an older age. If not, then it is possible that these kinds of social transgressions might continue but will hopefully diminish.
What do you think? Do you know anybody who grew up but was not raised, or at least experienced too much neglect? If they ever seem to behave inappropriately, can it be attributed to what I’m saying here?