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Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't [Paperback]

Henry Cloud
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Oct 1996
Finding safe people provides the foundation for building healthy, lasting relationships. Here's how to identify safe people.

Frequently Bought Together

Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't + Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life: When to Say Yes, How to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life + Changes That Heal: How to Understand the Past to Ensure a Healthier Future
Price For All Three: 21.35

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (1 Oct 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310210844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310210849
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Too many of us have invested ourselves into relationships that left us deeply wounded. We've been abandoned or taken advantage of, and left with little to show for what we've given. We've lost our sense of security and personal value in the process. And what's worse, we tend to either repeat the same mistakes of judgment over and over . . . Or else lock the doors of our hearts entirely and throw away the key. Why do we choose the wrong people to get involved with? Is it possible to change? And if so, where does one begin? Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend offer solid guidance for making safe choices in relationships, from friendships to romance. They help identify the nurturing people we all need in our lives, as well as ones we need to learn to avoid. Safe People will help you to recognize 20 traits of relationally untrustworthy people. Discover what makes some people relationally safe, and how to avoid unhealthy entanglements. You'll learn about things within yourself that jeopardize your relational security. And you'll find out what to do and what not to do to develop a balanced, healthy approach to relationships.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Part One
Unsafe People
Chapter One
What Is an Unsafe Person?
In retrospect, I (John) can see all the reasons why Karen was an unsafe person. But while we were dating, I was caught up in the wonder and excitement of the relationship with her and missed a few things along the way. Even after the relationship ended so abruptly, I wondered for years how I could have been so wrong about thinking someone was so right .
Is This Your Life?
The lessons I learned in the romantic sphere can be learned from any relationship because we can be wrong about thinking someone is right in a variety of situations.
• Think about the relationship(s) that came to mind as you read about my relationship with Karen. Who has been a Karen in your life?
• A romantic interest
• A best friend
• A coworker
• A relative
• A church acquaintance
• Other:
• Have you had more than one Karen in your life?
• Have you blamed yourself when you’ve been hurt by the Karen(s) in your life? If so, for what did you blame yourself?
• How have you answered the question you’ve probably asked yourself—"What in the world am I doing wrong?"
Character Discernment
What are you doing wrong in relationships? The answer to that question probably lies in the fact that you are untrained in discerning the character of people. Without the proper maturity and skills, our God-given need for support and attachment to others (Gen. 2:18) can get us into real trouble.
When I (Henry) asked a group of college students, "What qualities do you look for in a potential date or mate?" they gave broad religious answers to my question—"I want someone spiritual, godly, ambitious, fun to be with," etc.—but people having trouble in a relationship don’t identify broad religious issues as the problem.
• What have you heard hurting friends complain about regarding their relationships?
• What have you said when you’ve talked about relationships you’ve been in that haven’t worked out?
When God talks about his problem relationships, he talks about people being "far away" (Matt. 15:8 NASB), "unfaithful" (Josh. 22:16 NASB), "proud" (Deut. 8:14; Ps. 36:2), "unloving" (1 John 4:20), or "judgmental" (Rom. 2:1). In short, God looks at character. We tend to look on the outside and not the inside of a person (1 Sam. 16:7; Matt. 23:25–28). So we choose people based on outward appearance, but then we experience the inside of them and come up empty-handed.
• In the past, what have you looked at when you’ve entered into a relationship with someone?
• Think of a specific time when the inside was radically and painfully different from the outside of the person with whom you were in relationship. List the positive outside qualities and the painful inside ones.
Who Are the Bad Guys?
In real life, the bad guys aren’t as easy to identify as those on Saturday morning cartoons. Unsafe people are particularly difficult to spot, but many unsafe people fall under three categories: the abandoners, the critics, and the irresponsibles.
Abandoners start a relationship but can’t finish it. Often, abandoners have been abandoned themselves. Sometimes, afraid of intimacy, they prefer shallow acquaintances. Others are looking for perfect friends, and they leave when the cracks start showing.
• Have you, like Ron, been drawn to abandoners? What reasons have been behind the abandonment—their own history of being abandoned, their fear of true closeness, and/or their search for perfect friends?
• Do you tend to be an abandoner? Which of the three reasons contribute to your abandoning behavior?
Critics take a parental role with everyone they know. More concerned with confronting errors than making connections, critics are judgmental, speak the truth without love, and have no room for grace or forgiveness.
• Have you, like Martha, been drawn to critics? What might be behind this uncanny attraction?
• Do you tend to be a critic? Why do you think you tend to point the finger away from rather than at yourself?
Irresponsibles don’t take care of themselves or others. They have problems with delaying gratification, they don’t consider the consequences of their actions, and they don’t follow through on their commitments. They’re like grown-up children. They can’t be depended on to do what they say .
• Do you have a Jeremy in your life or have you in the past? Are you continuing to be an enabler or have you dealt constructively with that Jeremy?
• Do you tend to be an irresponsible? Do you have a hard time on follow-through when, with good intentions, you say you’ll do something? Are you always in financial straits? Do you have a hard time considering, much less planning for, tomorrow? Do you struggle with delayed gratification? Where do you think you learned this behavior and why do you think you continue it?
Looking at these three types of unsafe people—abandoners, critics, and irresponsibles—may help you see your present support system (and yourself!) more realistically. In the following chapters, we’ll contrast more specific character traits of unsafe people with the godly character traits of safe people so that you’ll be able to look for danger signals in your relationships—and then learn to make wise decisions about how to handle the unsafe people in your life.
Prayer
Father God, I already see how I choose people based more on their outward appearance than on the kind of character traits you look for. That new perspective helps me understand why it can be such a painful surprise when I experience the inside of those people. I ask you to help me, as I work through this guide, to become more discerning of the inside. Even now, Lord, help me see where I am in relationship with an abandoner, a critic, or an irresponsible. Show me, too, God, where I am the abandoner, critic, or irresponsible in a relationship. And then show me what to do in both situations. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
AS A COLLEGE student, I (John) dated around a bit, but I enjoyed casual friendships more. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reader from Scotland 21 Jun 2006
Format:Paperback
This book is a real gem. The author shows you what healthy interaction should look like and how to confront or change your relationships with those who are not emotionally healthy, or accept that they are not able/willing to change at this point in time and avoid them....guilt free.

As a christian I really appreciated the practical help combined with biblical knowledge and it busts some of the wrong thinking and wrong teaching that we often have e.g. turn the other cheek = act like a doormat!
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and inspiring! 9 Aug 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a lovely little book, enjoyable and easy to read. It helps reconcile the Christian teachings with modern life, explaining some "simple" truths about life and relating to others in a helpful manner. Great reminder of the need to cherish our spiritual and emotional needs in times of trouble. I find it truly inspiring in the process of personal growth and fulfilment. The summaries at the end of each chapter make it easy to revisit and consult when in doubt... Highly recommended!
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book on Relationships 25 Nov 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I work as a lay counselor at our church. This book is wonderfully written and will be a tremendous resource for our library. I am so grateful to Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend for the taking the time to write such helpful information. Their book Boundries has already become very popular and I am sure this one will as well. Practical, real and honest, they deal with matters of the heart that often trip so many of us up. It's scriptural, loving and holds up a mirror so we can see ourselves. A very useful thing indeed!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking into a mirror! 23 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback
This little book has been priceless in letting me 'see' some of the flaws and shortcomings there have been in my own life over the years. Personal flaws that have caused immense hurt, pain, sorrow and loss to myself and others. Reading it has been like looking into a mirror. Most importantly, reading it has given me great hope and encouragement that self-destructive patterns CAN change; my heart melt, and a new beginning emerge in the develoment of vital safe relationships. I would strongly reccommend this book to those who seek safe relationships and to those who wish to be 'Safe People' for others. 'Safe People' - a wonderful little book; a tremendous blessing! Thank you so much Dr's H.Cloud & J.Townsend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide to recognise unsafe people 7 Aug 2010
By M
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am glad I found this book!!The language, descriptions are very clear, concise and afer initial reading I easily recognised patterns of some unsafe or truly toxic people around me.The book helped me to recognised some of these patterns in myself ,and what to do in order to get rid of them and lead more healthy, assertive life .Very helpful, insightful , positive book.!I bought additionally some books on codependency as it complements this book perfectly, Many of toxic or unsafe people come from unloving,destructive families ,and are themselves the victims of toxic parenting like myself. This book is full a good advice, solutions. It simply is A LITTLE GEM!!!It gave me a lot of confidence I lacked when dealing with toxic people.But most importantly I got finally rid of an awful feeling of guilt eating my heart away each time I tried to limit or avoid toxic people.
As a Christian , I know now that it is ok to avoid , limit or cut off completely some unhealthy people fom my life and still be ok with it.
I highly recommend this book. : )
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SHOULD BE REQUIRED READING BY THE 18 YEAR OF AGE 16 May 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is written so well, so clear, and so boldly that one leaves it having gained a new confidence in choosing healthy relationships. These authors are straight forward and to the point, and write with no room for "sissyness". For example, they clearly point out the things you may be doing to contribute to the "drooping" state of your relationships. (Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this review. A workbook for the paperback edition is also available.) I regret that the rating only goes up to ten, as this book DESERVES a 20 out of ten. If you are an adult or almost an adult, then you are required to (I can't REALLY order you to but I wish I could) read this. This book is THAT GOOD and it's message THAT IMPORTANT! Order it yesterday!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - does what it says on the tin! 23 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback
These guys are gifted Christian psychologists who write in a very accessible way for those of us without psychology degrees! This book is excellent and good to read as a follow-on to "Boundaries" by the same authors.
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