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Boundaries Face to Face Copyright 2003 by Henry Cloud and John Townsend This title is also available as a Zondervan audio product.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Cloud, Henry.
Boundaries face to face : how to have that difficult conversation you've been avoiding / Henry Cloud and John Townsend.1st ed.
1. Conflict managementReligious aspectsChristianity. 2. Conversation
Religious aspectsChristianity. 3. Oral communicationReligious aspects
Christianity. 4. Interpersonal conflictReligious aspects. 5. Interpersonal relationsReligious aspects. I. Townsend, John Sims, 1952 II. Title.
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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.
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Scripture quotations marked NASB are from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright
1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 by The Lockman Foundation.
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We never foresaw how well our book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No to Take Control of Your Life was going to do.
Although we knew through our clinical work that many people identify with the need to regain control of their lives, we had no idea how widespread that need was. Almost everyone feels the need for better boundaries at one time or another.
Sometimes we need to deal with a difficult person in a relationship,
such as a controller, a manipulator, or someone who is irresponsible or even abusive. At other times we need to figure out what demands of life to say no to so we won't overextend ourselves. At still other times we need to work out better patterns of intimacy and relatedness in a good relationship, or take a stand for our values in a difficult one. Still other times, we might need to keep someone from taking over more of our time,
energy, and resources than we would like to give. There are many, many different contexts of life in which we need to exercise good boundaries. For people who care, setting those boundaries can be tough. So it really is no surprise that Boundaries has found such a ready audience.
As a result of the book's following, we find ourselves speaking to tens of thousands of people directly every year and literally millions through our radio program. When we talk to people, the theme of dealing with difficult relationships continues to surface. Resolving relational issues is always on the forefront of people's minds.
As we answer questions, we find ourselves continually telling people that they should have a direct conversation with the person with whom they have the problem. They repeatedly say either 'I've tried that, and it didn't work' or 'How would I do that?' Either they have tried and found themselves overpowered or outmaneuvered, or they just don't know how to broach such a conversation. So we often tell them to roleplay with us. We say, 'You be him or her and I'll be you. Now go.' When we show them how to have such a conversation, the lights go on for the first time. They often say things like 'I never thought about saying it like that. That makes all the difference in the world. Now I know what to do.'
Many people in the audience who observe the role-playing tell us the same thing. Just hearing how to do it gives them a process to follow,
and they can go forward with more confidence that they will be able to resolve a tough issue.
This book shows readers how to do that, how to have a 'boundary conversation.' Most people know that they need to set boundaries with someone or have a difficult conversation with someone, but few know how to do it well. Some are so afraid, they never try; others try and fail dismally; still others do it in a way that does more harm than good. For that reason, people put off confronting, setting boundaries, or 'facing into' difficult conversations. As a result, their relationships suffer.
For many people, setting boundaries or confronting someone has gotten a bad rap. Yet, both the Bible and research show that confrontation is essential to success in all arenas of life. Successful people confront well. They make it a part of the ongoing texture of their relationships.
They face issues in their relationships directly. In fact, the Latin word for confront means just that: to turn your face toward something or someone.
We hope this book will return confrontation to its proper positive role in the language of love and relationship. We will show that setting boundaries, confronting, and having that 'difficult conversation you've been avoiding' is not adversarial, but one of the most loving things you can do. We will show that it is the only way to have the relationship you desire, whether in marriage, dating, friendship, family, or work. And if you learn to have those difficult conversations in a loving, honest,
and responsible way, your relationships can become better than you ever thought they could.
This book will show you the benefits and essentials of a good conversation,
how to have that good conversation, how to prepare yourself before you have the conversation, and how to have it with the various people in your lives.
So why another Boundaries book? Our prayer is that it will accompany whatever other Boundaries books you have and guide you toward specific conversations in both your difficult and delightful relationships.
This will be a 'how-to' guide to help you know how to have that difficult conversation you've been avoiding and, as a result, get more out of your relationshipsand your life.
As we speak around the country at conferences on relationships,
we will often hear some version of the following story.
A man will come up and say, 'Thanks for your materials on setting limits and boundaries. They have changed my life and my marriage.'
We will say, 'Thank you, too. So what book did you read?'
'I didn't read a book,' the man will say. 'My wife did!'
He will go on to explain: 'I was a crummy communicator with my wife. I controlled her, I had some bad habits, and I had no spiritual life to speak of. Then she read Boundaries, and she started applying the principles. That's when things started changing for both of us. It took some time and effort, but I'm really different now. We are closer, and we have more respect for each other and more freedom in the relationship. I'm doing a lot better with those bad habits, and I'm waking up to my relationship with God.'
You would normally expect someone to talk about a book he has actually read.