Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life Paperback – April 1, 1992
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Cloud and Townsend do a great job of using boundaries to illustrate why we grew up certain ways. For example, you probably know someone who has a money problem. He spends recklessly and doesn't really think about the consequences of his actions. This can be traced back to his parents never establishing their own boundaries. They would always bail the son out whenever he ran out of money and tell him to be better next time. They never let him "feel" the consequences. And so he never learned.
There's so many other brilliant examples of the importance of boundaries and how they affect the people around us.
I learned a lot about myself through the sections that detail boundaries with friends, family, and work. The one that impacted me the most was the section on Boundaries with Myself. I grew up with parents who while loving, also created situations for me where I was not able to feel the consequences, and so I behave in certain ways that I'm trying to fix.
When I was first referred to this book, I wasn't told this book had a heavy religious undertone (the conflict of setting boundaries and being a good person in the eye of God). I'm not religious, so the biblical references didn't really matter to me much, but that doesn't mean I can't learn from them. The concepts themselves made sense to me and I would recommend this book to anyone who believes they have boundary problems.
One of the most audacious, and powerful observations in this book is that for compliant people like myself, feeling guilt and experiencing pushback is a GOOD thing, as it means I'm starting to set limits and take care of my own needs (and not that I'm a rotten, selfish person as other's and my own judgmental conscious might try to convince me).
The other important concept in this book is the concept that "hurting" someone is different from "harming" them, and that by being compliant and codependent I am harming others as much as myself, all for the sake of avoiding causing short-term "hurt."
These concepts may seem obvious, or objectionable on their face, but for someone who constantly feels powerless, this book is a lifesaver.
Top international reviews
If you want to know about boundaries from the perspective of a psychotherapist read the book by Anne Katherine which is very good. I would have given this book more stars if I'd have bought it knowing it was from a religious perspective.
This is so challenging and is reshaping 36 years of indoctrination. I have been taught that to be a good Christian, a good friend, a good daughter and a good person, I must constantly deny myself, repent of my emotions, put others first, always focus on the needs of others, NEVER talk about how I feel or challenge anyone on how they are behaving because that would be selfishness, arrogance and create conflict which is the opposite to the biblical command to live in peace with everyone.
I have burnt out trying to live like this and I desperately needed a different world view but at the same time I am terrified of being selfish, immature or not reflecting God’s love and generosity because I want to please God more than anything.
Thank you God for this book! I think I will need to read it a second and third time to really absorb it all but I can see glimmers of a peace and freedom I’ve never had before. A life where I can enjoy being loved by God without feeling I have perpetual let him down by not showing enough grace or generosity. A life where I can draw my own boundaries in relationships without feeling I have denied my responsibility to be the hands and feet of Jesus. A life where I can let others make their own decisions without fearing that I will have to rush in and clear up the pieces.
I am so grateful to God for this book!
I would highly recommend this for everyone .