"Boundaries" by Cloud & Townsend: A Book Review


Society today is famous for violating boundaries, making it difficult for people to learn what healthy boundary setting looks like. Healthy boundary setting is a topic that tends to illicit a number of feelings in people. Many people feel guilty or selfish for setting healthy boundaries, or they are afraid that setting boundaries will open them to hurt or that they will hurt or damage their relationships with others. In “Boundaries” by Drs. Cloud and Townsend (1992), these topics are addressed, and it also deals with  relationships that conflict with boundaries, then closes with outlining what healthy boundaries are and gives a great picture of how that is lived out in the life of an individual. Cloud and Townsend (1992) outline the beautiful gift of boundaries that God has blessed us with and the freedom that can be found when healthy boundaries are in place in a person’s life. 


What did you find helpful about this book?

Many times, I have had clients express to me how they feel depressed, anxious, or simply taken advantage of because of the way they have learned to interact with the people in their lives. It is not uncommon to see this result in dealing with anger in a passive-aggressive manner. Setting healthy actually frees people to be able to love and care for the people in their lives without feeling like a doormat. People are able to embrace the concept of serving out of love rather than obligation. “Boundaries” guides people toward taking responsibility for their own behavior, rather than trying to take ownership of other people’s feelings and decisions. It shows scripturally how God intended for us to have boundaries.

What do clients find most helpful about this book?

“Boundaries” has a number of narrative accounts throughout that make the book relatable, easy to read, and relevant. As clients read, they first come to feel like Cloud and Townsend truly understand their perspective and are more likely to continue to read for the tips on how to overcome. The chapters on healthy boundary setting are insightful and practical. While it is ultimately up to the client to put these principles into place, Cloud and Townsend anticipate many of the possible pitfalls in carrying this out and work to help clients troubleshoot whatever difficulties people may face in setting boundaries.

Favorite Quotes

“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and where someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership.”
“People with boundary problems usually have distorted attitudes about responsibility. They feel to hold people responsible for their feelings, choices, and behaviors is mean. However, Proverbs repeatedly says that setting limits and accepting responsibility will save lives (Proverbs 13:18, 24).”
“…an internal no nullifies an eternal yes. God is more concerned with our hearts than he is with our outward compliance.”

If you would like to learn more about this book or how to purchase through Amazon, visit here

This post was originally posted by former intern, Angela Mains, on our Ask Anne blog in 2012.