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Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting and Enjoying the Self

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  310 ratings  ·  38 reviews
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
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 1st 1994 by Health Communications Inc (first published January 1st 1993)
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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
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
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.
Lora Shouse
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 21, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jan 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
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. ...more
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
I learned a lot about my PTSD and codependency, as well as how to differentiate myself and my responsibilities from those of others.
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
LOTS to think about and LOTS of work ahead. Looking forward to reading Whitfield's other books. ...more
Jul 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
what *didn't* i learn?! mostly helped me make sense of why i see things the way I do sometimes ...more
Joani Jacob
Sep 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Never bad to revisit this topic and read a well regarded source.
May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Boundaries are a big deal in having healthy and good relationships. This book was a great help in understanding how to have healthy boundaries.
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
Camilla Leurs
Oct 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Richard Felix
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Pamela Sweezy
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
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.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: to-annotate
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 ...more
Apr 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Invaluable information for anyone in recovery.
Glenn Robinson
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very helpful with many new ideas on how to improve my relationships with others.
Rosalyn Leigh
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.
Sofia The Great
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was ok
A few good points but way too religious for me.
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
+ + + 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
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.
Nov 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
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. ...more
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Charles L. Whitfield, M.D., is a physician, psychotherapist, author and internationally recognized expert on mental illness, behavioral problems, and recovery from addiction and trauma. He was on the faculty of the Rutgers University Summer Institute of Alcohol and Drug Studies from 1978 through 2003, and in private practice of addiction medicine and psychotherapy since 1976. He has also been a co ...more

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