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BOUNDARIES Book Series

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“As I read Boundaries, I kept fighting back the gnawing feeling that the whole trajectory of my life would have been different and better had I read this book twenty years ago.”
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Why Smart People Accept Unacceptable Behavior

Boundaries_Unacceptable

When I (Dr. Townsend) guide people through a process of examining a previous difficult relationship, the one question I have found most helpful is this: What was the “payoff” in your choice? In other words, what good things did you think you’d get when you began a relationship with that person? We wind up with difficult people for a reason—there was something we valued, wanted, or hoped for. And because the need was strong, we may not have paid attention to something unacceptable in that person’s character. We either minimized or denied some sign, some reality, some warning light that all was not well. And the character problem ended up being a bigger deal than we thought. When smart people accept unacceptable relationships, they tend to see traits and abilities in others that they think will make life better for them. We see positive aspects of a person’s psyche that we are drawn to or feel we need. A longing for them dulls an awareness of that person’s darker side. Here are a few examples. For some period of time in the relationship, the person had the following: Warmth: She was gentle and nurturing with me Affirmation: He saw the... Continue Reading »

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The Benefits of Repentance and Joy

Repentance

In 2 Corinthians 7:8 – 10, the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” When we encounter our own failings and sins, it is a painful experience. We see the disconnect between who God meant us to be and who we are in reality, and it is a large gap. Sad, remorseful feelings are part of godly sorrow and are the proper result of knowing our failure (as opposed to crippling guilt or anger at the truth about who we are). The Christians in Corinth were feeling godly sorrow as they listened to Paul’s letter and they realized how far they had fallen. However, there is a second emotional experience in this situation as well,... Continue Reading »

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The Best Boundary Words for Kids

Boundaries with Kids - Rescuing

I (Dr. Cloud) can still remember what happened that day when I was eight years old. I made a big mistake, but I didn’t know it at the moment. I thought I was getting back at my sister, who was sixteen at the time. Opportunities for revenge were few and far between, and I was not about to let this one slip by. Sharon and her friend were goofing around in the den when one of them threw a pillow and broke the overhead light. They quickly figured out a way to arrange the light in such a way that you could not tell it was broken. They thought that they were off the hook. Little did my sister know that she had a sociopathic little brother with a plan. When my father came home, I could not wait to tell him what they had done. I told him that they had broken the light, and he asked me to show him. I led him into the den, not knowing that Sharon and her friend were still in there. I was caught. Here he was, asking me about the broken light, and there they were, watching me seal my fate... Continue Reading »