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Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting and Enjoying the Self

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More than personal boundaries, this book is really about relationships--healthy and unhealthy ones. Here bestselling author and psychotherapist Charles Whitfield blends theories and dynamics from several disciplines into practical knowledge and actions that your can use in your relationships right now. This comprehensive book opens with clear definitions and descriptions of More than personal boundaries, this book is really about relationships--healthy and unhealthy ones. Here bestselling author and psychotherapist Charles Whitfield blends theories and dynamics from several disciplines into practical knowledge and actions that your can use in your relationships right now. This comprehensive book opens with clear definitions and descriptions of boundaries, a self-assessment survey and a history of our accumulated knowledge. Going deeper, it describes the 10 essential areas of human interaction wherein you can improve your relationships. These include age regression, giving and receiving (projection and projective identification), triangles, core recovery issues, basic dynamics, unfinished business and spirituality. It shows in countless practical ways how knowledge of each of these is most useful in your recovery and everyday life.


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More than personal boundaries, this book is really about relationships--healthy and unhealthy ones. Here bestselling author and psychotherapist Charles Whitfield blends theories and dynamics from several disciplines into practical knowledge and actions that your can use in your relationships right now. This comprehensive book opens with clear definitions and descriptions of More than personal boundaries, this book is really about relationships--healthy and unhealthy ones. Here bestselling author and psychotherapist Charles Whitfield blends theories and dynamics from several disciplines into practical knowledge and actions that your can use in your relationships right now. This comprehensive book opens with clear definitions and descriptions of boundaries, a self-assessment survey and a history of our accumulated knowledge. Going deeper, it describes the 10 essential areas of human interaction wherein you can improve your relationships. These include age regression, giving and receiving (projection and projective identification), triangles, core recovery issues, basic dynamics, unfinished business and spirituality. It shows in countless practical ways how knowledge of each of these is most useful in your recovery and everyday life.

30 review for Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting and Enjoying the Self

  1. 5 out of 5

    Magnus Lidbom

    Contains real and vital insights about boundaries, but often insights are so enmeshed with religious dogma that it is hard to tell which is which. According to the author I am forever stunted in my growth as a person because I do not believe in his imaginary friend in the sky. A book on healthy boundaries that forces the authors religious views down your throat by the threat of stunted growth. Oh the irony! "higher power" or "god" is mentioned 105 times. To my mind this extreme, completely unexpla Contains real and vital insights about boundaries, but often insights are so enmeshed with religious dogma that it is hard to tell which is which. According to the author I am forever stunted in my growth as a person because I do not believe in his imaginary friend in the sky. A book on healthy boundaries that forces the authors religious views down your throat by the threat of stunted growth. Oh the irony! "higher power" or "god" is mentioned 105 times. To my mind this extreme, completely unexplained, and completely unsubstantiated dependence on god to fix things robs the book of most of its credibility. How do we find our worth? "we learn that we are a good, whole and perfect child of God." "our True Self knows that it can co-create its life by connecting to its Higher Power" "we extend our Love and expand ourself so that, in concert with the God of our understanding, we can co-create success and joy in our life. This appears to be the most evolved experience that we can have as a human being." The relationship with god that the book recommends also seems suspiciously similar to the triangles that he talks about as being primarily destructive. In fact a diagram illustrating it is a literal triangle. And in this case there is absolutely zero proof that the entity you are talking to even exists. Jesus! (pun intended) Additionally, the book - in my my opinion - fails to actually explain the real insights and I understand them only through other books that I have read. Instead of real explanations the book severely misuses metaphors. I consider a metaphor to be a tool for communication of ideas, for elucidation. When it instead becomes the understanding and you talk about "true self" and "inner child" as if they were real things the metaphor becomes a hindrance to true insight in my opinion. Perhaps this way of "explaining" things relates to the authors assertion that our true self is intuitive while our false self is rational and logical. No kidding. He seriously appears to claim that when we employ logic and rational thinking that is our false self in action. Let me clarify that I'm utterly convinced of the absolute necessity of utilizing intuition. It is where all our understandings and insights come from. It is the light bulb moment. But most of the light bulb moments turn out to be illusory! Intuition is awesome for presenting ideas. But to validate them we absolutely must follow up with a rational logical examination of our ideas. The author appears to disagree about the need for rational examination of ideas. He appears to consider his intuitions and metaphors to be valid just because he intuited them. At least that seems to explain why the book is shock full of assertions and very very lacking in explanations.

  2. 5 out of 5

    S.

    This is the second book on boundaries that's from a patriarchal monotheist point of view, although this one doesn't jam it down your throat as much as the previous one, and this one actually has useful stuff in it. I think that imposing your religion on others is a violation of boundaries. There were also too many references to his other books. In other words, he was promoting them (you'll learn more about this if you read my book, so-and-so) in the midst of this book. This is the second book on boundaries that's from a patriarchal monotheist point of view, although this one doesn't jam it down your throat as much as the previous one, and this one actually has useful stuff in it. I think that imposing your religion on others is a violation of boundaries. There were also too many references to his other books. In other words, he was promoting them (you'll learn more about this if you read my book, so-and-so) in the midst of this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lora Shouse

    I was massively disappointed in this book. I thought it was going to be a self-help type of book, so I didn’t have very high expectations of it to begin with. But I did expect to learn just exactly what the author and his colleagues meant by the term ‘boundary.’ That didn’t happen. He repeated the idea over and over that a boundary (in the sense we are talking about here) is something that separates your psychological ‘stuff’ from mine. We are also told many other possible characteristics of boun I was massively disappointed in this book. I thought it was going to be a self-help type of book, so I didn’t have very high expectations of it to begin with. But I did expect to learn just exactly what the author and his colleagues meant by the term ‘boundary.’ That didn’t happen. He repeated the idea over and over that a boundary (in the sense we are talking about here) is something that separates your psychological ‘stuff’ from mine. We are also told many other possible characteristics of boundaries. But having read the entire book I don’t find that I know anything more about psychological boundaries than I did before. The problem appears to be that this book is intended for people who have been in psychotherapy for a while already, or for people who are in training to be psychiatrists or psychologists. In addition to ‘boundaries,’ these people will probably understand just what is meant by terms like ‘True Self,’ and ‘working through’ an ‘issue.’ Maybe. I was further put off by the idea that the author seems to think (and quotes somebody else to the effect) that over 90% of people are to varying degrees co-dependent and need to be in therapy for five years or more to ‘work through’ all their ‘issues’ so they can get to know their True Self. This is a real shame because it sounds like learning to create and maintain healthy boundaries, as well as when to lower them would be highly beneficial for many people.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Granny

    For me this book took a little time to get rolling. The initial information had too much of a flavor of pop psychology for my taste (as is often the case with self help books). But it did eventually begin to take off and actually the information has proven very useful. Although I have been in therapy for many years, I came to realize through this book that my understanding of healthy boundaries was poor. I also came to realize that I was not very articular with speaking up when my personal bounda For me this book took a little time to get rolling. The initial information had too much of a flavor of pop psychology for my taste (as is often the case with self help books). But it did eventually begin to take off and actually the information has proven very useful. Although I have been in therapy for many years, I came to realize through this book that my understanding of healthy boundaries was poor. I also came to realize that I was not very articular with speaking up when my personal boundaries were crossed. This is a very helpful book, if you can persevere past the initial chapters and get to the heart of it. I do recommend it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Some interesting clarification. But overall I didn't like the writing style, I found all his references to other books he's written frustrating, and the numerous charts and tables were confusing and distracting. Some interesting clarification. But overall I didn't like the writing style, I found all his references to other books he's written frustrating, and the numerous charts and tables were confusing and distracting.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shell

    I like anything written by Charles Whitfield and find his style of writing wonderful. This book also contains wonderful information to assist one in honoring their Soul. Overall, this is a terrific work that truly serves others.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bridgett

    I learned a lot about my PTSD and codependency, as well as how to differentiate myself and my responsibilities from those of others.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    LOTS to think about and LOTS of work ahead. Looking forward to reading Whitfield's other books. LOTS to think about and LOTS of work ahead. Looking forward to reading Whitfield's other books.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    what *didn't* i learn?! mostly helped me make sense of why i see things the way I do sometimes what *didn't* i learn?! mostly helped me make sense of why i see things the way I do sometimes

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joani Jacob

    So far, I've learned I'm not crazy!! What a relief! Seriously - it's not quite what I'm used to reading, but I've been very empowerd by discoveries made while reading this book. Worth the read! So far, I've learned I'm not crazy!! What a relief! Seriously - it's not quite what I'm used to reading, but I've been very empowerd by discoveries made while reading this book. Worth the read!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brimley

    Never bad to revisit this topic and read a well regarded source.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Boundaries are a big deal in having healthy and good relationships. This book was a great help in understanding how to have healthy boundaries.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hilary Whatley

    The unique quality of this book compared to others in the genre is that it goes into significantly more depth. It is highbrow. However, if you can follow him, the insights are profound. I especially love how he talks about age-regression, projective identification, and how letting go of boundaries is JUST AS necessary as having them in the first place. In a world where it's all about showing our power (as if we're somehow weak if we show mercy instead), it is so encouraging to read that letting g The unique quality of this book compared to others in the genre is that it goes into significantly more depth. It is highbrow. However, if you can follow him, the insights are profound. I especially love how he talks about age-regression, projective identification, and how letting go of boundaries is JUST AS necessary as having them in the first place. In a world where it's all about showing our power (as if we're somehow weak if we show mercy instead), it is so encouraging to read that letting go of these boundaries is the natural progression of healing our "self," and of spiritual growth. This, to me, reinforces my belief that in Western culture, we're in an emotional dark age, and we haven't quite hit the next enlightenment period. Yet. When we do, however, it will be in the realm of emotional intelligence. The info is out there, already.. and it's in this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Camilla Leurs

    I struggled through this book as long as I could but couldn't finish it. I listened to the audio book and didn't enjoy the narrator which was an initial problem. I persevered but the constant references to his other works, religious focus and other uncomfortable formats let me down. He also frequently refers to being in recovery but at no point defines what he means by that or explains. But it seems "good" aware people are in recovery and "bad" or ignorant people are not. I didn't gain much from I struggled through this book as long as I could but couldn't finish it. I listened to the audio book and didn't enjoy the narrator which was an initial problem. I persevered but the constant references to his other works, religious focus and other uncomfortable formats let me down. He also frequently refers to being in recovery but at no point defines what he means by that or explains. But it seems "good" aware people are in recovery and "bad" or ignorant people are not. I didn't gain much from this book unfortunately and would not recommend.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Richard Felix

    This book 📖 has a ton to absorb so much relating to both boundaries and relationships will take a 2nd reading for me personally to fully understand n get all the author intended for the reader to receive, this is a book that would of helped me so much much earlier age, gives clarity n wisdom to the reader that had me taking notes, one part had me deeply thinking so true “”We LEARN to set HEALTHY BOUNDARIES and limits so we can OWN WHAT IS OURS and NOT TAKE ON ANYTHING that is NOT OURS, others ma This book 📖 has a ton to absorb so much relating to both boundaries and relationships will take a 2nd reading for me personally to fully understand n get all the author intended for the reader to receive, this is a book that would of helped me so much much earlier age, gives clarity n wisdom to the reader that had me taking notes, one part had me deeply thinking so true “”We LEARN to set HEALTHY BOUNDARIES and limits so we can OWN WHAT IS OURS and NOT TAKE ON ANYTHING that is NOT OURS, others may still try to project material from their INNER LIFE onto us”” food for thought indeed 📝 📖

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    This is a hard one to rate. At times dry and bleh but it had so many important things that I knew to keep reading. If I have to pick a single thing I loved it was the personal bill of rights at the end. The next favorite thing was the teaching that part of detangling from bad relationships is accepting that you'll be perceived as the bad guy. It's not real but it is a true cost. I'm glad I finally finished this book. This is a hard one to rate. At times dry and bleh but it had so many important things that I knew to keep reading. If I have to pick a single thing I loved it was the personal bill of rights at the end. The next favorite thing was the teaching that part of detangling from bad relationships is accepting that you'll be perceived as the bad guy. It's not real but it is a true cost. I'm glad I finally finished this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Sweezy

    Boundaries are beautiful things. I found this one a little too clinical and also, if you took out all of the references to what the author will talk about in later chapters of mentioned in earlier chapters, the book would be a third shorter. Not a bad read though and there was plenty of good info here.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    The messages in this book were really vital for my own journey but it took a lot to get past the need for a good edit and better diagrams. It has been a really useful read for me right now. If I was in a different place in my journey (earlier stage) then perhaps I would not have found it so useful - or been able to read the meaning rather than the language.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    This was a 4.5 star book until the final chapter. At the end, Whitfield wraps everything up by going into psycho-spiritual information. If you're not heavily invested in Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity, you might have a hard time relating to the material. Whitfield draws his statements from an alchemy of all 3 religious philosophies, and in my opinion, loses some credibility. I wish it didn't end that way - the rest of the book is absolutely fantastic! I still plan to order a physical copy a This was a 4.5 star book until the final chapter. At the end, Whitfield wraps everything up by going into psycho-spiritual information. If you're not heavily invested in Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity, you might have a hard time relating to the material. Whitfield draws his statements from an alchemy of all 3 religious philosophies, and in my opinion, loses some credibility. I wish it didn't end that way - the rest of the book is absolutely fantastic! I still plan to order a physical copy and annotate it (albeit passing over the final chapter). This was still a worthy and useful read!

  20. 4 out of 5

    TimsGlitterBug

    Super helpful read for anyone who has grown up in a dysfunctional home and needs to flex their muscles to set up these proper boundaries to thrive in live. Boundaries that we didn't know existed, nor were we allowed to have them as children, and now we're able to learn what they are and how to create them. Super helpful read for anyone who has grown up in a dysfunctional home and needs to flex their muscles to set up these proper boundaries to thrive in live. Boundaries that we didn't know existed, nor were we allowed to have them as children, and now we're able to learn what they are and how to create them.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Geraldine

    A helpful introduction to the topic of boundaries. The author puts work on boundaries into perspective and discusses a wide range of terms from the area of developmental psychology. The author's writing style is quite archaic. A helpful introduction to the topic of boundaries. The author puts work on boundaries into perspective and discusses a wide range of terms from the area of developmental psychology. The author's writing style is quite archaic.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ryn

    This was a concise and informative look at boundaries from multiple therapeutic and philosophical perspectives. It provided knowledge that I can apply in my therapy practice and in my personal life.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ctny

    Invaluable information for anyone in recovery.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Robinson

    Very helpful with many new ideas on how to improve my relationships with others.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rosalyn Leigh

    An exceptional read that had me very emotional at times. Overall, could have done with more anecdotes. The appendix with Barbara Harris is an odd surprise.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Great additional information to what I think of as the original Boundaries book by Townsend and Cloud. A bit more technical, or advanced. Less biblically oriented.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sofia The Great

    A few good points but way too religious for me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Klelly

    + + + all the tables and diagrams, i love and appreciate personal emotional and spiritual information conveyed in the most dispassionate way +++ direct and nuanced approach to exploring aspects of boundaries: clarity towards what is mine and what is not mine, rigidity vs firmness and flexibility, learning and knowing how and when to set healthy boundaries, trust, handle conflict and be real with people, determining appropriate closeness/sharing and distance/privacy, how to move away from co-depen + + + all the tables and diagrams, i love and appreciate personal emotional and spiritual information conveyed in the most dispassionate way +++ direct and nuanced approach to exploring aspects of boundaries: clarity towards what is mine and what is not mine, rigidity vs firmness and flexibility, learning and knowing how and when to set healthy boundaries, trust, handle conflict and be real with people, determining appropriate closeness/sharing and distance/privacy, how to move away from co-dependence, being overly responsible, towards a healthy interdependence, knowing how and when to let go, to heal ----- some of the language about false self and inner child is hard to grab on to. and other parts about spirituality, some of the anecdotes include characterizations i would argue as being too reductive.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    This book taught me about telling the difference between what is mine and not mine, letting go of all-or-nothing thinking, identifying how screwed up my childhood was, the importance of listening to myself, and how different people need different levels of boundaries. Some of which was new, some of which I knew before and was interesting to rethink about within the context of boundaries. I also learned to dislike the author's sloppy lists, circular arguments, and narrow-vision views on the world. This book taught me about telling the difference between what is mine and not mine, letting go of all-or-nothing thinking, identifying how screwed up my childhood was, the importance of listening to myself, and how different people need different levels of boundaries. Some of which was new, some of which I knew before and was interesting to rethink about within the context of boundaries. I also learned to dislike the author's sloppy lists, circular arguments, and narrow-vision views on the world. He is definitely writing for the 12 step crowd. Additionally I disliked his assumptions about spirituality. I am hoping to find a better book on boundaries. I feel like I would share what I learned but not recommend the book itself. It was... ok.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sharla

    My therapist suggested I read this, but even with loaning it to me, she suggested to focus on the early chapters, and that much of the book could be laborious with the author's concepts of "true self". She wanted me to glean more perspective on healthy emotional boundaries. I did indeed find it difficult to get interested in the book, and ended up giving up. I don't believe the book was helping me any further than what my therapist had already discussed with me. My therapist suggested I read this, but even with loaning it to me, she suggested to focus on the early chapters, and that much of the book could be laborious with the author's concepts of "true self". She wanted me to glean more perspective on healthy emotional boundaries. I did indeed find it difficult to get interested in the book, and ended up giving up. I don't believe the book was helping me any further than what my therapist had already discussed with me.

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