"Boundaries", by Cloud and Townsend, is a wonderful resource for identifying relational problems and discovering behavioral changes that can help overcome those problems. "Beyond Boundaries", by Townsend, reviews the boundary issues and moves into identification of character issues behind boundary problems. It is both educational and encouraging, since it directs an individual through steps that lead to good decisions and healthy relationships in the future. The two books combined provide a one-two punch for overcoming relational disasters.
I have read a couple of books that Cloud and Townsend have written, including Boundaries, Boundaries in Dating, and Safe People. I have also read Cloud's book, Changes That Heal. I would strongly recommend that anyone contemplating reading this book would have at least read Boundaries, and preferably Safe People, as well. I found the information presented to be very practical. I believe Dr. Townsend has laid the groundwork for the healthy pursuit of a new relationship, for those who have been hurt in a prior relationship. I think that this book would be especially valuable for someone who has gone through a divorce and needs assistance with the issue of working on learning to trust again.
I have bought books by Drs. Cloud and Townsend before. The only ones I really got any good from are their original Boundaries book, and another titled Safe People. These I got much good from. The others, I have read, and sadly passed them on. Why? The books are written, with the premise, that you are in a large church community, able to be in support group(s). The books emphasize this; unfortunately I live in a small town, attend a small church, and support groups (which the books say you NEED to be involved in) dont exist here. That pretty much cancels out much of the books' advice: to be in support groups (or start your own), have access to counseling (again, in a support group), and feedback. The nearest counselors I could find, are 40 miles away, and I have no insurance to pay for any counseling. I peeked inside the book, when I opened the box; saw that it said much of what I have read in their other books. I was in an abusive marriage for many years; trust issues I am still dealing with, as well as PTSD issues. Very few christian counselors deal with these things, I have found. I returned this book.
Sometimes you think you have to settle for less in your relationships. “If you don't want to settle in your relational life, this book is for you,” says author Dr. John Townsend. You are meant to have deep, meaningful and positive relationships. Cloud and Townsend wrote Boundaries two decades ago to help people in troubled relationships. Now Townsend wants to help you identify and grow from whatever went wrong in the relationship. He wants to help you determine if someone is worthy of your trust again. In part 1 of the book we see how trust is broken in the first place, what happens to the person on the receiving end and to the relationship. We see the role of healthy boundaries and what happens when we feel the desire for a new relationship or try again with the present one. People in healthy relationships live longer and have fewer health issues. We are also made for deep relationships. Trust is essential. It is freeing. Yet we may be vulnerable to deception. When it happens, we lose trust. Hurt, guilt and withdrawal result. Boundaries and what they accomplish are reviewed. Often a boundary will cause the reemergence of desire. Townsend explains healthy and unhealthy responses to such desires. Part 2 addresses knowing when your ready to open up again. Relational wounds need to heal so we can carry on with life again. Friends help. Counseling may be necessary. Townsend helps us review the painful relationship and gain insight from it. He writes, “My goal for you is that you will be enlightened and empowered to choose people who are both good and good for you.” Grieving is essential for moving on. “Grief is what enables you to fully let go. It frees you, it clears your mind, and it helps heal the injuries. You must grieve what was. You must grieve it well and thoroughly before you are ready to go beyond boundaries into new intimacy.” He identifies six components for grieving a lost relationship. Townsend notes that one aspect of growth that is necessary is fulfilling some of your needs yourself. He distinguishes friendships and romantic relationships. He reviews types of boundaries. Defining boundaries identify who we are never to be given up. Protective boundaries should sooner or later be given up. He speaks of risks and determining which should be taken. He helps you to know when the other person is ready by identifying several characteristics the other must show. (These characteristics of the “other” person are really characteristics any healthy person should have.) “...[M]oving beyond boundaries requires a commitment from both people.” He clarifies the role of passion and how to evaluate a relationship, whether it is healthy or not. Townsend has a chapter on those who want to give an existing relationship a second chance. “You need to see evidence of authentic transformation in order to move beyond boundaries with someone who has hurt you.” Such evidence includes confession, ownership, and remorse. He also goes through various communication techniques, giving tips to make it over the “speed bumps.” Townsend gives several examples of actual people working through the principles he presents. All of this is based on God as One who restores relationships and Himself experiences the pain of doing so. Townsend's desire, “May you find the life that God intended for your journey.”
If you have been hurt by relationships in the past but are now ready to venture into that world again, this is a book you must read.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Beyond Boundaries by Dr. John Townsend deals with boundaries that we have with different relationships in our life. The book concentrates on trust issues that we have with relationships such as spouses, bosses, siblings, and friends. How do we work through the pain and then take the risk to trust the different relationships we encounter in our life again?
I found this book very hard for me to read because of the content. On the other hand it was very eye opening and comforting. I grew up in an alcoholic/co-dependent home so trust issues have always been hard for me. I also in the past had a boss that was a very controlling person. She was a toxic person for me. So when I lost my job because of “the economy” supposedly, it was very hard for me to even look at another job, wondering if I could ever trust another boss.
So if you are interested in looking at yourself and dealing with your relationship issues, this is the book for you. I found it to be very helpful, if nothing else to start to acknowledge the issues in your life.
This unbiased review was based on an electronic copy of the book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating a review.