Don't shove me around!
June 28, 2011, at 09:06 PM
Stealing front. I won't call it "losing time" because that's really an issue of a blackout that occurs due to a lack of co-consciousness and takes place alongside switching, where the term makes it sound like something went away. No, it didn't go away, it's just that for a variety of reasons your system is not set up to share front.
I coined the term "stealing front" to describe what happens when someone slips into Front without explicit agreement or permission to take over. This is different from someone taking over if someone abandons Front which I think is okay although who takes over and what they do is another story. I won't be addressing that directly right now -- if it's problematic then it might fall under the "stealing front" category anyway.
There are many ways that switching can work, and a few in which switching is a definite problem. Most of what I'm referring to as "stealing front" is a case where the person who is fronting is shoved aside and another person takes over. Hence the title of the article. I'm not addressing why it happens, and I address why time is often lost when someone steals front in "Where am I and what time is it" -- let's address why this is a problem.
Presumably when someone steals front, they don't have permission for the other to take over. This increases system anxiety, distrust, drives a wedge in between communication channels, makes people uncomfortable or even frightened, and puts people in adversarial positions regarding each other. In other words, the results of stealing front is the exact opposite of what we need to build more trust, co-awareness, co-consciousness and responsibility in our system. You could be working on building internal relationships for months and then someone steals front at the wrong time, does the wrong thing(s) and you take 3 steps back.
Sometimes there's not much to do about stealing front -- system communication isn't ready for asking for permission, or a guardian is triggered to do their job and defend you. I suggest you build in some slack for folks stealing front until everyone learns other ways of stepping into Front in a more courteous manner. You could make a house rule that puts emphasis on being courteous about coming front, and trust for a time that residents will attempt to do so, and guests will continue to inadvertently take over in their usual ways. Once you have a good percent of buy-in on the lease signing, then I would expect you could start ramping up the courtesy requirements. Courtesy and ease in switching fronts might also happen spontaneously with building internal communication, especially if you continue to call it "stealing front" which has a negative connotation that at minimum registers as "rude" and "unacceptable" and at best to "punishable." Generally speaking, our internals aren't interested in being rude to one another, it's just that there's anarchy inside and no one knows how to behave any better towards each other.
Is it possible to steal something when it's freely given to them? No! So there we go, if you want to immediately lose the idea of someone stealing front, give it to them! Let's just say we call this "sharing front." It's not a matter of who is front or not. I personally feel that the higher your communication level, internal trust, internal respect, co-consciousness & co-awareness, the less you'll risk someone "stealing front." When someone asks, we usually just give them Front. I highly recommend "sharing front" with your other residents so that it's no longer necessary to steal it. See "Is this a home or a prison?" for other thoughts on this.