Today, a discussion about “transparency” in collaborative practice led to defining the term along a continuum of privacy vs. secrecy. How does one person’s need for privacy during separation and disengagement mesh with the other person’s concerns about secrecy, not knowing, withholding, feeling left in the dark?

In everyday life, we don’t always consider the impact of our own personal definitions of these terms, and how easily misunderstanding develops when we don’t share similar perspectives and meanings with those closest to us, in work or in love. Silence may be experienced as withholding, reticence as stubborn obfuscating. Disengaging from relationship leaves people feeling at sea, unbalanced, suddenly uninformed about the most basic thoughts and feelings. The need for privacy creates distance, and distancing strengthens the desire for more closed boundaries.

Establishing a perimeter is part of the new boundary-making that comes with separations. These movements that establish new proxemics, new rules governing disclosure, are natural and necessary. The degree of painful misunderstanding is often unnecessary, and solved/salved by fuller inquiry and discussion.