Wednesday, December 19, 2007

safe people and boundaries

I’m finally figuring out how important it is to have ‘safe’ people around you. I’ve read these books over the last year.

Safe People by Dr.Henry Cloud. Here’s some from it:

The safe person doesn’t make you feel like either a child or a parent. He takes ownership of his life, talents and values. He wants to seek righteousness on his own, but with your consultation, not your approval. And he wants you to flourish in your life without needing his approval, even if you disagree.

You know you’re around a safe, adult person by the following characteristics:
She is not threatened by your differences.
She has standards, values and convictions she’s worked out for herself.
At the same time she doesn’t have a “right way” and a “wrong way” for everything.
She functions on at least the same level of maturity as her peers.
She appreciates mystery and the unknown.
She encourages me to develop my own values.


Here are some traits to look for in your relationships:
Are they living up to their commitments to me?
Are they here for me only when I’m here?
Do they tell me no when they don’t have time (as opposed to saying yes out of feeling pressured?)
Do they make promises they can’t keep?
Do others warn me about their pattern of relating?



Here’s a bit from this one, Boundaries and Relationships by Charles Whitfield:

The first principle is that the people from whom we may obtain assistance and feedback should be safe. We should be able to trust them to be real with us and have most of the characteristics of safe people. Safe people tend to listen to you and hear you. They accept the real you and validate your experiences and other material that you may tell them about your inner life. They are clear and honest with you and nonjudgmental of you. Their boundaries are also appropriate and clear. They tend to be direct with you and not triangle others into conflicts that may develop between the two of you. Finally, they are supportive and loyal, and the relationship with them feels authentic.

By contrast, unsafe people may not really listen to you or hear what you are actually saying, although they may pretend to do so. … They often reject or invalidate the real you and your inner life experience. They may be judgmental or false with you. They are often unclear in their communications. Their boundaries are often blurred and they may send you mixed messages. They may be indirect with you, often triangling in others when they are in conflict with you. Rather than being supportive, they may be competitive or even betray you. Overall, the relationship just feels contrived.

Not all of these characteristics are absolute…however, over time, these characteristics and others may be helpful in differentiating who is safe and unsafe.


Here are questions that this book deals with, Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud

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?

Why do I feel guilty or afraid when setting boundaries?

Aren’t boundaries selfish?


Anyway, this stuff is encouraging. I want to be a safe person and gravitate towards others who are. If everyone had better boundaries the world would be a better place, like Tommy Wiseau says.

3 comments:

Simone said...

That all makes a lot of sense. That's kinda how I've been trying to figure out my relationships (avoiding unsafe people or at least keeping them at a distance or expecting little) but it was very helpful to have it clearly outlined like that.

Ryan Seacrest: Stephanie....you are....SAFE!

stephy said...

HA HA HA I...am...SAFE! What a relief! I can go join the others!

Steve said...

"Safe" people read this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Gift-Fear-Gavin-Becker/dp/0440226198