Boundary management in relationship

In Malay there is this proverb or simpulan bahasa Jaga tepi kain. You manage the seam of your sarong. Do not bother about the sarong of others. My sarong may be bursting at the seams, or a few stitches may have opened up to show some flesh,  just let me restitch it or cover it up.

In relationship it means minding your own affairs or minding your own business. In a society where extended family is very much alive it could be very challenging. One has to learn to identify when empathy and caring stop and when minding your own business begins.

Among close siblings matters relating to your brothers or sisters marriage life and those relating to nephews and nieces are particularly sensitive issues. You are so used to being told by your parents to share, to care for each other but when we have our own family there are tendencies for brothers and sisters to continue applying those values although generally with noble intentions but not welcomed by the affected party.

Often families fail to realize that siblings need to adapt to new relationship rules  when each has his or her own family. You tend to take your brothers and sisters for granted. You are so used to shouting at each other that when you grow up you find it awkward to exercise diplomacy and tact in your communication. The rule of the game is be respectful and tactful when you feel you need to alert but otherwise it is  better  not to get involved unless assistance or counsels are solicited.

Once you are married you are sailing your own ship. Navy rules apply, NEVER cross the bow of another ship without permission. You may be tempted to pass comment or come to the defence of your sibling or even your parent, in a perceived disadvantaged position But remember these are autonomous ships that have their own captain and crew. If you do you have transgressed the boundary management rule 2.

I guess the Malay Tepi jaga kain is the best practical example of managing relationship. You must NOT offer to stitch someone’s else sarong unless asked. Manage your sarong or in the navy it is your ship that matter!!

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