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4.6 out of 5 stars
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
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681 of 713 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As a Christian, I continually struggled with feeling depressed from being a doormat, and being nice because it was "part of the abundant Christian life." Everyone spoke about Christianity as being a joyful, full life that I would love and never want to return to the secular world. Then why did I feel so miserable? Why did the secular world seem so appealing, where I could be as nasty and selfish as I wanted to?
The answer was in "Boundaries". As I read the book, I could identify with something in every chapter. I'm the type of person who will let everyone else step all over me to keep themselves happy. As long as I didn't raise a ruckus, and the peace was kept, everything was okay, right? WRONG! Inside I was always seething with anger, and I was livid with the fact that I had to continually step out of the way for everyone else while they ran right over me.
Through reading this book, I realized that it's OK to set boundaries in all interactions; in fact, I now believe that it would be wrong NOT to set boundaries in things. Slowly but surely, with the help from this book's message, I've been setting boundaries for a happier life that's filled with more peace, joy, and abundance than ever.
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319 of 332 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Wow, why didn't I ever know about this book? You don't hear much about it- I stumbled upon it browsing around Amazon one day. For people wondering if they should buy this book, get it if:

-you're not turned off by a Christian writing approach
-you feel like there's a problem because you're trying to be a good person all the time by always saying "yes"

In a nutshell, this book is for people who don't know how to set boundaries for themselves. In other words, they're always saying "yes" to things and taking responsibility for things- even when it's not their job.

And boundary lines of your responsibilities need to be present in more areas of your life than you might realize, such as...

-your family
-your friends
-your mate
-your kids
-your self

The book covers boundary conflicts in each of these areas leaving no stone unturned. Therefore, its no big deal if you have only one or two problem areas- just go to those sections.

This book will help you realize what a boundary is, why it's okay to have them and just how to develop them. So if anything in this review sounds like if might apply to you- don't hesitate to check out the book. Other neat self-help books I liked include "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World".
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163 of 185 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I found Boundaries to be extremely helpful to me and my family. The authors point to Biblical references for boundary development & enforcement. The authors also illustrate real-life examples of people who have boundary issues and give practical advice on how to resolve conflicts in all relationships...parent-child, spouse-spouse, friend-friend, etc. I firmly believe that this book is vital for people who desire to have Godly, healthy relationships. When my children are mature enough to read & understand this book, I will definitely encourage them to read it. I believe that it will be helpful for my children as they prepare for adulthood and also as they begin searching for a mate. I highly recommend this book for everyone who is in the midst of relationship trials & tribulations.
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195 of 223 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2003
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Recently I'd reached a stage of being overwhelmed by life; I'd been recommended several books, and I read "Boundaries" as the first one, the others being "Ordering Your Private World" by Gordon MacDonald and "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. After reading Boundaries, I have come to terms with my own inability to set personal boundaries and I took ownership of my own choices which I have made.
On reading several negative comments about the book, I notice the persons complain of things that are actually not promoted in the book - there is a balance that is actually promoted, that boundaries are not an excuse to say "No", as irresponsibility is warned as another extreme of boundaries and goes against biblical principles. Some persons complained that people didn't seem to like them after they established boundaries, "Bonding first, boundaries second". Like any concept it could be taken to an extreme. I should warn that without a strong biblical background or the support of a group these concepts could easily be misapplied and used as weapons (boundaries are not weapons) instead of defenses to protect who we are.
The risk of misapplication of the concepts does not negate the fatc that this book is biblically sound, and promotes healthy relational concepts -- if applied correctly.
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77 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am so glad that I read this book. I have begun to see that I need to set boundaries in my life and that it is OK to do that. So many people today are "burnt out" and "at the end of their rope" because they take on too much responsibilty. This book will seriously help you to see where you need to change and will give you good instruction in how to change. You CAN set good, healthy boundaries in your life! This is a book that you really need to read!
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84 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2000
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I discovered the boundaries method when I took a class on Townsend and Cloud's "Healthy Changes." It has absolutely changed my life. Although I am pretty assertive and do express my boundaries to others, this book has helped me with another problem: not second guessing myself. Often I would make a decision and find the people around me getting upset over what I had chosen.
The boundaries book helped me understand that I own my own life and the opinions of others are not my responsibility. Nine times out of ten, the "opinions" I was getting from others turned out to be nothing more than manipulation in disguise, and an attempt to get me to cave in. I would not cave in, but I would feel very guilty about it for months to follow. No more.
I highly recommend this book to Christians and non-Christians, as the book emphasizes the exemplary relationship between God and humanity. It proves, once and for all, that true Christianity is not a religion. It's the ultimate relationship.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 1998
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have worked as a jail chaplain for almost twenty years and this book has been both an inspiration and a clarifier. Not only is it important for me to set clear boundaries in the work place with inmates, but because of the nature of the work on my personal life, I've needed to set countless boundaries in my relationship with people who don't understand my love and concern for the incarcerated. I have asked all of my volunteers to read the book also because we've used it as a teaching tool for inmates, most of whom have never learned how to set boundaries. We have found it most helpful in dealing with battered and abused women, as well as those needing anger management. Because the text is filled with biblical principles, I believe it is in line with what God chooses for us, but allows us to make the choice for ourselves. Personally, I also have children and grandchildren and I'm using the guidelines to create a place of harmony in my home. Thank you, Drs. Cloud and Townsend for giving us a user friendly guide to boundaries and the happiness they give.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon March 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Do you often feel others take advantage of you? Say yes when you really want to say no? Explode with rage when people ask you questions? Feel like you don't have respect? These behaviors are often signs of improper boundaries.

A boundary is like a line marking the stuff for which we are responsible, defining who we are and, just as importantly, who we are *not*. The book covers healthy boundaries as they relate to family (including kids), friends, work, self, and God. Even if a person does have boundaries, they are not always necessarily healthy. To protect ourselves, we may create rigid boundaries (like a wall). The authors explain that a healthy boundary is more porous than that.

The book is religiously centered, but I'd still recommend it for non-Christians (or non-practicing) with the caveat to take what you like and leave the rest. I found the principles to be pertinent whether or not a person is Christian.

I would recommend considering purchasing and working through the Boundaries workbook in conjunction with the book. For me, it was helpful in determining where I needed to change or establish boundaries. Applying (in the workbook) what I read in the book to situations in my own life really helped me retain the information and change the dynamics of my relationships.
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
My husband and I read this book mainly to help us deal with his family. My husband has always tried to be "the good son" who pleases his family regardless of sacrifices he (or I) must make. This book has shown us that it is OK to set limits even on those whom we love. And that "honor your father and mother" (or other family members) does NOT mean absolute obedience and submission. This book is a MUST if you have any controlling people in your life who frustrate you but you are unsure how to lovingly address the issue.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is truly excellent. In my own childhood I grew up with a domineering, imposing and dare I say it "bullying" father and a meek, mild, "anything for a quiet life", sweet as honey mother. I resented my Dad for riding roughshod all over my Mum as a kid but have learned as an adult how they both are responsible. With time I began to resent Mum for being such a wimp as well as my Dad for being a control freak. Now I just love them to pieces, because they are my dear parents.

Anyway, I grew up to be a controlling, abusive tyrant, just like my Dad was if not worse. This persisted until 2008 when the beautiful, adoring woman I married got tired of my treatment of her and left me. I would never have woken up, let alone **grown** up if she hadn't done this. With a lot of time and work from my side we got back together again and the type of "man" I used to be really disgusts me. With time and effort I have been able to put together healthy boundaries of behaviour I will and will not accept from others, and from myself.

The point is my wife took a stand, just as this book says to. And it worked. On me that is.

If you are an abused spouse take a radical stand. The more radical the better. Do exactly what this book tells you to do.

I have given the book four stars because I am an atheist (sorry to any religious folks, I just cannot believe any of it, even if I wanted to) and my "God filter" had to be on at all times. Still, it doesn't matter what source the help comes from and I wish I had come across this book five years ago. My two little kids will learn healthy boundaries as well so they don't grow up to be the basket case I was.
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