How to Forgive When It’s Hard to Forget

Boundaries

“I know I’m supposed to forgive,” a woman said to me (Dr. Cloud) at a recent seminar. “But, I just can’t open myself up to that kind of hurt anymore. I know I should forgive him and trust him, but if I let him back in, the same thing will happen, and I can’t go through that again.”

“Who said anything about ‘trusting’ him?” I asked. “I don’t think you should trust him either.” …

Is Complying Out of Fear the Same as Lying?

Boundaries

Many Christians fear that setting and keeping limits signals rebellion or disobedience. In religious circles you’ll often hear statements such as, “Your unwillingness to go along with our program shows an unresponsive heart.” Because of this myth, countless individuals remain trapped in endless activities of no genuine spiritual and emotional value.

The truth is life-changing: a lack of boundaries is often a sign of disobedience….

When Someone Responds to Your Boundaries with Anger

Boundaries

When you establish a new boundary with someone else, the most common form of resistance one gets is anger. People who get angry at others for setting boundaries have a character problem. Self-centered, they think the world exists for them and their comfort. They see others as extensions of themselves.

When they hear the word “no,” they have the same reaction a two-year-old has when deprived of something …

Am I Being Selfish When I Set Boundaries?

Boundaries

“Now, wait a minute,” Teresa said, shaking her head. “How can I set limits on those who need me? Isn’t that living for me and not for God?”

Teresa was voicing one of the main objections to boundary setting for Christians: a deep-seated fear of being self-centered, interested only in one’s own concerns and not those of others.

It is absolutely true that we are to be a loving people. Concerned for the welfare of others. In fact, the number-one hallmark of Christians is that we love others. So don’t boundaries turn us from other-centeredness to self-centeredness? The answer is …

How to Handle Guilt Messages from Your Mom

Boundaries

Tabitha telephoned her mother, who answered the phone weakly with hardly any voice at all. Concerned, thinking she was sick, Tabitha asked, “Mother, what’s wrong?”

“I guess my voice doesn’t work very well anymore,” she replied. “No one calls me since you children left home.”

No weapon in the arsenal of a controlling person is as strong as the guilt message….

I Am in Control of My Choices

Boundaries

Any time is a great time to take stock of boundaries in our lives and renew the desire to take responsibility for our choices. This leads to the fruit of “self-control.” A common boundary problem is disowning our choices and trying to lay the responsibility for them on someone else.

Think for a moment how often we use the phrases, “I had to” or “She (he) made me” when explaining why we did or did not do something. These phrases betray our basic illusion that we are not active agents in many of our dealings….

A Guaranteed Way to Create Trouble in a Relationship

Boundaries

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….

Setting Boundaries with the Sins of Your Family

Boundaries

Susie had a problem that I (Dr. Townsend) had seen countless times before. This thirty-year-old woman would return from a visit to her parents’ home and suffer a deep depression. When she described her problem to me, I asked her if she noticed that every time she went home to visit, she came back extremely depressed.

“Why that’s ridiculous,” she said. “I don’t live there anymore. How could the trip affect me this way?” …

The Power of Painful Consequences

Boundaries

Trespassing on other people’s property carries consequences. A “No Trespassing” sign usually carries a threat of prosecution if someone steps over the boundaries. The Bible teaches this principle over and over, saying that if we walk one way, this will happen, and if we walk another way, something else will happen.

Just as the Bible sets consequences for certain behaviors, we need to back up our boundaries with consequences….