Boundaries: When To Say Yes (A Review + PDF Download)

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This article looks at the guidelines regarding boundaries, from the Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How To Say No To Take Control of Your Life PDF book by Henry Cloud. 

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

A healthy, balanced lifestyle necessitates the establishment of clear boundaries. A boundary is a line drawn on our own property that demarcates what we are concerned for. Boundaries, in other words, determine who we really are and who we are not. Boundaries have an influence on every aspect of our lives: Physical boundaries assist us in determining who is allowed to touch us and under what conditions.

Emotional boundaries aid us in managing our own feelings and disconnect from the destructive, manipulative emotions of others. Mental boundaries allow us to have our own thoughts and views. 

People often put so much emphasis on being kind and selfless that they lose sight of their own limits and boundaries. When challenged with their absence of boundaries they question, “Could I be a compassionate person whilst having boundaries – What do you mean by “legitimate boundaries”? – What if my limits offend or hurt someone? – How do I respond to someone who is requesting my time, affection, energy, or money?

“Aren’t boundaries selfish?”

Whenever it comes to creating boundaries, why do I feel so guilty or scared? In this book, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend provide religiously based solutions to these and other difficult issues, demonstrating how to establish appropriate boundaries with our parents, partners, kids, friends, colleagues, and even ourselves.

Contents Of The Book

The book consists of 3 parts:

  • Part I: What Are Boundaries
  • Part II: Boundary Conflicts
  • Part III: Developing Healthy Boundaries

Here is a breakdown of each part of the book.

Part I: What Are Boundaries

People often put so much emphasis on being kind and selfless that they lose sight of their own limits and boundaries. When challenged with their absence of boundaries they question, 

  • “Can I still be a compassionate person whilst having boundaries?”
  • “What do you mean by legitimate boundaries?”
  • “What if my limits offend or hurt someone?”
  • “How do I respond to someone who is requesting my time, affection, energy, or money?”
  • “Aren’t boundaries selfish?”
  • “Whenever it comes to creating boundaries, why do I feel so guilty or scared?”

Boundaries are easily seen in the physical world. Physical boundaries include fences, signs, walls, gates, groomed lawns, and hedges. They all say the same thing, despite their differences in appearance: THIS IS WHERE MY PROPERTY BEGINS. The property owner is legally accountable for what occurs on his or her land. The property is not the responsibility of non-owners.

We are defined by our boundaries. I get a feeling of ownership when I set a boundary. Understanding what I am responsible for and what I am not responsible for grants me liberation. 

If I recognize where my yard starts and ends, I can do whatever I want with it. Taking charge of my life brings up a world of possibilities. If I don’t “own” my life, though, my options and opportunities become very constrained.

Boundaries aid in the identification of our property so that we may properly care for it. They assist us in “vigilantly guarding our hearts.” Those that will nourish us should be kept inside our gates, while things that might damage us should be kept outside.

Your physical skin is the most fundamental boundary that defines you. This boundary is frequently used as a metaphor for indicating that one’s personal boundaries have been crossed: “He really gets under my skin.” The first time you discover that you are unique from others is through your physical self.

Teaching Children About Boundaries

Whenever parents teach their children that establishing boundaries or saying no is wrong, they are essentially teaching them that others are free to do anything they want with them. They are leaving their children susceptible and defenseless in a world filled with wickedness. Domineering, manipulating, and predatory people are manifestations of evil.

Children need the ability to say things like “No” to feel secure in such an awful environment:

  • “I don’t agree.” 
  • “I am not going to.” 
  • “I’ve made the decision not to.” 
  • “Stop it.” 
  • “This hurts.” 
  • “It’s not right.” 
  • “That’s not good.” 
  • “Don’t touch me there”

Part II: Boundary Conflicts


Triangulation is a form of boundary problem that occurs frequently in dysfunctional households. It proceeds like this: Person A is enraged with Person B. Person A keeps it a secret from Person B. Person A dials Person C’s number and complains about Person B. Person C admires Person A’s self-assurance and always pays attention when A wishes to play the triangle game.

Person B, who is lonely at this point, contacts C and discusses the dispute with A casually. Person C becomes B’s as well as A’s confidante. Persons A and B still haven’t worked out their differences, and C has two “friends.”

The inability to resolve a disagreement between two people and the recruitment of a third person to take sides is known as triangulation. This is a boundary issue since the third party has no business being involved in the disagreement, but is utilized by those who are scared to confront each other for consolation and affirmation. This is how disputes linger, individuals do not change, and needlessly hostile relationships are formed.

Since Person A is not “owning” his rage, there is an obvious absence of boundaries. The person with whom A is enraged deserves to hear it directly from him.

Boundaries in Friendship

Friendship boundary disputes are tough to resolve since the only thing that holds the connection together is the attachment itself. There’s only the friendship, which appears to be all too delicate and in risk of breaking apart.

Any individual can walk away from a friendship at any time. However, as we get more immersed in an attachment-based lifestyle, we learn to put our faith in love. We realise that true friendship bonds are difficult to break. And we learn that in a healthy relationship, we may create boundaries that enrich rather than harm the bond.

Setting Boundaries With Your Partner

Your partner may be hurt if you approach them and start to set boundaries. Remember that love and boundaries go hand in hand when assessing the suffering that your boundary setting causes your partner. Be compassionately responsive to your partner in suffering when you establish boundaries.

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Part III: Developing Healthy Boundaries

Guilt Messages 

People with weak boundaries nearly always internalise guilt messages directed at them, and they comply with guilt-inducing remarks designed to make them feel awful. Consider the following:

  • After everything I’ve done for you, how can you do this to me?” 
  • “For a change, it appears that you could care about someone other than yourself.” 
  • “It appears that you care about your family enough just to do this one thing.” 
  • “How could you forsake your family in this manner?” 
  • “You’ve seen what happens when you don’t listen to me in the past.”
  • “After all, you’ve never had to do anything in this place. It appears to be high time you do so.” 
  • “You know I would gladly give it to you if I had it.” 
  • “You have no clue what we went through for you.” 
  • “Perhaps you’ll be sad once I’m finally dead.”

Setting boundaries is an important aspect of maturing. We can’t truly love unless we establish boundaries; else, we’re just loving out of conformity or guilt. And we can’t be successful at work if we don’t have boundaries; else, we’ll be too preoccupied with others’ goals to think clearly.

Boundaries: When To Say Yes, When To Say No To Take Control of Your Life PDF Download

Boundaries PDF Download


This article looked at the guidelines regarding boundaries, from the Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How To Say No To Take Control of Your Life PDF book by Henry Cloud. 

What we recommend for Counselling

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression or any other mental disorders then ongoing professional counselling could be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

Frequently Asked Questions: Boundaries: When To Say Yes (A Review + PDF Download)

What is crossing the line in a relationship?

A line has been crossed when certain personal details are exchanged with someone on the other end of your phone or computer. Your privacy varies greatly from one individual to the next, and from one couple to the next. They could be self-portraits, flirting, or discussing the problems in your present relationship.

Why are boundaries important in a relationship?

Personal Boundaries are crucial because they establish the ground rules for how you wish to be treated. Boundaries are fundamental limits that people develop to determine how others can act in their presence. Setting limits can help you maintain mutually supportive, ethical, and caring relationships.

What are examples of boundary violations?

Non-consensual touching, name-calling, unwanted advice, seizing what is not given, and revealing personal information without consent are all clear boundary violations. In the heat of the moment, minor boundary violations are harder to detect.

How do you handle a boundary violation?

When it comes to dealing with boundary violations, remember to make “I statements.” This can help you practise constructive communication as you talk to your partner as to why the boundary was violated, how it impacted you, and in what ways you can work with each other to prevent it from happening again.

What are the boundaries of dating?

Here are some topics to talk about on your first date, ranging from communication to intimacy:
Give Your Personal Space Requirements
Explain Your Communication Patterns
Stay On The Same Page When It Comes To Upcoming Meetings
Be Transparent About Commitment And What You Really Want

What does a lack of boundaries mean?

If you don’t set appropriate boundaries, you’ll be at the mercy of people all of the time. Allowing others to dictate how to think, behave, and feel is what this entails. It also implies that you prefer to spend your time and effort doing what others want you to do rather than what you truly desire.



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