Customer Reviews: Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting and Enjoying the Self
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on June 3, 1998
This to me is one of the best books ever written on boundaries and relationships. Talks of the structure of a person's boundaries, ways to know where your boundaries are, the necessity of having boundaries within your relationships. Written with sensitivity and love. Anything further that I could say about this book would fall short of its quality. I consider this a must read for anyone from any kind of dysfunctional background, especially those struggling with boundary issues.
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on January 30, 2001
I had expected from this book on setting Bondaries in relationships, at least an example of exactly how one does that. Not once does the author give step by step examples or instructions on how to set a boundary. I believe in the entire 234 pages (before I got to the appendix on using psychic abilities??? No idea why that's in there!) he only used 3 ambiguous case stories which rarely proved a point or educated.
The most annoying intrusion into my book-buyer's boundary of not being advertised & spammed to in a book I've paid for, was on almost everyone of those 234 pages, he plugs ALL of his other books. Instead of explaining his point he would say "refer to chapter whatever of his other book(s) #1-#5). In one chapter he actually used a big topic heading only to write below, for this topic see such & such of my other books! So he expects me to buy ALL of his books in order to read THIS book.
He also repeats himself over & over, which seems like he is trying to fill blank space just to meet a quota since none of the repititions were needed to prove a point & instead felt intrusive & unnecessary to the point of irritation. As one other reviewer said already, he also hasn't decided who his audience is & tries to write to both at once, failing to reach anyone by alienating the reader.
I gave this book a 3 because the ideas the author expressed were useful & mostly on target and applicable. His theories deserve attention & expansion, and this book will at least be helpful in illuminating the need for healthy boundaries.
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on February 3, 2001
The issue of boundaries, whether in a therapeutic setting or interpersonal, this book will be helpful in going from dysfunctional states to holding and containing your core SELF boundaries thereby experiencing life in a manner that is enjoyable...JOY! Written with examples from Family situations - also relationship situations (boyfriend/girlfriend,etc.)- this book is practical in its approach but teaches from a technical point of view that is based on sound academics. It even has a section written by a massage therapist which is very nice in that is describes how ultra-sensitive people can really experience loose boundaries in the psychic/mental realm and how this can affect you. I'm rereading this book for the 5th time. It always seems that I get new depths of understanding each time I find a passage to read for the day at hand. It's for true recovery work. I share this book with lots of folks and they all benefit from it. This book had helped me heal!Really! Move forward and evolve my inner self. And isn't that the goal of any therapy.
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on December 28, 2009
A very transforming wealth of information. This book gave me so much insight into the behavior of others and what makes them compatible or not. Understanding the way healthy and good relationships work gives you so much insight into those that are not. We have experienced so much "triangling" in relationships over the past nine years that we now have the ability to put these unhealthy and caustic relationships to rest and not be concerned about why they did not work any longer. The "triangling" concept shared in the book was new information, extremely enlightening as to why some relationships will never work. "Too many" people involved. The "triangling" often involves lies, accusations and malicious gossip, enlisting others to join in on their vendetta to hurt and inflict pain because of the imaginary thoughts the unsafe people share with so many. "TRIANGLING" is unhealthy for all involved. It involves talking about someone who is not there, it's also gossip or an act of creating prejudice against the missing person. Some people never change and will always remain uncompatible to you because they are not safe or supportive and never will be. The book goes into detail about why this occurs and is excellent and easy to comprehend and understand. I am sharing a few of my favoite life changing revelations for the book...

Page 102, 103
Relationships....SAFE....We should be able to trust them to be real with us and to have most fo the characteristics of safe people, safe people tend to listen to you and hear you. They accept the real you abd validate your experiences and other material that you may tell them about your nnner life. They are clear and honest with you and nonjudgemental of you. Their boundaries are also appropriate and clear. They tend to be direct with you and not triangle others into conflicts that may develop between the two of you. Finally, they are supportive and loyal, and the relationship with them feels authentic.

By contrast, unsafe people may not listen to you or hear what you are actually saying, although they may pretend to do so. They may or may not make eye contact with you. They often reject and invalidate the real you and our inner life experience. They may be judgmental or false with you. They are often unclear in their communications. Their boundaries may be blurred, and they may often send you mixed messages. They may be indirect with you, often triangling in another or others when they are in conflict with you. Rather than being supportive they may be competitive and may even betray you. Overall, the relationship just feels contrived.

Listen to you....don't listen
Hear you....Don't hear
Make eye contact....No eye contact
Accept the real you....Reject the real you
Validate the real you....Invalidate the real you
Are real with you....False with you
Boundaries appropriate and clear
Direct....Boundaries unclear, messages mixed
No triangles....Indirect
Relationship authentic....Relationship feels contrived
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on February 17, 1999
The material presented by Whitfield is really good. I'm sure it will help many people. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be able to decide whether he's writing to an academic audience or to people seeking self-help.
If this book was re-written as a self help guidebook or an academic textbook, it would be much better. Right now, it seems like it doesn't serve either audience particularly well.
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on August 6, 1998
This book contains both profound and useful insights into relationships and protective boundaries within relationships to prevent hurt. It is particularly useful for understanding the dynamics in an abusive relationship. With understanding of the problem, one is more naturally equipped to solve that problem. In this sense, this book is very good and helpful. It is recommended by myself to every one to read. It receives a 4 out of 5 from me only because there is so much detail, though helpful, and not enough application to make the book as useful as it can be. Again, however, profound and useful insights make this book a highly recommended read for all.
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on October 19, 2011
Some exercises are like ripping the scab off a festering wound, I'm not gonna lie. But I read this book five years ago and it changed my life. well, it's more like "working" the book, and you have to change your own life. The tone is gentle, spiritual, informative, and healing, even if some of the exercises are uncomfortable, and may bring out all kinds of emotions if you are willing to dare. to dare be yourself? to know, enjoy, and protect your inner self? I wanted to know why I was messed up, how to stop ruining relationships, and how to deal with the past. This book, counseling, journaling, and lots of meditation and prayer brought out inner pain I had been holding for years and offered the way forward to a healthier life. I read the book again recently and it wasn't so intense, because I am healthier now, because that book helped me let go of that old stuff and be kinder to myself. Thanks, Dr. Whitfield!
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on January 11, 2003
I thought that this book has some very very important insights about relationships. I learned quite a bit about myself and my relationships just from reading this book. I would recommend it to anyone who is seriously interested in improving their relationships. If you want to know even more about your relationships and how to improve them, I'd recommend another book called The Ever-transcending Spirit by Toru Sato. It is theoretically outstanding and has many practical applications.
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on August 19, 2011
My therapist recommended I read this book for clarity on boundaries after ending a codependent 10 year relationship. This book really brought so many issues to the fore for me. The author uses a series of diagrams and lists to delineate what can otherwise seem a murky label. I mean, on reading other books on the subject, I've asked myself who isn't a codependent in modern American society? He even gets at the subconscious manipulation enacted on someone who's in a codependent relationship which is so hard to grasp, normally. While the book is lengthy, I'm still finishing the last chapter and I read self- help books before I go to bed, it's crammed with information the reader can reference again and again. This book has helped, along with my therapist, in boundary making in many of my relationships. If you have any of these issues, I highly recommend your reading this book.
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on December 28, 2012
This book is for the person whose mom and dad only told them about the birds and bees.... and nothing about how to be social without getting the crap beat out of you emotionally. If you cant explain boundaries, when to use them, what types there are, and how to have good relationships, then you may want to read this. I thought it was great.
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