Under The Umbra Ep 08 – Boundaries Part 2 of 2

In this episode, we’re discussing Boundaries! This is part 2 of 2. The next episodes will be about Power. The…...

In this episode, we’re discussing Boundaries!

This is part 2 of 2. The next episodes will be about Power.

The Co-Host is Jenna Bowers and here’s where you can find her work (and another cameo of her familiar Willoughby): TheWayWitchInstagramTikTokFacebook

  • 0:00:00    Intro Credits
  • 0:01:06    Introduction Chat with Content Warnings: swearing; all sorts of descriptions for boundary crossings and violations. Just, so many.
  • 0:04:29    Grounding Prayer
  • 0:05:24    Jenna Intro
  • 0:06:10    The biggest barrier to "setting boundaries" in our American Culture is the false idea of individualism - Boundaries require collaboration or at least acknowledgment, and discovering you didn't have as strong boundaries as you thought is painful no matter the other intersectional privilege
  • 0:09:38    Exercise: step 1 - where is ME, where are my current boundaries, where do I want them to be, where do other people have them?
  • 0:11:34    Interjection: in cases of long-term coercive control, especially with children, there might not be a bastion in their mind; Victor Frankl went into the holocaust already a trained psychologist
  • 0:13:11    Interjection: Anne of Green Gables used imagination to survive trauma, but she is depicted as having a secure family for her first 3 years of life
  • 0:14:20    Exercise: Step 2 - how rigid or flexible do I need my boundary in this realm with this person to be?
  • 0:15:33    Exercise: Step 3 - In what realm(s) are the boundaries you are setting? and, over what span? and again, research/investigate how others are managing boundaries even in overwhelming situations.
  • 0:17:30    Exercise: Step 4 - Boundary versus Ultimatum or "empty threat"
  • 0:22:51    The way you set boundaries is (1) where can I set them now (2) how rigid or flexible right now (3) What realm do I need to set them in (4)  What can I do if they are crossed or violated? and (5)1234 evaluate-circle back around
  • 0:23:42    Reflections? important clarifier for steps 1-3: what is it I need here? and self-contained ways to enact No. 4 of What Can I Do If...
  • 0:27:32    Interlude into Dissociation and Freeze as valid and necessary responses as Step 4 if that's what power you have. All human responses have times when they are the appropriate response, and maybe a lot of times they aren't.
  • 0:30:10    Considering that what you have access to is what you have access to, how do you start experimenting with establishing and expanding on responses for Step 4 and revisiting steps 1-4?
  • 0:31:09    Interjection: sometimes boundaries are further crossed and violated and so the next step is distance or estrangement if that is possible; that usually comes only after many iterations of the experiment are done. Full estrangement or "canceling" almost always occurs because something in the interactions or the environment has already shown copious evidence of an inability to trust that boundaries will be respected.
  • 0:37:27    Summary of self-based resources for Step 4...  Is it only removal of self? You may have community and society to rely on, and have more power and influence than you think. If you don't have power up and down the current hierarchy, that's why Trickster Gods gave us models for lateral moves. Again, it needs experimentation.
  • 0:43:57    Inaccurately told story of musician Afroman whose house was invaded by police so he made a music video, accurate details in show notes below
  • 0:46:51    Cameo / Guest Appearance by Jenna's familiar Willoughby reminding us that sometimes Fight/Verbal aggression and willingness to escalate is also acceptable
  • 0:47:52    Summary of Step 4: You figure out what works, under your solo power, under your community power, or lateral-move power, and you keep experimenting.
  • 0:48:30    Bonus Interjection with Current Event thoughts about Unions and boundaries but a timer on my phone cut it off mid-rant and I just can't record any more audio before publishing. Ah well.
  • 0:55:57    Outro and Credits

Here’s my proposed method of finding your own boundaries:

  1. Develop a sense of yourself and you-ness; how far does your influence reach? Is it centered on yourself or do you need to work towards that goal? Wherever you can find your safest, most secure edge, that’s where you start setting boundaries.
  2. How flexible or rigid do you need this boundary to be?
  3. What realm do the boundaries need to exist on? Physical (walls), emotional (no longer co-regulating another person), time or priority (I will not fetch you coffee if I have a project deadline)
  4. Figure out how you will tell if the boundary is crossed, and what you will do to enforce the boundary or find a way to get to a safe space. Boundaries and Consequences are not the same as Ultimatums and Threats.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 in many situations with many people and systems.

References mentioned in the show:

Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” • Libro.fm    • Bookshop.org 

Anne of Green Gables has so many printings and audiobook narrators that I don’t even know what to recommend. Find one you like! 

Boundaries Meme where I learned about this even though there’s been a lot more description of this before this point, by @thelessstressedlawyer on Instagram, Olivia Vizachero

Gray Rock’ing - source?

Oops I was conflating becoming a Gray Rock vaguely with dissociation and Freeze response, but those have graduation so I should clarify this.

The source seems to be this article by “Love Fraud” community member “Skylar”; CW for dehumanizing, essentializing, and othering language and labels about people causing harm, so this article isn’t in alignment with my values but I think knowing and crediting the sources of the useful tools we use is still worthwhile.

Skylar writes: “[....I]t’s commonly advised that no response is the best response to unwanted attention. This is often true and No Contact (the avoidance of all communication) should be used whenever possible. “There are some situations however, when No Contact is not feasible, as in when you share child custody [redacted for values]. As another example, if you are being stalked by an ex, a restraining order can infuriate the unwanted suitor, and refusing to respond to him or her is seen as an insult. They might become convinced that they can MAKE you respond and in that way satiate their need for power over you. “Even if we don’t take them back, the most dangerous time for a person is when they first break up[....] Gray Rock is primarily a way of encouraging [an] emotionally unbalanced person, to lose interest in you. [....] Instead, you allow contact but only give boring, monotonous responses so that the [person] must go elsewhere [....] When contact with you is consistently unsatisfying [...their] mind is re-trained to expect boredom rather than drama. “I chose the words Gray Rock because I needed an object for us to channel when we are in an emotionally charged situation. You don’t just practice Gray Rock, you BECOME a Gray Rock. There are gray rocks and pebbles everywhere you go, but you never notice them. None of them attract your attention. You don’t remember any specific rock you saw today because they blend with the scenery.”

NPR article “Afroman put home footage of a police raid in music videos. Now the cops are suing him” March 24, 2023

Nedra Glower Tawwab’s part of the TED “The Way We Work” series about setting boundaries at work.

5-4 Pod Episode 129 “American Ship Building Company v. National Labor Relations Board”; will update show notes with link when it’s posted.

Strict Scrutiny podcast episode “‘Not that bad’ is still bad” about Glacier Northwest v. Teamsters


This is Under the Umbra: Using Empathy and Collaboration to Navigate a World of Shadows. In each episode, Electra and the co-hosts explore ways to think about and plan for difficult relationships with people and systems in a way that stays grounded in values and centers community.  I invite you to try out focusing on Empathy and Collaboration as a realistic and compassionate model for interpersonal interactions. If you find yourself Under the Umbra, let’s find our way back to the light.

Find the show's home at Under The Umbra dot Info which is HERE! You're here!

Support the show via Patreon.com. Thanks to KC and Ellery for supporting the show!

This podcast was created, recorded, edited and produced by me, Electra, and brought to you by Bridge to Becoming LLC. Music is by SoulProdMusic on Pixabay and used with permission. Show art is by Lo Carter, 2023. Subtitle selected by Vera Alcorn!

Recent Episodes

Mar 24, 24

Under The Umbra Ep 15 – Umbra Barbie Part 2

Mar 10, 24

Under The Umbra Ep 14 – Umbra Barbie Part 1

Sep 29, 23

Under The Umbra Ep 13 – Heart-Centered Business