Hiding from Love Workbook: How to Change the Withdrawal Patterns That Isolate and Imprison You


A workbook to help readers explore their hiding patterns and discover the freedom of connected relationships

When we experience emotional injury, fear, shame, or pride, our first impulse is to hide the hurting parts of ourselves from God, others, and even ourselves. The problem is that when we hide our injuries and frailties, we run from the very things we need to heal and mature. What served as protection for a child becomes a prison to an ...

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A workbook to help readers explore their hiding patterns and discover the freedom of connected relationships

When we experience emotional injury, fear, shame, or pride, our first impulse is to hide the hurting parts of ourselves from God, others, and even ourselves. The problem is that when we hide our injuries and frailties, we run from the very things we need to heal and mature. What served as protection for a child becomes a prison to an adult.

This workbook helps readers explore the hiding patterns they have developed and guides them toward the healing grace and truth that God has built into safe, connected relationships with himself and others.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310238287
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Edition description: Workbook
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 483,179
  • Product dimensions: 7.63 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. John Townsend is a psychologist, popular speaker, and cohost of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! radio program, and a cofounder of Cloud-Townsend clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. He has written or co-written 27 books, selling over six million copies, including the bestseller Boundaries. He is also the author of Boundaries with Teens and Hiding from Love. He and his wife, Barbi, live in southern California. They have two grown sons.

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Read an Excerpt

Hiding from Love Workbook

How to Change the Withdrawal Patterns That Isolate and Imprison You
By John Townsend


Copyright © 2001 Zondervan
All right reserved.

Chapter One

Jenny's Story

* * *

Jenny's story is a fictional tale that illustrates the reality of hiding. We all hide in various ways. So, in this overview of Jenny's life, consider how you (or someone you know) may be a lot like Jenny.

Young Jenny's life was full of joy and comfort. She felt loved and secure until war broke out and her defeated country was occupied by enemy forces. Only a few days after the occupation, she saw several men crash through the front door of her home. "Run, Jenny! Run to the Deep Woods!" her father cried out. Looking back, Jenny saw the men drag her parents toward a big black car and shove them into the back seat.

At first Jenny thought the occupying soldiers were friends. After all, they had military uniforms much like Officer Josef's police uniform. When has someone looked like a friend to you but eventually proved otherwise?

When has someone cried out to you in warning (figuratively speaking), "Run to the Deep Woods"-or when have you chosen this option on your own? Briefly describe the dangerous circumstances you were leaving behind.


The Deep Woods had always been Jenny's friend; now it was her only safe place. So she made the Woods her home.

If you have settled into the Deep Woods, what memories remind you of a less isolated life?

What fears and/or confusion keep you choosing to stay hidden in your Deep Woods?


Fear and loneliness became Jenny's constant companions. She hated being alone, but she was more afraid of exposure, especially to the men in uniform. The Woods were her safety; her memories kept her going as she made a place for herself in the forest.

But something was different inside the little girl's heart. Her heart had been broken, and it did not mend while she was busy learning how to live in the forest. When, if ever, have you been aware of your heart-the part of you that once trusted and could make relational connections-becoming still and quiet, dull and painfully empty?

What situations in life (if any) make you, like Jenny, feel inadequate to solve a problem or make a decision? Whose advice or past presence in your life offers you some encouragement or even direction in those situations?

When is your aloneness in your own Deep Woods especially troublesome?


When the four uniformed soldiers tried to catch her, Jenny plunged into deep, almost impenetrable brush. The soldiers ran right past her hidden path, and Jenny was safe.

When, if ever, has your knowledge of your Deep Woods enabled you to protect yourself from further danger or harm? Be as specific as possible.


To make her day a little more interesting and a little less lonely, Jenny conjured up two imaginary friends: Big Jenny and Little Jenny. She repeated one of their conversations over and over again. It was a discussion of the very important question Why am I here?

What conclusion is Little Jenny making about why she is in the Deep Woods?

What, if anything, have you wrongly suggested to yourself about why you find yourself hiding in your Deep Woods?


One afternoon another group of uniformed soldiers spotted Jenny and began running after her. Once again she escaped and hid too far away to hear them talk about their turning away the enemy and coming, according to her parents' wishes, to find Jenny and bring her home.

Who might you have mistaken for an enemy-or who in your life right now might be a friend rather than an enemy?

What similarities to past enemies (appearance, behavior) do you see in those who might be friends that keep you running and hiding from them?


By now Jenny had learned how to keep her life orderly and safe in the Deep Woods. She also noticed that, with each day, she felt less and less that she needed her old relationships. Emotions she had experienced before-love, tenderness, joy, and even terror, panic, rage, and sadness-were becoming more and more faint.

Jenny's routine included all kinds of rules, even for little things. These rules helped give her a sense of control over her life. Does your life have lots of rules? Give a few examples.

When, if ever, have you found strength in your sense of competency? In such a moment, what, if anything, have you noticed about your emotions or lack of emotions? What has happened (or is happening) to your heart as you have mastered surviving in the Deep Woods?


On the twentieth day in a row, a uniformed man called out, "Jenny! Jenny! Where are you?" Still Jenny hid-until one day when he sat down and, for about an hour, called her name every few minutes. After Day 30, Jenny decided to take a small risk. She crept near the soldier, coughed to get his attention, and then vaguely recognized the face that turned toward her as her old friend Josef.

Having come to take her home, Josef told Jenny that her parents had sent him to find her. When, if ever, have you felt, as Jenny did, the conflict between wanting to be in relationship again and being afraid to leave your Deep Woods? What did you choose-to leave the Woods or to stay?

Who in your life, if anyone, might be able to lead you out of the Woods? What will it take you to, figuratively speaking, grab that person's hand just as Jenny grabbed Officer Josef's?

Coming Out of Hiding

1. Summarize what you have seen about how you and Jenny are similar. What hurtful experience led you into hiding? What places, behaviors, and habits have become your haven? What rules have you developed to give yourself a sense of control over your life? What changes in your perspective on the past and in your emotions have you noticed since going into hiding?

2. Think back to your own childhood and write down some of your memories. When were you happiest? What were you afraid of and why? Which relationships offered security? Which were tenuous? What did you learn about trust? Are you, today, needing to learn to trust again? What safe person (an "Officer Josef") might help you do that?

3. Spend a few minutes talking to God about how you, like Jenny, are hiding. This may be difficult if you are hiding from God. If that's the case, be honest about your struggle to pray and about how distant he seems. Ask God to be with you as you continue this study and to enable you to come out of hiding.


Excerpted from Hiding from Love Workbook by John Townsend Copyright © 2001 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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