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Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life Paperback – April 1, 1992
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In order to call themselves good Christians, many people have drawn overly flexible boundaries (unwilling to say no, always accommodating others' needs) or overly rigid boundaries (to the point of being righteous and judgmental). Psychologists and inspirational speakers Cloud and Townsend show readers how to set reasonable boundaries in order to follow the true path of Christianity. This book has become immensely popular, most likely because it makes personal boundaries easier to define and is filled with spiritual purpose. Some cautions: the format can be overly self-helpish for such a complex discussion and the authors at one point imply that judicious spankings may be an acceptable form of setting boundaries with children. However, many Christians will probably find themselves grateful for this biblical context of boundaries. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend have great insights and practical wisdom into the God-given gift of boundaries. As they discuss how to take responsibility for and ownership of our lives, they give hope that we cannot just survive -- but thrive! --Josh McDowell, Author, Author and Speaker
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Top Customer Reviews
The other issue is one of an abusive marriage. He talks about putting up boundaries and leaving for the night if these boundaries are violated. This is always done for a short period of time and then the abused spouse returns home. There are situations where this is effective. But in a true abusive situation (physical or mental) it is playing with fire to leave and return over and over. The physical abuser can be deadly. A mental abuser will learn how to better manipulate her victim without his realizing that his boundaries have been violated and thereby twisting reality even further. Any abusive person is not to be trifled with, and without genuine repentance and clear signs of change one is foolish to continue to expose themselves to that risk regardless of history, children, or feelings. For all of his insight, I am shocked that this is not made more clear.
I learned a few really important things in the process of reading this book [and talking to an amazing life coach.]
1. I have to do something about my boundaries. No one else is going to do it for me. Unless I communicate out loud what I keep telling myself internally, no one else is going to know what I'm willing to take on and what I'm not. I have to take responsibility for my own self because no one else is going to. That's not a bitter assessment, it's actually quite freeing. "No" gets to be a beautiful word that helps to set values in their proper places. It relieves us of the pressure to take things on because we might feel guilty. There are often responsibilities we've taken on in our pursuit of passions, God, and enjoyment that make our lives feel full and meaningful. Learning what to say "YES" to will enable us more easilty to say "no" when we need to.
2. In a chapter on boundaries and spouses, I thought I'd just fly through the chapter because it doesn't apply to me, but I found myself knee deep in the concepts. I actually found them quite applicable. I have LOTS of intimate relationships, they just don't happen to be with a spouse. They are with my family and closest friends. I could relate in a big way to a story of a wife bringing her husband to counseling because he was spending increasing amounts of time away from home and she was becoming increasingly lonely within their marriage. She wanted the doctors to "fix" him and get him to want to be home more. Instead, they asked her to take responsibility for herself and her needs. She would sit at home anxiously waiting for him to get home, calling several times a day, and then with mountain high expectations of him when he finally arrived. It was too much for him. He was shutting down and spending more and more time away from her, because she needed him too much. They encouraged her to diversify her interests and friendships. I could relate because the concept applies in every relationship. When our expectations for a person exceeds their ability to fulfill it, we risk them pulling away. No one can fulfill the depths of our needs. We need to know what we're asking of others, and not expect others to be more than they can possibly be for us.
3. Anger is a sign of boundaries being overstepped. Not ALL anger is going to be caused by someone overstepping my boundaries, but it DID cause me to take a hard look at why I feel anger or resentment at times toward others who ask things of me. A lot of times it is because I have a boundary that they are asking me to extend to them, because I haven't told them it was there in the first place. I can't be angry with someone else because I don't honor my own boundaries or because I don't communicate to them the truth of what I'm feeling.
What about you? What trouble have you had by not having good boundaries? What keeps you from setting them up in the first place?
I could never understand why I constantly felt guilted into doing things I didn't want to do but I did them anyways to try and please others. Now it's obvious I just didn't know how to have proper boundaries which I've learned is setting personal standards with love and grace.
Once I started reading the ideas and suggestions in this book, coupled with the real life examples given, they were immediately implemented in my life. Right away I started feeling more confident for setting those standards and being able to say 'NO' or walk away from something/someone without having those guilty or shameful feelings.
What is even more incredible is now when talking with other people and they tell me their problems/struggles, I'm able to pick up right away that they too have a boundary problem. I've recommended this book to over half a dozen people since finishing it
This is most definitely going to get read again in the near future. What an awesome book, highly recommended!