Tag Archives: boundaries by cloud and townsend

Book Review – Boundaries

22 Sep

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.

“When to Say Yes

When to Say No

To Take Control of Your Life”

 

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Photo by Nick Tiemeyer on Unsplash

My OH had been suggesting, off and on, that I read this book since we first met. And finally, after some things happened, I decided that I really could benefit from it. It took me a few months to get through – as most books like this do since I tend to read them during breakfast. I feel like I gained so much from this book, as the authors take you step-by-step through why people act the way they do. As well as how to set up boundaries in the different areas of your life – such as family, friends, work and God.  I learned so much in the sections about how we form boundaries in our childhood through what was said and what was not said from those around us.

Here are a few sections that stood out to me :

“Boundaries help us to distinguish our property so that we can take care of it… We need to keep things that will nurture us inside our fences and keep things that will harm us outside. In short, boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out. They guard our treasures so that people will not steal them… Sometimes, we have bad on the inside and good on the outside. In these instances, we need to be able to open up our boundaries to let the good in and the bad out. In other words, our fences need gates in them.” Page 31

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Do not try to get to freedom without owning your reactive period and feelings. You do not need to act this out, but you do need to express the feelings. You need to practice and gain assertiveness. You need to get far enough away from abusive people to be able to fence your property against further invasion. And then you need to own the treasures you find in your soul. But do not stay there. Spiritual adulthood has higher goals than “finding yourself” “. Page 96

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“... Because of unexpressed boundaries, the relationships suffered. An important thing to remember about boundaries is that they exist, and they will affect us, whether or not we communicate them... If our boundaries are not communicated and exposed directly, they will be communicated indirectly or through manipulation. The Bible speaks to this issue in many places. Listen to the words of Paul: “therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. ‘In your anger do not sin’ : do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. (Eph.4:25-26) The biblical mandate is be honest and be in the light.” Page 101

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“Anger tells us that our boundaries have been violated. Much like a nation’s radar defense system, angry feelings serve as an “early warning system”, telling us we are in danger of being injured or controlled.” Page 112

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“The more biblical our boundaries are, the less anger we experience! Individuals with mature boundaries are the least angry people in the world. While those who are just beginning boundary work see their anger increase, this passes as boundaries grow and develop… The old saying ‘don’t get mad. Just get even’ isn’t accurate. It’s far better to say, ‘don’t get mad. Set a limit!” Page 115

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“You can imagine how well not taking ownership over our lives will come across the Lord then: ‘but I had a dysfunctional family.’ ‘But I was lonely.’ ‘But I didn’t have much energy.’ The rationalizing “buts” will have as much impact as excuses of the service in the parable of the talents did. This isn’t to say that we are deeply influenced for better or worse by our backgrounds and our various stressors. We certainly are. But we are ultimately responsible for what we do with our injured, immature souls.” Page 178

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I especially liked the analogy of ‘fences make good neighbors’ – just make sure to ‘have a gate’. Our fences aren’t walls to keep everyone and everything out.

Like I said, these are just a few of the sections that stood out to me as I read this book. I feel like from the day I started reading it, I was recommending it. To my doctor, friends, family etc. This will most likely be a yearly read for me.

I have also read another of their books, Boundaries in Marriage, and it was equally good. I have plans to get it from the library and read it again, since it’s been four years since I read it. (I did a mini-review of it here)

I definitely recommend this book for anyone and everyone! Whether you realize that you need to set better boundaries – with yourself or those around you – or not, I know you’ll learn a lot from it.

~Laura

 

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