Emotional and Physical Boundaries Create Barriers and Boundaries in One’s Life

Nov 7, 2021 | 0 comments

Nov 7, 2021 | Writing Guide | 0 comments

*Introduction*
You cannot go through failures and disappointments in life and be expected to be all smiles and merry on how you relate to other people! Many people ignore the pain they go through be it emotional or physical oblivious of the consequences. There are people who commit suicide due to ignorance of addressing this issue. Some of the consequences are not easily noted until when it is too late and the issue is out of hand hence nothing much to be done. The victim most of the times act violently or harshly towards their loved ones which creates boundaries on how they interact or communicate. The affected person normally feels guilty for not being able to fulfill certain duties in their families. Sometimes this feeling turns to blame and makes others responsible for what is happening in their lives.These feelings if not controlled may lead to risky actions that are unplanned for such as physical abuse and failure to perform family duties.
Emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, anger among others can be caused by different factors where by when these feelings last for a long time can start to disrupt your life. Bitterness is one of the emotional problems that is considered destructive and toxic. Bitterness is initially as a result of hurt caused by someone or something that brought so much grief and injustice in your life. This emotional prevention of living a happy life bringing hostility and doubt one’s connection to others.
Troy Maxson is a protagonist in the book called “Fences” by August Wilson. Troy faces so many emotional struggles including his relationship with his wife, his two sons and his job as a sanitation worker. This African American man blames racism for not accomplishing his dreams of playing baseball in the major leagues. He feels that he was denied a chance to accomplish his American dream where he would be able to provide for his wife and children and live a happy life like the white people. He shows his bitterness in so many ways that end up weakening the relationship he has with his family.
It is important to discuss this issue because many people do not know the effects that their struggles in life bring in their relationships with their loved ones. It is evident that physical and emotional struggles due to failure and disappointments in life create boundaries around one’s life in terms of how they relate to other people especially family members and close friends.
Racism is one of the physical struggles that can cause emotional pain which results to poor interaction with other people. Wilson’s play “Fences” portrays that Troy Maxson was a brilliant baseball player of the African American origin. Though he was a great player, Troy was not allowed into the “white” teams which were considered to be the major leagues; instead he played for the “Negro Leagues” (Bradford, 1). Troy lived with bitterness and anger throughout his life because of this loss of opportunity. He felt that he was denied a chance (just because he was black) to achieve his American dream. He was the best player in his team of black players but he felt unsatisfied because he was not being paid as he deserved. The perception that people had during 1950s is that for one to be successful he/she had to be part of the majority culture, meaning the white community. This emotional distress made Troy refuse to let his youngest son Cory play football fearing that he might suffer the same fate of racial discrimination (SET, 1). He was afraid that his son will lose his culture and assimilate to the white culture once he joins football league that was run by the white. In Act 1 Scene 1, Troy discourages his son about playing professional football because he will never be given a chance to.
*TROY*: “……The colored guy got to be twice as good before he get on to the. That’s why I don’t want you to get all tied up in them sports. Man on the team and what it get him? They got colored on the team and don’t use them. Same as not having them. All them teams the same.”
Troy was blinded by his bitterness towards racial discrimination that he failed to see that those were different times and his son could stand a chance to be successful in professional football. Troy tells his son Cory that “the white man ain’t gonna let you get nowhere with that football noway”. He was talking to his wife about the past events of what happened in his profession as a baseball player. He argues that it was not about his age but his color that made him not to get access to the major leagues. “…..i just wasn’t the right color…” This showed that he still held the anger and bitterness deep inside. His feelings made him erect a fence between his son and him.
According to Molina and James (1), racial discrimination n is mostly associated with emotional distress. Everyday discrimination results to major depressive disorder; research has revealed. The disorder caused by racism and discrimination have social implications. According to social scientists racial minorities are at a higher risk of depression due to racism (Molina and James). Racism can be classified in 3 levels: institutionalized, personally mediated and internalized. Institutionalized racism is characterized by the unequal opportunities in accessing goods and services. Personally mediated is the negative interpersonal interaction including insults. Internalized racism is the perceptions brought about by the white society concerning people with color and get to be accepted by the society at large. Most of the researches done on effects of racism on mental health are majorly on two forms of racism (personally mediated and internalized racism) which has revealed that they have adverse effects on mental health.
People who face discrimination believe and feel devalued and not respected or embraced in the society hence leading to a long term emotional distress. Studies also show that racism can bring about health damaging behaviors such as the use of drugs and involvement into criminal activities (Molina and James, 1). Since victims of racial discrimination often feel unworthy and valueless, they always turn to drugs such as alcohol or marijuana believing that it will make them feel better. Some people direct the emotions of bitterness anger and depression to their family through verbal and physical abuse. Racism is a “cancer” in the society that has many negative consequences that very few people are aware of. Racism is perceived to be a curse from generation to generation. The long term struggles caused by racial discrimination lead to broken marriages, criminal life, drug addiction and even suicide as a result of mental disorders such as depression.
People always blame the struggles and disappointments they go through in life to avoid being responsible for what they do which ends up affecting other people closer to them negatively. Troy confesses to his wife of eighteen years about his infidelity and added that the mistress is pregnant with his baby. “….I’m gonna be a daddy. I’m gonna be somebodies daddy….” It was so unexpected that such events could unfold later in the play because Troy portrayed love to his wife by telling his friend Bono that he indeed loves his wife Rose. When his wife asks him if he is going to live the woman he openly reveals that he is not planning to. The reasons that Troy give for his infidelity come back to the struggles that he is going through.
*TROY:*“It’s just … she gives me a different idea…a different understanding about myself. I can step out of this house and get away from the pressures and problems…be a different man. I aint got to wonder how I’m gonna pay the bills or get the roof fixed. I can just be a part of myself that I ain’t never been”
From his words this means in other words that if everything in life was ok financially or career wise this would not have happened. It also means that Troy is not himself without the mistress and goes ahead to admit that she makes him laugh and feels good about it. This statement further reveals that Troy has never been proud of who he is, the failures and struggles has made him a different man. Troy thought he will make things better by confessing his sinful actions to his wife but he did not realize that his wife was deeply hurt. She felt that by lying in bed with another woman, Troy was running away from his responsibilities.
*ROSE:*“…..don’t you think it ever crossed my mind to want to know other men? That I wanted to lay up somewhere and forget my responsibilities? That I wanted someone to make me laugh so I could feel good?”
Rokach and Lignieres (71) points out that intimate relationship are special and different as compared to other kinds of relationship. Partners in an intimate relationship share trust, commitment, caring, interdependence and have confidential and private knowledge about one another. Having a significant other whom you share intimacy with is known as fundamental human motivation. Having a long term intimate relationship contributes to a person’s general wellbeing. Loneliness is an emotional struggle that is characterized by the feeling of isolation; loss of connection with others. Loneliness results to distress and emotional pain which can in turn lead to poor mental health such as depression. Loneliness can be also being experienced in marriages when the couples feel emotionally disconnected. when a partner in a relationship becomes lonely due to the feeling of being unwanted or ignored by the significant other, he/she may start looking somewhere else (Rokach and Lignieres, 72). Many people in intimate relationship become unfaithful due to loneliness in their relationship. Most of them blame these emotional problems for cheating on their spouses, without considering the repercussions of their actions.
Blaming other people for your failures and disappointments in life creates a wall around one’s life in a way that it is difficult to understand other people feelings.Troy blames the white people for the lost opportunities in playing for the major leagues. He feels that if he was given a chance, his life would have been different (Bradford, 1). He carries on the disappointment when he refused to sign the papers and let his son play football. He fails to understand what his son feels or let him decide for himself what he wants to do. He uses harsh words and demand respect from his son as the man of the family (Keyes, 1).
*TROY*: “Liked you? Who the hellsaid I got to like you? What law is there say I got to like you? Wanna stand up in my face and ask a damn fool question like that. Talking about liking somebody. Come here boy when I talk to you”.
His son felt that it was more than just him being a football player. He felt that his father did not like him at all. This created feelings of resentment towards the two which lead to Cory running away from home. This broken relationship between father and son went to an extent that Cory never wanted to attend his father’s funeral. “….I’m not going to papa’s funeral”. Troy also blames his father for how his life his. He blames him for not taking care of his responsibilities which made him run away from home, turned to robbery and got locked up for 15 years (SET, 1). “…He ain’t cared nothing about no kids”. He did not realize that he was somehow treating his children the same way by denying them chances to pursue what they desired most in their lives.
In psychology today, Lamia (1) explains that a person experiencing disappointment will twist their thinking in every possible way in order not to recognize their feelings. It defines disappointment as unfulfilled hope and expectations. People direct there disappointments to others including parents, spouse, relative, friend or employer. Disappointment is mostly protested with anger and blame for the unsatisfying turn of events. Recent research study showed that valuing happiness and having certain expectations in life while comparing yourself to the Ideal leads to disappointments (Lamia, 1). Sometimes the anger and sadness is directed to the wrong people which may result to broken relationships. Blame makes someone not to accept any responsibility for their role in the turn of events. It can also cause hostile and scrappy relationships which end up broken. People may also experience the feeling of being stuck in life due to lack of self-awareness. Raol (4) reveals that victims of disappointments and misfortunes in life turn every challenge in their lives into a major drama and sad enough they victimize other people for their own negative outlook on life. These people always have excuses of why things work out according to their expectation.
Graham (1), an experienced psychotherapist opposes my thesis by arguing that through post traumatic growth, people become resilient and hard after facing numerous challenges in life. She puts it clear that disappointment does not mean that we should suffer and be hopeless for our entire life. Study conducted found out that dark times in life can yield benefits in a way that it helps people appreciate the good times hence living a satisfied life (Graham, 1). In a survey research study involving 15000 adults which was published in Psychology Science revealed that people who faced serious challenges in the are stronger and exhibit the capabilities of savoring currently as compared to the people who faced less challenges in the past. Suffering a loss and overcoming it lead to a happier life and create stronger and healthier relationship with others.
In refuting Graham’s argument on my thesis statement, there are researches that have been conducted proving my thesis right. An article written by professor Dube (1) of Georgia State University discloses that the adults who suffer mental and physical problems is majorly caused by the trauma they faced as they were growing up. Professor Dube was part of the study that brought to light the consequences of negative childhood development into adulthood. These effects can proof difficult to manage or control which can result to a mental illness or substance abuse (Dube, 1).
According to Smith (1), racism contributes very little to the emotional disorder of its victims and can therefore not be considered as a mental illness. This statement opposes my claim whereby I stated that racism is a life struggle that leads to serious mental disorder. Other researchers of the same view as Smith’s argue that emotional and mental disorder can only be associated with specific forms of prejudice. Racism does not interfere with daily functioning hence cannot be categorized as a mental illness according to the DSM (Diagnostic Manual).
To refute these opposing comments, I will use information from the interview by Wortham which points out that racism has severe psychological effects on the victims. He used an example of an employer from a recognized company in the United States who had to seek services of psychologist Williams from the University of Louisville . The psychologist who is also a professor says that her patient’s condition had deteriorated due to the racial discrimination she faced at her work place. From this example race trauma qualifies to be a factor that causes mental and emotional disorder (Wortham, 1).
*Conclusion*
By studying the struggles that people face which come as a result of unfulfilled expectation, we will have filled a void that very few people know its existence. Most people drag their past struggles in to their present relationships and connections with other people which most of the times have negative consequences. If the relationships and the effects of struggles to people’s wellbeing are not clearly studied and discussed, people will live the rest of their lives suffering and also victimizing other people for their past failures.

*Work cited*
Bradford, Wade. “What You Need To Know About The Play ‘Fences’ By August Wilson”. Thoughtco, 2017, www.thoughtco.com/august-wilsons-fences-overview-2713487. Accessed 26 July 2018 .
Dube, Shanta R. “How Childhood Trauma Can Affect Mental And Physical Health Into Adulthood”. The Conversation, 2017, theconversation.com/how-childhood-trauma-can-affect-mental-and-physical-health-into-adulthood-77149. Accessed 26 July 2018.
Graham, Linda. “How A Challenging Past Can Lead To A Happier Present”. Greater Good, 2015, greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_a_challenging_past_can_lead_to_a_happier_present. Accessed 26 July 2018.
Keyes, Alison. “NPR Choice Page”. Npr.Org, 2007, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90374807. Accessed 26 July 2018.
Lamia, Mary. “Expectation, Disappointment, And Sadness”. Psychology Today, 2011, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/intense-emotions-and-strong-feelings/201111/expectation-sadness-and-disappointment. Accessed 26 July 2018.
Molina, Kristine M, and Drexler James. “Discrimination, Internalised Racism And Depression : A Comparative Study Of African American And Afro- Caribbean Adults In The U.S”. Ncbi.Com, 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5386401/. Accessed 26 July 2018.
Raoul, Manfred F. “Are You A Victim Of The Victim Syndrome”. Sites.Insead.Edu, sites.insead.edu/facultyresearch/research/doc.cfm?did=50114. Accessed 26 July 2018.
Rokach, Ami, and Gwenaëlle Philibert-Lignières. “Intimacy, Loneliness & Infidelity”. The Open Psychology Journal, vol 8, no. 1, 2015, pp. 71-77. Bentham Science Publishers Ltd., doi:10.2174/1874350101508010071. Accessed 26 July 2018.
Shmoop Editorial Team. “Troy Maxson in Fences.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 26 Jul. 2018.
Shmoop Editorial Team. “Fences What’s Up With the Title?” Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 26 Jul. 2018.
Smith, Jeremy A. “Racism Is Not A Mental Illness”. Greater Good, 2015, greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/racism_is_not_a_mental_illness. Accessed 26 July 2018.
Wortham, Jenna. “Racism’S Psychological Toll”. Nytimes.Com, 2015, www.nytimes.com/2015/06/24/magazine/racisms-psychological-toll.html. Accessed 26 July 2018.