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November 22, 2012
by Gloria Day

An Uncomfortable and Necessary Journey: “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend- Book Review Chapter 3

November 22, 2012 18:00 by Gloria Day

So I am still struggling with this material. I am finding it very heady and not so much about practical application at this time.

Chapter three I think in the title sums up pretty much where I am at “Boundary Problems”

And here is what they had to say.

  •           We assume the person who has trouble setting boundaries is the one with the problem but often it is the one who does not keep others boundaries who has issues
  •          There are Functional Boundaries referring to completion of tasks ie with time management , performance, and discipline
  •           There are Relational Boundaries which involves speaking the truth to others we are in relationship with.
  •          4 types of Boundary Problems:


1)      The Compliant: They cannot say “NO”, they feel guilty and or controlled by others and can’t set boundaries. These people melt into the demands of others. They may have had parents who taught boundaries were bad. Their spiritual and emotional radar is broken and they cannot guard their hearts. Fear stops the compliant from saying no. They will say yes to the bad because saying no will cause more guilt.


2)      The Nonresponsive: Can’t say “YES”, they will set boundaries against responsibility to love. They may have a critical spirit or be very self-absorbed in their own issues.


3)      The Controller: Can’t hear “NO”, they aggressively or manipulatively violate boundaries of others. No means maybe and maybe means yes. They resist taking responsibility for their own lives so they try to control others. They are actually emotionally isolated as people stay with them out of fear.


4)      The Avoidant: Cannot hear “YES”. Sets boundaries against receiving care of others. They withdraw and do not ask for help. Their walls do not have gates they will not let anyone in. A Compliant Avoidant has reversed boundaries they have none where they need them and some where they should not be. 


So which type of boundary problems do you have?

I would say for myself I actually have a bit of all. I think as I fail in one area I then pull out a new tactic. Overall, I would say I am a compliant and the guilt and shame associated with setting a boundary makes me feel selfish and not responsible. I know this is wrong and I do believe this is tied into my need to be validated. What I am saying is, if I were to set a boundary that someone may not like then I would risk…well…not being liked by them…

Just look at this world we live in; it is set up on a structure of validation. Take Facebook for example, when was the last time you posted something and got a warm fuzzy when the number of “likes” grew. We live in a culture that teaches us to look "out" to get validation.

I believe as we delve deeper into our boundary issues, we will see it comes down to self-worth…and we cannot tackle the issue of self-worth without looking to the One who created us and to see what He says about us…here a few nuggets to mediate on:


We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. Ephesians 1:4


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