Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Summary and Review)

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life" by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. (Summary and Review)

Welcome to an insightful journey through the world of 'Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend - Review, Summary, & Analysis,' written by Muhiuddin Alam on the book recommendations and reviews site,

Over the years as a leading authority on literary expertise, I've created numerous book reviews, many of which can be found on this site. I'm also a regular contributor to other book-related websites and publications.

I have received many requests to review the book 'Boundaries' which was written by Henry Cloud'. In response, I'm pleased to offer my expert Reviews, Summary, and Analysis in this article.

So, when I suggest this book, it's because I've read a lot and want to share the best ones with you. I'm all about making your reading experience awesome. Trust in a guide deeply immersed in the literary books and stories. I love books just like you do!


Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. 

Boundaries impact all areas of our lives

  • Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances 
  • Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions 
  • Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others 
  • Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator 

Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask:

  • Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
  • What are legitimate boundaries?
  • What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
  • How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
  • Aren't boundaries selfish?
  • Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

Book: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life 

  • Originally published: September 1992
  • Author: Henry Cloud
  • Genres: Christian literature, Self-help book


About the Author Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend are popular speakers, psychologists, and cohosts of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! radio program, and cofounders of Cloud-Townsend Clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. 

Both graduated with doctors in clinical psychology from Rosemead Graduate School of Psychology at Biola University, and both maintain practices in Newport Beach, California.

They are best known for their book "Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life," which has sold over 5 million copies and has been translated into over 25 languages.

Cloud and Townsend have written over 40 books, including "The Boundaries Workbook," "Boundaries in Marriage," and "Boundaries with Kids," which explore how to set and maintain healthy boundaries in various areas of life. 

Related Topics: 

Summary of the Book

Not everyone will find this book interesting, nor is it a book of exceptional thought or writing. I think it will probably not become a masterpiece, nor will it be famous forever, which can be seen from the number of readers on Douban.

From a theological point of view, this is not a good commentary. The references to the Bible are both unsystematic and somewhat far-fetched. More fundamentally, its starting point is not the Bible, but the author's actual work experience as a counselor with a Christian background.

However, it was written out. And it helped some people. Perhaps this was the task God gave the author, and he accomplished it. This is like a person with musical talent composing a new song for Jehovah due to emotion. Then his life was also lost in the crowd.

In my opinion, this book doesn't need to quote the Bible so often to prove its point. Because it just honestly points out an objectively existing problem. This is like a doctor diagnosing a leprosy patient. There is no need to quote a lot of classics, but a key sentence in a medical book is enough.

This book is written for those who grew up controlled by others. It's for people who are weak at heart, too good-natured, chased by fear for years, and always put on a shy smile. 

Those people are often desperate to escape the world. Those people often develop a morbid obsession with people and things as a way to numb their wounds and find meaning in their existence. 

Unfortunately, such a person is invariably exposed to abuse, whether intentional or unintentional, by his crush.

it is good. If you know someone like this, please show him/her this book. Whether or not you think the book is poorly written. It's not a great book, it just needs to do its thing.

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God..

Book Review

The book I’m introducing today is called Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. This book tells how to establish your own psychological boundaries and live a life in which you can decide.

The authors of this book are two clinical psychologists, Henry Crowder and John Townsend. Both of them are classmates and friends. They both graduated from Biola University in the United States with a major in psychology. They also jointly opened a psychological counseling clinic. 

They wrote a series of books on psychological boundaries together, such as "Setting Boundaries for Children", "Setting Boundaries for Marriage" and so on, to help more people establish their own psychological boundaries.

How to identify the four common boundary problems in life and how to rebuild a mature and healthy psychological boundary?

Let's first look at how to identify four common boundary problems in life.

Take a test first to see what kind of boundary problem you have.

Which of the following four descriptions is more like you:

  • A.Unable to reject others, feel guilty once rejected; fear of being alone, often pretending to like things you don’t like in order to get the company.
  • B. I hope that others will do what I want and if I am rejected or opposed, I will be very angry.
  • C. Very independent, unwilling to ask others for help, even if others offer to help, they will refuse each other.
  • D. Not interested in other people's affairs, completely unwilling to spend time with those who confide in and ask for help.

It's okay if you want to choose more than one option, just choose the answer first, and let's break it down.

The questions were grouped into four categories: compliant, controlling, independent, and non-responsive.

Submissive people have two characteristics, one is that they are afraid of being alone, and the other is that they do not understand rejection. These two characteristics are in a vicious circle with each other. 

Because they are afraid of being alone and want to have an intimate relationship, submissives are often afraid of offending those around them, so even if the other party does something excessive or makes unreasonable demands, submissives will not refuse. But this kind of "abuse of good people" is easy to be ignored and bullied, which makes the submissive feel more lonely.

The characteristic of controllers is that they have a strong desire to control, they always want others to listen to them, and they simply cannot accept rejection from others. There are also two types of controllers, depending on how they are controlled, aggressive controllers and manipulative controllers. 

An aggressive controlling attitude is tough, even accompanied by threats of violence, so it is easy to identify. Sometimes the Manipulator is paired with the aforementioned Submissive. 

The manipulative controller wants to control the other person, and the submissive person is used to listening to the other person. When these two kinds of people come together, it is simply a tragedy.

The independent type often feels very independent and can handle everything by itself without the help of others. This independence may seem more like a virtue, but it is not. The avoidant refuses to help not because they really can handle anything, but more like braggadocio.

Finally, non-responders are characterized by apathy, who do not hear the needs of others and are less willing to help others. There are also two types of non-responders, one is very strict with other people's needs, and the other is addicted to their own desires and needs.

And many people will switch their roles according to the scene. In life, we are often both obedient and controllers, avoiders and non-responders.

How to rebuild a mature and healthy psychological boundary?

After we understand our problems, we can start thinking about establishing new boundaries. Rebuilding a healthy psychological boundary requires three steps: first, establish a support system, second, practice a sense of boundary, and third, establish a healthy boundary.

Let's start with the first step, building a support system. Build a support system, which means finding people who can help you set boundaries. Take the submissive person as an example. The submissive person repeatedly endures abuse from others, essentially fearing that the other person will leave him if he sets a boundary. 

But if they have a stable intimate relationship, and they can be sure that the other party in the relationship will not leave them easily, then their courage will become stronger, and it will not be so difficult to reject the other party.

After establishing the support system, we enter the second step: practicing the sense of boundaries. At this stage, we need to repeatedly practice setting boundaries within the support system established in the previous step. 

For example, for controllers, the focus of the exercise is to allow themselves to accept rejection from others calmly and learn to adapt to being rejected.

When you are no longer afraid of boundaries, you can enter the third step: establish healthy boundaries. At this point, you have the ability to face the real object of contradiction. 

For the submissive, you have to bravely protect yourself in the face of other people's violations; you have to bravely say no when the other party makes unreasonable demands. When you become proficient at manipulating your boundaries and say "no" and "yes" freely, then your boundaries have matured.

Books Similar to Boundaries

If you enjoyed "Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life" by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, you might also enjoy these books that explore similar themes:

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