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Book Summary: Good Boundaries and Goodbyes by Lysa Terkeurst

by | Feb 18, 2023

Good Boundaries and Goodbyes by Lysa Terkeurst is a book I often recommend to others.  These are my personal notes from the book.  These are not all direct quotes, but also paraphrases and added commentary from me.  A * designates a note-worthy point.  As always, reading the book for yourself is suggested. 

  • Intro

When we dare to be very known, we risk being very hurt.

We can’t enable bad behavior in ourselves and others, and call it love. We can’t tolerate destructive patterns and call it love. We can’t pride ourselves on being loyal and long-suffering in our relationships when it’s really perpetuating violations of what God says love is. 

Without consultation and wise advice, plans are frustrated. But with many counselors, they are established and succeed. 

Proverbs 15:22  Plans go wrong for lack of advice, many advisers bring success. 

Setting boundaries from a place of anger or bitterness will only lead to control and manipulation. 

When we are hurt, good boundaries and goodbyes help us to not get stuck in a perpetual state of living hurt. 

Love should be what draws us together, not with tears us apart. 

When you are in a relationship where there’s been chaos, confusion and hurt, reacting in extremes can add even more pain. 

Some people take on all the blame and minimize the actions of the other person. 

The opposite extreme is to place soul blame on the other person without checking your own heart.  

Questions to consider: 

Have I set unrealistic expectations? 

Am I too easily offended? 

Have I considered my own shortcomings relative to this relationship? 

Have I sought wisdom from a godly advisor or counselor?

Prayer:  God I ask that you guide me and help me to walk in your ways not mine. Show me how to approach my closest relationships with both compassion and a healthy commitment to reality so I am in alignment with you. 

  • 1 you’re not crazy (but you can’t change them)

* You cannot build trust that keeps getting broken. 

Without trust, love will die. 

We must not confuse the good commands to love and forgive, with the bad realities of enabling and covering up things that are not honoring to God. 

Health cannot bond with unhealth. 

It’s hard to own what you don’t choose. 

You don’t have to be the one to pull the pin to be deeply devastated by the resulting shrapnel. 

You can’t reason with a person caught in the addiction cycle anymore than you can try to talk a live grenade out of exploding.

if they don’t want things to change, you cannot change them. 

Jeremiah 5:22 (God created boundaries between the sea and shore)  I the Lord define the oceans sandy shoreline as an everlasting boundary that the waters cannot cross. The waves may toss and roar but they can never pass the boundaries I set.

* Tend to what you can change. 

Where there is an abundance of chaos, there is usually a lack of good boundaries. 

Consider having compassion for whatever caused the original route of shame and  chaos in their heart that then drove them to try to act and react in such unhealthy ways. Have compassion because I don’t have life so figured out that I never act and react in unhealthy ways. 

there are two types of triggers: internal and external. A trigger is a stimulation caused either by an internal thought or an external action from someone else. 

A trigger makes you anxious because it sets off an alarm making you feel something isn’t right or safe. 

The main issue is the unhealed trauma still inside you. Tell yourself that you are not in immediate danger. You can let the feeling inform you, but you don’t have to spiral into panic. 

Boundaries aren’t just a good idea, they are a God idea.

Questions to consider: 

In what ways have you believed it was unchristian to require others to treat you in healthy ways? 

Prayer: you remind me that I am seen and loved. I am not walking alone.

  • 2 Naming the tension

Love can be unconditional, but relational access never should be.

Unchecked misuse of a relationship can quickly turn into abuse in a relationship. 

Like God, we must require from people the responsibility necessary to grant the amount of access we allow them to have in our lives. 

* People who are irresponsible with our hearts should not be granted great access to our hearts. 

If someone perpetually acts out, that person has abandoned the relationship. 

Proverbs 4:23  Guard your heart for it determines the course of your life. 

Romans 1:28 – 32.   God left them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired.  They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.  They know better but do it anyway.  Worse yet, they encourage others to them too. God left them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 

Questions to consider: 

What would it look like if you were to require the level of responsibility from others that matches the amount of access you’ve given them? 


I trust you to lead me with clarity in the right direction. 

  • 3 What the problems represent

* Relationships often die not because of conversations that were had but rather conversations that were needed, but never had.

we should be concerned when someone lives as if dysfunctions are normal.

* Being aware of our dysfunctions doesn’t fix them. We must also be willing to address them. 

A distorted reality will feed dysfunction.

What you need from your closest people:





And a team approach

It’s not wise to refuse to apply responsibility and reason to your relationships. 

* Good relationships require good boundaries. 

Address a person who is wise, but isn’t being wise in a relationship. Why are they not applying Good judgment? 

We don’t throw reason out of our relationships.

*  Good boundaries require appropriate consequences. 

Take an honest look at your current dysfunctions . Proverbs 20:5 the purposes of a persons heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. 

Questions to consider: 

Where am I out of alignment with what I want to be true about my life and what is actually true? 

Where in my life am I out of alignment with my personal values?  

What are some good boundaries you already have in place? 

Do you react as if something is normal when it is absolutely not?


God, help me, not avoid, or become numb to the dysfunction that may be present and some of my relationships. 

  • 4 God takes boundary violations seriously

Sometimes boundaries work and other times they don’t.

Reflect on these reasons why boundaries don’t always work: 

You don’t always know what you need. 

You accidentally reward people for disrespecting your boundaries. 

You hint around at setting a boundary. 

You believe someone’s pushback is an indication that you’re doing something wrong.

You allow yourself to get pulled into debates about the boundary. 

You can’t find the strength to stand firm with people.

You reframe reality and convince yourself that the person has changed when they haven’t.

Your emotional wiring plays into your resistance to keep boundaries.

You will become frustrated by your own ability to respect yourself. 

* When we allow a boundary to be violated, that behavior will be validated.

* The absence of boundaries means the presence of Chaos. 

Genesis 2:

God gave Adam and Eve the one boundary of not eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

boundaries define and protect freedom. 

God was trying to protect Adam and eves freedom. 

God gave a consequence to boundary violations. 

Access requires responsibility. 

Adam and Eve had a great responsibility that came along with the access. They were to guard and protect the garden. 

we are to guard and protect our hearts and our minds to make sure we keep good in an evil out. 

Broken boundaries bring consequences. 

Adam and Eve were not responsible with their access so their access was dramatically affected. 

They weren’t responsible with their freedom so their freedom was affected.

They weren’t responsible with the one rule God gave them, and that made more rules necessary.  

throughout Genesis and the old testament, we can find hundreds of boundaries that God put in place for us. 

He loves us unconditionally and he will not tolerate our sin.

God has grace but his grace was there to lead people to better behavior not to enable bad behavior.  

consequences should be for protection not harm. 

There were good and necessary reasons for boundaries. 

God put angels at the entry of the garden to prevent Adam and eve from returning. 

But not having access back into the garden was to protect them. 

the consequence should serve to protect you and the relationship not to do more harm. 

God never abandoned them.

We do want to remember why we need the boundary so we will keep the boundary and it’s protection in place. 

* Healthy changes in someone can’t be measured just by the words they speak. There must be evidence of :

changed thoughts, 

changed habits, 

changed behaviors, 

changed reactions, 

and changed patterns. 

Changing an outside behavior without changing the internal issue that’s driving The behavior is like painting a house that has a crumbling foundation. It’s dangerous. 

Changed behaviors are good unless they are a temporary performance with a relapse waiting to happen in the wings. 

Proverbs 31:30 charm is deceptive. A woman who fears the Lord (worships, obeys, serves, and trust Him with awe-filled respect) shall be praised. 

It’s so easy to be charmed into dropping a boundary. 

Things are better is not the same as things are healed. 

If issues are ongoing and continuously harmful, we must acknowledge that and act accordingly. 

Proverbs 13:12 unrelenting disappointment can leave you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.  

Jesus didn’t enable people. Jesus didn’t beg people. Jesus didn’t accept excuses for sin or let people off the hook because they were mostly good. Jesus had compassion for all people and offered salvation to all people. those who reject his gift and refuse to acknowledge him as their savior will not enter into heaven. 

Access requires responsibility. 

Refusal of that responsibility requires a consequence. 

Boundaries aren’t going to fix the other person. But they are going to help you stay fixed on what is good, acceptable, and what you need to stay healthy and safe. 

Good boundaries are about focusing on what you do.

When creating boundaries, consider: 

your motivation, 

your mindset, 

your approach, 

your outcome

For example: (good boundary) 

your motivation— self control 

your mindset — I am responsible for my actions.

your approach— I will focus on what I can control.

your outcome — I accept that I am powerless to control other people.

For example: (bad boundary) 

your motivation—  control or punish someone 

your mindset — I want them to do something different. I should help them manage their behavior.

your approach— hyper focus on the other person.

your outcome — frustrating cycle of you trying to manage the unmanageable and someone else.

Practice scenarios where you consider what a bad boundary would be versus a good one.

Predetermine what your response will be when someone violates your boundaries.

  • 5 You’re already doing this well

Sometimes good things become wrong things if used in wrong ways.

Put boundaries in place because they’re wise not because you’re mean, rude, uncaring, unchristian, selfish, or insensitive. You are being responsible. 

* You need to walk in reality instead of wishful thinking. 

When people aren’t respectful of your limits, you can set boundaries or you can pay the consequences.

we have emotional limitations. We’re human. 

when we allow our emotions to be misused and abused, there will be consequences. 

Bad boundaries or unheld boundaries can create physical consequences. 

Emotional situations can hurt more than just your feelings. 

Start naming what’s really going on.

Our boundaries fail When we:

just keep taking it, overlook it, navigate around it, make excuses for it, reframe it, numb out, pray about it, fuss about it, cry it out, ignore it, blame it, shame it, drop 1 million hints about it. 

* Consider these questions:

When you talk to others about your relationship, do you find yourself exaggerating the small good things and suppressing the bad things?

Are you experiencing abuse but afraid to call it that?

Do you ever think the other person is lying But when you ask them questions they get defensive or angry? Do they make you feel like the crazy one?

Do you fear they will hijack your peace and send you spiraling emotionally?

Are you in love with their potential instead of who they are right now?

In conflict, do you often have to take responsibility for everything while they resist taking responsibility?

Do you question your worth or sanity after you spend time with this person?

Are you constantly walking on eggshells around them or fear that they will hold something against you?

Do you feel unable to share exciting successes for fear of them not celebrating you?

Do you spend more time trying to save the relationship than enjoying it?

Do you fear their choices?

Are they resistant to change even though they know it’s hurting you?

Are you suffering more than they are because of what they do?

What do the Wise people in your life think about this relationship?

Are you willing to listen to those people or do you provide excuses about why they are wrong?

Are you proud to be with this person? Are they respectful and proud to be with you?

Does the level of love you experience from this person seem to rise and fall based on what you do and don’t do for them?

Book: when to walk away by Gary Thomas

* The person who continues to break your heart isn’t in a place to properly care for your heart. 

Our bodies are created to react to alarming situations. (Flooding) 

Anxiety is compelling us to do some thing about whoever’s actions are making us feel that something isn’t right. 

Philippians 4:6 

Talking to God, choosing your thoughts, and practicing gratitude will bring you peace. We sometimes need others to help us process and navigate the hardships we are facing. The feeling of anxiety is an alarm bell alerting us to pause and consider. We do not have to overreact. 

* Let anxiety be an alarm/an indicator and not a constant state of being or dictator. (Living outside our window of tolerance)  (Read the book Unglued by the same author for more great info on this!)

You don’t have to over explain or even have a big sit down conversation about boundaries. 

Establish some ground rules so you each know how to be responsible and caring toward the other. 

Use the healthy conversations contract. 

Five factors to help you set good boundaries:

1- A boundary isn’t to take control of the other persons actions. 

Shift your focus to what you can control. Your environment, what you are or are not willing to tolerate, what you do or do not have to give. 

Your boundary should help set the stage so your emotions can stay more regulated, you can maintain a sense of safety, and you can feel empowered to make necessary changes.

2- Grace has a place in this conversation. 

See what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t say it mean. 

Get curious, not furious. 

You don’t need to over explain or debate your need for a boundary. 

Pre-decide what you will say. 

Proverbs 15:1 

Colossians 4:6 

we want conflict resolution instead of conflict escalation.

3- Boundaries help you fight for the relationship. 

Simmering in frustration or trying to get the other person to change is way more damaging than having a boundaries conversation. 

It’s a much bigger risk to delay or refuse to have needed conversations.

4- A boundary without a real consequence will never be taken seriously.

A boundary presented as a hopeful wish is nothing but a weak suggestion. 

A boundary presented as a threat will only do more damage. 

Think through consequences ahead of time. 

Avoid using the words always and never. 

Remember that you are establishing a boundary in support of the relationship not against it. 

The consequence should be a statement not a question. 

The consequence can be discussed, but it does not need to be justified or explained. 

You are informing them not debating the validity of your need. 

* It’s often people who need boundaries the most who will respect them the least. 

Play out how this boundary will benefit you. You are taking responsibility to keep your sanity, safety and serenity and check. We are responsible for our actions and I will read reactions.  

Dysregulation is when an external trigger causes you to go into your limbic system ( flooding ). 

When you feel triggered: 

call a time out 

move your body 

drink water 

wait 30 minutes 

be gracious with yourself 

take responsibility for your actions 

Have peace with this whole process. 

Do not get pulled into over communicating or justifying or explaining yourselves ad nauseam. 

* We can prepare in times of security so we’re strong in times of insecurity. 

We can set boundaries or we can pay consequences.

  • 6 They may never see your boundaries as a good thing

Stop trying to manage the anxiety and instead investigate the source. Where is your anxiety coming from? 

The other person may be comfortable in the dysfunction but it is OK for you to no longer be comfortable. 

Your healing will bring out the emotional immaturity of those around you not willing to pursue help for themselves. 

* What people don’t work out, they act out. 

You cannot force people to do what they are not willing to do. 

Grieve someone’s refusal to keep growing, but don’t beg them to see your boundaries as a good thing. They may never feel that way. 

People have to do the work for themselves.  

The tension exists because you are doing the difficult work of no longer cooperating with dysfunction. 

* Health cannot bond with unhealth. 

Emotional immaturity is a tendency to express emotions without restraint or disproportionately to the situation. 

We can all revert to the age We were when a childhood trauma happened and remains unhealed. 

Mature people can disagree, but still respect the sanity of the other person. Mature people are willing to see the impact Their actions are having on the other person and make reasonable adjustments. 

mature people can communicate without accusing, abusing or losing it.

A person can be extremely intelligent and successful and quote Bible verses but lack emotional maturity. 

We don’t want to grow hard, angry, or develop an attitude of superiority when setting boundaries. Stay humble and surrendered.  

* What you see in glimpses should be what you see the majority of the time. 

If you find yourself so grateful for the smallest common courtesy, you are hanging your hope on nothing but air.

* How to tell if you might be in a dysfunctional dance with someone who is emotionally immature:

They resist needed conversations or turn them against you. 

They go back to unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

They lack self-awareness. 

They have an out of proportion reaction. 

They don’t recognize their facial expressions, tone of voice, or timing in bringing up things. 

They tend not to own any of their parts of a conflict. 

They lack empathy. 

They are unwilling to honor or respect boundaries. 

They don’t take responsibility for themselves. 

They expect you to pick up the pieces. 

They refuse to acknowledge unhealed issues that need to be worked on. 

They rewrite history to prove a point that serves them or their version of the truth. 

Their version of reality is not consistent with facts. 

Their version of the truth is what protects them and they can’t discern what is and is not deception. 

They let their emotions get the best of them  And sabotage moments.

They sweep things under the rug and hope they’re not caught. 

If we are progressing toward emotional maturity, then we are not staying stuck in immaturity. 

Be aware of what we need to be aware of inside ourselves and in our relationships with others. 

1 Peter 5:8 be sober minded and alert/watchful. 

Sober minded which means clearheaded and attentive to what’s going on or maintaining control over yourself. 

Alert means awake, watchful, not to be a sleep, distracted, numbed out or anything else that would stop us from being alert and aware. 

Both words, sober and alert, worn of losing control. 

Play an active role in your life as you fight the enemy and his various tactics to lure you into a loss of self-control.  

Healthy equilibrium in a relationship is possible only when both people are equally committed to these things: healthy habits, self-awareness, and  empathy for the feelings of the other person 

Having your life turned upside down is brutally devastating, but you can help shake loose some emotionally unhealthy issues that need tending.

Psalm 121:1-2 my help comes from God

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 be on guard, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong, and do everything in love.

Boundary pushback:

people will make their issues your issues if you let them. 

Blame is an attempt to medicate unhealed pain. 

A manipulative person has never met a boundary that they liked. 

A manipulative person will do anything to resist feeling controlled. 

The boundary you see as a protection to keep the relationship healthy, they will see as a personal rejection.

An unhealthy person will see your boundary as offensive, and will try to manipulate you into feeling guilty so that you drop your boundary.


This journey to health and wholeness isn’t hopeless. Help me make healthy changes.

  • 7 Just because they say it doesn’t mean you have to own it

Being desperate for others to validate you is not healthy. 

Peoples opinions do not define who you are. 

Don’t be desperate to try and control peoples perception of you. Or how they feel about you. 

If you do, you will spend your life managing opinions so that you can feel good about yourself. (Others based self-esteem) 

being too concerned with gaining the approval of others can give you a divided heart with God 

Galatians 1:10 

Colossians 1:10 – 11 

Would you rather suffer through the other persons boundary violations than deal with them judging you wrongly? 

You need to be prepared to know what to do. 

Have any of these statements contributed to you giving up on setting boundaries with certain people: 

it’s not that big of a deal. 

You’re being dramatic. 

You’re being too sensitive. 

That’s not the Christian way.

I thought Christians were supposed to be forgiving. 

You’ve changed. 

I’m so disappointed in you. 

You’re so selfish. 

How can you be so mean after all I’ve done for you? 

But you’re my _____. 

These statements are triggering, because they are offensive, threatening and disillusioning. 

When someone else makes us question our need for the boundary, we can second-guess reality, our sanity, our rationality, and even the severity of what’s really going on. 

We can easily start to wonder if the real problem is us rather than considering the source, and why we are in this hard dynamic in the first place. 

If we want to stay healthy, we have to use our limited energy in the right way.

We could waste years trying to change the other person’s mind or prove the boundary is needed or continue to live in the dysfunction. 

Philippians 1:9-10

* We only associate love as a feeling, but we have to remember that biblical love is an intentional action where we want what’s best for us and the other person. 

Healthy people are mature people. They seek to understand your concerns, discuss any issues that they need for the boundary reveals, and respect your limits. 

* Healthy people who desire healthy relationships don’t have an issue with other peoples healthy boundaries.

We won’t get healthy results from unhealthy relationships.

Posing a boundary as a question, opens us up to being questioned, debated, and disrespected. 

If a boundary is presented with doubt, it won’t be effectively carried out. 

* Where do we get the idea that we aren’t allowed to say no, have limitations, or be unwilling to tolerate other peoples bad behavior? It’s because: we aren’t sure who we really are, we aren’t sure what we really need, and we aren’t sure that if others walked away from us would be OK. 

It’s freeing to state for yourself who you really are rather than trying to defend yourself against the judgment of others. 

boundaries help you stay true to who you really are. It’s your responsibility not to let other peoples actions and expectations wear you down to the worst version of yourself.

There is more to you than just being the sum total of what happened to you. 

* If you don’t know who you are, you will constantly be manipulated into who others want you to be or become enmeshed in the needs of other people.

When God is the source of your identity, you are much less prone to others feeding your insecurity. 


God, thank you for being such a safe place for me to return to when I’m struggling with my identity. When I’m tempted to look to others for validation and acceptance, please remind me to look up at you. Thank you for the grace and patience you have towards me as I grow and learn on this journey.

  • 8 Trying to make someone else happy

Defining what is and is not acceptable is important.

Wanting to keep the peace so that you don’t have to deal with It may be easier in the short term, but not in the long term. It will cause simmering resentments that will destroy your peace.

If people are constantly annoying us, frustrating us, exhausting us, or running all over us, chances are we either don’t have the right kind of people in our life or we don’t have the right kind of boundaries.

Don’t let someone’s commentary rattle your identity.

* Good boundaries bring relief to the grief of letting other people’s opinions, issues, desires, and agendas run our life.

Boundaries help you manage your hurt without constantly losing your temper or getting filled with bitter resentment.

Don’t drop your boundary just because someone blames you. 

At the core of what is tearing apart marriages isn’t the need for boundaries, but rather the inappropriate and unbiblical choices someone is making. 

Galatians 5:19 

wives want nothing more than to be fully chosen, purely loved, and honorably protected. 

betrayals, half truths, promises and secrets hurt. 

* Fear of what we may lose is what makes us feel scared to draw boundaries and use our voice to say ‘no more’.

You aren’t being unkind for drawing boundaries, you are being wise. 

Someone else feeling disappointed doesn’t make us a disappointment. 

1 Peter 2:23 

other people don’t get the final say about who we are. God does. 

* Place a boundary around your identity, protecting it, and guarding it, using Gods truth to inform and stabilize what you know, what you feel, and what you do. 

we can control and be responsible for ourselves. 

We cannot control what others believe, feel, or do. 

* Stay whole by keeping what you know, what you feel, and what you do in alignment with Gods truth about who you are.

James 3:17-18

Colossians 3:2, 12-16

Ecclesiastes 3:4

Romans 12:14-15

Micah 6:8

James 1:22

boundaries remind us of the right definition of healthy. 

The goal of someone else being happy shouldn’t be your definition of healthy. 

Boundaries protect us from fractured people fracturing us. 

2 Corinthians 10:5 take every thought captive.

You can’t let other peoples fractured thinking affect you to the point where you get your thinking out of alignment with God‘s truth. (Same with feelings and actions)

when any part of you gets out of alignment with gods truth, you betray the best of who you are.

*  You’ve got to know who you are, so you don’t lose yourself in the fractured realities of others. 

* We can’t live our lives to satisfy the unrealistic demands of other people. 

Enforcing boundaries:

there’s a difference between trying a boundary and enforcing a boundary. 

Feel prepared before you talk. 

Get as specific as possible. 

Get a plan that includes boundaries, consequences, and accountability. 

Develop a protocol for what to do if the boundaries and plan are violated.

Get professional support.


No one other than you God defines me. This is comforting for my heart. Who I am is held completely in the protection of what you have done for me. Help me to make choices that stay in line with your truth. Thank you for making a way for me to live the healthiest life I possibly can.

  • 9 What am I so afraid of

All people have limits, no one is limitless. 

* No trauma is healed in a healthy way by developing unhealthy ways of coping.

Take note of the needs that you often bring into relationships:

to be validated 

to be in control 

to be right

to be perfect 

to be good 

to be appreciated

to be valued

to be chosen 

to be beautiful 

to be understood 

to be at peace 

to be right

to be in charge 

to be loved 

to be protected 

to be unique 

to be respected

to be nice 

to be supported 

to be admired 

to be the expert 

to be the model Christian 

to be the hero 

to be the center of attention 

to be needed 

to be accepted 

to be the responsible one

Now do some personal reflection and honest assessment.

Our needs become one of our primary motivations and lifelines to feeling settled and secure. 

The less we get what we feel we need from someone, the more we’re tempted to react in extremes.

It’s important not to demand that our needs are another person’s responsibility. 

  Are you unsure God will provide for you? Are people the answer to your security rather than God himself?  Security from others only makes you more insecure with every realization that people aren’t designed or capable of filling in the gaps of our doubts about God. 

Are you wanting from others what you should be seeking from God? 

What are you afraid of? Dread?

God has a limitless supply, only he can meet all our needs. 

Philippians 4:19

Romans 8:26 – 27 

Jeremiah 32:27 

Jesus didn’t people please, hoping to be well liked and accepted by everyone. He didn’t drop his boundaries, chase people down, or beg people to take him back. Jesus loved people enough to give them a choice to walk away. 

all throughout scripture, God always gave his people an option to follow him or follow their own way of thinking. 

Jesus served from a place of fullness not for a feeling of fullness.

Psalm 81:11 – 12

I need to be _____ . But I now recognize that sacrificing my boundaries to get _____ is the wrong way to get my needs met.

What do you fear the most in setting a boundary? Play this all the way out step-by-step.

If you don’t draw a boundary, what negative effects will this have on you? 

What negative effects will this have on the relationship? 

If nothing changes, is this relationship sustainable, long-term?

If we aren’t convinced of how much a boundary will help us, we will be too afraid of what the boundary will cost us.

Loving relationships don’t feel cruel. 

Secure relationships don’t feel as if everything could implode if you dared to draw boundary. 

* Just like the sun, our relationship should be close enough to comfort us, but not so close that it completely consumes us. 

Unhealthy ways of coping:

binging screens, 

alcohol and drugs,

rage and retaliation, 

sarcasm and cynicism, 

compulsive spending,

emotional eating,

excessive use of social media, 

porn or infidelity

Healthy ways of coping:

intentional self-care— taking a walk, reading a book, getting sleep, 

dinner with trusted friends,

finding a new hobby,

participating in regular therapy sessions, 

educating yourself on healthy topics related to your healing,


memorizing scripture 


God, thank you for Always being there for me. you never get tired or weary of me coming to you for help.  I Ask for your peace to guard my heart and mind through these difficult decisions and conversations.

  • 10 Can a goodbye ever really be good

* It is possible to end a relationship, be honest about what wasn’t healthy, and still celebrate what was good.

Some goodbyes are for a season and some are for forever. 

It’s possible to acknowledge hurt without unleashing hurt. 

  • 11 I’m not walking away, I’m accepting reality

When nothing makes sense, it’s easy to lose all sense of reality. 

Emotional devastation isn’t just a set of facts. The greater blow to your well-being is the impact All of it has on you, how you feel, how you function, and how you think. 

We can’t just consider the facts, we must consider the impact as well.

Trauma isn’t just some thing that happens to you, it happens in you. 

Say: I’m not giving up, I’m not walking away, I’m choosing to finally accept reality. 

Mental health is a commitment to reality at all costs. 

* Whatever reality is telling you, and, however, the Lord is leading you, move toward that.

When people close to us are acting out of control, that’s when we run the greatest risk of lacking self control. 

* When a relationship shifts from being difficult to being destructive, it is the right time to consider a goodbye. 

Book: the emotionally destructive marriage by Leslie Vernick.

emotionally destructive relationship: pervasive and repetitive patterns of actions and attitudes that result in tearing someone down or inhibiting a persons growth,  often accompanied by a lack of awareness, lack of remorse and lack of change.

God didn’t just make them leave the garden, he made sure to put up guards so they couldn’t ever return. God and the garden are holy. If they had access to the garden again, they would’ve eaten the fruit of the tree of life and they would have been forever stuck in a state of their sins depravity and separation from God himself. 

God let Adam and Eve face the consequences of their own choices. It was necessary to end their access to the garden.

Colossians 3:1-5 

We need the awareness that there is a difference between an occasional slip in behavior and an ongoing pattern of behavior. 

Processing a possible goodbye isn’t permission to piece out or tap out. It’s a pathway toward grieving and excepting one of the toughest realities we will ever face, and unsustainable relationship.

Romans 12:18 if possible, which imply sometimes it is not possible. If possible, live at peace with everyone. 

* When those who inflict harm aren’t horrified by it enough to get help so they don’t do it again, they most likely will do it again.

if we want recovery and healing, we would be wise to take a break or possibly make a clean break from the one wounding us.

When saying goodbye:

we can do it without hate or anger. Ephesians 4:26

We can do it for a season or for a lifetime. Ecclesiastes 3:6

We can have compassion on their pain. Psalm 112: 4

we can and should work to forgive them. Ephesians 4:32 

we can get rid of bitterness toward them. Hebrews 12:15 

we can keep praying for them. Matthew 5:44 

we can move on from them. 2 Timothy 3:2 – 5

A decision to say goodbye should not be made in a rush without wise counsel and much prayer. 

Hebrews 12:14 – 15

the longer  a destructive relationship stays in turmoil and unhealth, the greater the risk will be for bitterness to creep in. 

Titus 3:10 – 11

Romans 6:17

there’s a big difference between waiting for a breaking point, and establishing a breaking point. 

If we set boundaries with consequences, breaking points are established ahead of time. 

It’s important to prepare in times of security for times of insecurity.

What am I willing to live with? 

What is and is not acceptable behavior? 

What are my deal breakers that would pull me from a place of health and into unhealth?


God, sometimes it’s really hard to accept things in front of me that I cannot change. You are the only one who can bring real change in my life. I pray that you will give me holy discernment and wisdom as I make any decisions needed. 

  • 12 Funerals

The grief I’d spent years avoiding actually helped me to move forward. 

When I let grief in , what had felt numb for so long, came alive in waves of honesty. 

Grief made me face my disappointment. 

The real problem was I had refused to see them as they really were. 

I had to let go of that picture in my mind I’ve clung to, and cried over, stared at and sulked over. 

When I finally let in everything, it got a little clearer and I finally knew what I had to do. 

* There isn’t a formula to calculate where a relationship will go next. 


Acknowledge what isn’t.

Say allowed how you feel. 

Cry out to God, he can handle your raw emotions. 

Give yourself permission to cry.

Let go of the person you wanted them to be. 

Acknowledge the person as they really are.

Allow yourself some time to feel sad and experience grief. 

Choose to let go of bitter negative emotions. 

Let this person be responsible for their life just as you are responsible for yours. 

Choose to receive positive hopeful emotions. 

Commit to setting and maintaining good boundaries for yourself. 

Have another funeral if you need.

We all cause grief, we all carry grief. But the good news is, we don’t have to be consumed by our grief. 

Don’t go back to pretending and living in denial. 

Isaiah 43:18 – 19 

as we better grieve the sorrows, we will soon receive our tomorrows with a little more healing and a lot more life.

The grieving process:

Helps you get closure. 

Allows you to release what was real what wasn’t real and what will never be the same again. 

Creates a space to feel the loss. 

Allows you to finally let go of the person you thought they were and to consider who you were with that person. 

Helps you to get to a better place before new layers and waves of grief come. 

Helps ensure you begin to heal because what you don’t work out, you will act out.

Unhealed grief will spill, or sometimes even spew onto other people, like our kids, family members, and friends, and can even contribute to Long Term mental health issues. 

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 so we fix our eyes not on what you’re saying, but on what is unseen since what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.


God, please comfort my heart through all the grief I’m feeling. On the other side of hurting and healing, I pray for supernatural joy. I know you have good things in store for my life and my relationships. When my circumstances are uncertain and unpredictable, I will declare my absolute trust in you above at all.

  • Conclusion

People are complicated. Relationships are going to be complicated. 

The worst part of dysfunction in relationships is the feeling of hopelessness and powerlessness that too many of us have been swirling in for years. 

Knowing what to do with challenging relationships is the greatest gift to discover. 

When set appropriately and kept consistently, boundaries really do serve to help keep us safe and our relationships healthy. 

* What hurts us will not be our full story. 

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About Kristi | View Profile

Kristi Schwegman is a psychotherapist specializing in helping couples develop healthy relationships, whether dating, engaged, or married. She also draws from her Christian-based approach to lead individuals in becoming aware of the limiting beliefs that can get them stuck.

We offer in-person and virtual services – contact us today to learn more!

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