Related Articles to read on this page.

1. The Musculoskeletal System by John M. Crowe

2. Christian Discipleship & Martial Arts  by John M. Crowe

3. Various Books on Boundaries

4. Boundaries and Mental Illness

The Musculoskeletal System

John M. Crowe, M.Div., D.Min.

The musculoskeletal system (muscles, bones, and joints) represents the harmonious relationships of holy Christian love between members of the body of Christ that we are called to in Ephesians. 

Bones, Muscles, and Harmony

An old song spoke about the hand bone is connected to the arm bone, etc. The song’s basic message is that every bone of the body is connected to another bone. Likewise, the church is the body of Christ. We are all connected to each other as brothers and sisters in Jesus.

Measure Harmony, How?

How do you measure harmony within a local congregation? Is it merely good attendance and the ability to meet one’s yearly budget? Is it really accurate to measure the health of our bones, muscles and internal organs by institutional criteria alone?

Harmony Makes a Difference

Clement in Rome wrote to the Corinthian church in Greece. He wrote 45 years after the apostle Paul wrote them. The church was divided once again like it was earlier. Clement reminded them of Paul’s epistles. He told the Corinthian church about the influence of their current reputation. It was so bad, Clement said, that it was making evangelism in Rome tough (Lightfoot 13, 33). Wow!

The NT teaches that healthy church unity or harmony is purposeful. Read Jesus’ prayer in John 17:15-23. He not only prays for unity among his disciples then and now. He also mentions why we need to be one in Christ.

NT Teaching on Church Harmony

At the heart of NT teaching concerning church harmony or unity is our calling to loving relationships (Eph. 4:2, 3; Col. 3:13, 14).

Paul wrote his definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13 precisely because of the lack of love at Corinth. Also, every sin listed in Eph. 4:25-31 undoes a church’s harmony.

Paul also alludes to two more examples of poor harmony. First, allowing the sun to go down on one’s anger in Ephesians 4:26-27. Second, not forgiving a repentant brother in 2 Corinthians 2:10-11. In each case, Paul states that failure to deal with these issues gives the devil a way to defeat the church.

Neither the church at Ephesus nor Corinth serve as examples of maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of love. Since this condition did change for the better by God’s grace and Christian instruction, there is hope for churches today.

The 9 Facets of Congregational Harmony

Harmonious community involves loving relationships within the church. This is seen in the following: (1) lack of jealousy and quarreling, (2) lack of lawsuits between church members, (3) wise exercise of spiritual freedom, (4) unselfish celebration of communion, (5) not viewing various spiritual gifts as signs of spiritual maturity and superiority, (6) appreciation for the role of each member of the body with his or her own gifts and graces, (7) orderly worship, and (8) good marriage, family, and work relationships (1 Cor. 3:3; 6:1-12; 8; 10:14-11:1, 17-34; 12-14; Eph. 5:22-6:9). Such a healthy church remembers Jesus’ words that people will know we are his disciples by our love (John 13:35).  It also becomes a healing church where people’s broken hearts and shattered lives are mended through intimate relationships (Crabb; Murren; Thompson).

1. Personal Holiness

Paul rebukes the Corinthian Christians for their lack of love seen in tolerating sexual immorality among church members (1 Cor. 5). Christian love does not contradict the holiness of Jesus Christ. It is that holiness to which he calls his body in every arena of life as outlined in the epistles.

As Joseph M. Stowell writes in his book, Shepherding the Church

When righteousness becomes the prevailing attitude of a body of believers, it establishes a peer pressure that stimulates all believers to the truly good life in Jesus Christ. A church full of persons who love the lost; of husbands who love their wives; of people who willingly serve; of lips that are slow to criticize, slander, and gossip, but rather are dedicated to healing, helping, and encouraging; of finances that are focused on glorifying God and of Christians who are passionately addicted to acts of compassion will produce an environment that stimulates others to make a similar contribution to the group. (68)

2. Family Relationships

Martin Luther described the home as a miniature church. He’s right.However we view and practice Christian love at home spills over into our congregational life. 

3. Leadership Relationships

Harmonious community also grows through healthy pastor-church leadership relationships. They receive the equipping ministry of their pastors and attain the unity of the faith (Eph. 4).

The Apostle Peter speaks to loving pastoral oversight in 1 Peter 5:1-3. The writer of Hebrews speaks of parishioners’ wholesome relationships with their pastoral leaders in Hebrews 13:17. First Timothy 5:17-19 calls churches to guard their pastoral leaders from being hindered by either inadequate wages or malicious accusations.

Also, a harmonious church body sees itself being in ministry at work, at home, and in society. As Ogden says, “The broken world we live in needs a called army to address the enormous pain that is the result of our sin. Only people who know they are ministers can be compassionate tools of God’s healing work” (21). That army will be set free only as the relationship between the pastor and a church’s leadership “become conformed to the biblical description of ministry” (85).

Unfortunately, the lay leadership of many churches without biblical harmony desires pastors who can do the ministry instead of leading them in the ministry of all Christians. Such a passive church becomes an audience and not a body. Then the audience becomes the critic of the latest pastoral performance. Ogden confronts such an unhealthy attitude by stating “the biblical emphasis is not on the ‘omnicompetent’ pastor, but a ‘multigifted’ body” (75). Divided churches and churches with pseudo harmony frequently abuse their pastors by “cutting their salary or slicing away at their integrity with gossip” (Hansen 124). 

4. Balance in Ministry

Loving congregations also harmonize the biblical principles of the Church’s ministry for the sake of balance. When a church is out of balance it is known only as “The Soul Winning Church; The Experiencing God Church; The Family Reunion Church; The Classroom Church; or The Social Conscience Church” (Warren, Purpose 122-124).

5. Church Growth

The most recent studies of growing churches find the principles of unity and spirituality to be foundational to church growth (Gabel 30). Genuine Christian love within a congregation works like a powerful magnet in drawing people to Christ and to Christ’s church. The effective assimilation of new members exemplifies the ability of a loving church body to accept and affirm the place and uniqueness of additional people. Another example of harmony and love within a congregation is the presence of healthy humor (Schwarz). 

6. Church Government

A harmonious church structures itself for the sake of incarnating biblical principles of being the body of Christ in the world and not for the sake of internal control and power. Unfortunately, some churches are neither spiritually passionate nor loving enough to change their functional structures to reach people for Christ (Schwarz 28-29; Warren, Purpose 65-66). On the other hand, some churches go beyond changing their functional structures to redefining basic Christian teaching and moral truth for the sake of gaining more members. 

7. Pastoral Leadership

For pastors to lead a church without the motivation of love is unproductive (Galloway, 20/20 89; Warren, Purpose 212-216). One “study demonstrated that while pastors of growing churches are usually not ‘people-persons’ who lose themselves in interaction with individuals, yet on the average they are somewhat more relationship-, person-, and partnership-oriented than their colleagues in declining churches” (Schwarz 22). This insight fits with two of Schaller’s and Tidwell’s descriptions of a healthy church as having “a pastor who likes people, is responsive to people’s spiritual pilgrimage, and is fulfilled as pastor of that church” (153).

In working toward building trust and a healthy sense of community, pastors practice the essential points found in a study of effective leaders. First, they offer the church general rather than tight supervision. Second, they treat the church’s various ministry and administrative groups like adults with brains who want the church to improve. Third, they spend more time with people on their turf and talk primarily about how their pastor can help or support them. Such modeling behavior builds a healthier community than talking about problems and budgets (Hunter, “The Effective Group Leader”).

8. Helping Leaders

In the article on the church’s nervous system, I shared about involving church leaders in a special workshop to help restore harmonious teamwork. These workshops can also help improve harmony within the whole congregation as well.

Both pastors and church leaders along with their families need to be ‘prayed for not preyed on.’ Churches across America are catching on to the importance of such intercessory prayer.

See  Praying for Clergy and Their Families

9. Spiritual Warfare

Pastors can train church leadership in identifying and dealing with antagonists who often become clergy and/or church killers. VanVonderen asks, “Is it any wonder that our Adversary, the ‘Wolf,’ majors in destroying relationships inside the body of Christ? Is it any wonder he wants to drive people out of the church altogether?” (39).

Moeller points out that as a pastor “I could almost predict the appearance of trouble in my church according to how much progress we were making spiritually” (64). This insight would mean that any church making significant progress toward health should expect a spiritual crisis. Thus, “churches must utilize spiritual resources to deal with spiritual problems, not just in crisis, but as a regular part of their life together” (Moeller 193).

Too many churches, like some armies, are demoralized by number of people they lose due to ‘friendly fire’ within the ranks. These ‘dechurched’ people may not leave their faith in Christ. They do leave places where the lack of Christian harmony caused them deep pain.

Spiritual warfare often impacts the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system, or the circulatory system plus will seek to interfere with the church's relationship with its head Jesus Christ.


As pastor, family members and people gain spiritual maturity in both their attitudes and relationships, much fruit will blossom. Many people will notice how wholesome the sense of community arises within the church. Local church leaders will perceive themselves to be a team. The church staff will discover a new sense of harmony in ministry. As a church continues to develop healthy relationships, a congregation finds itself with healing ministries that connect people with God and others. Ultimately, the healthiness of these relationships within the body of Christ are rooted in our relationship with God.

Works Cited

Crabb, Larry. Connecting: Healing for Ourselves and Our Relationships A Radical New Vision. Nashville: Word, 1997.

Gabel, Wesley J. “How Church Growth is Changing.” Good News Jan./Feb.  1999:  28-30.

Galloway, Dale. 20/20 Vision. West Linn, OR:  Scott-20/20 Vision, 1996. 

The Holy Bible: The New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978.

Lightfoot, J.B. The Apostolic Fathers. Grand Rapids:  Baker, 1980.

Moeller, Robert. Love in Action: Healing Conflict in Your Church. Sisters, OR: Questar Publishers, 1994.

Murren, Doug. Churches That Heal: Becoming a Church That Mends Broken Hearts and Restores Shattered Lives. West Monroe, LA:  Howard Publishing, 1999. 

Ogden, Greg. The New Reformation: Returning the Ministry to the People of God. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990.

Schaller, Lyle E., and Charles A. Tidwell. Creative Church Administration. Nashville: Abingdon, 1975.

Schwarz, Christian A. Natural Church Development: A Guide to Eight Essential  Qualities of Healthy Churches. Carol Stream, IL:  ChurchSmart Resources, 1996.

Stowell, Joseph M. Shepherding the Church: Effective Spiritual Leadership in a Changing Culture. Chicago: Moody, 1994.  

Thompson, David L., with Gina Thompson Eickhoff. Holiness for Hurting People. Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House, 1998. 

VanVonderen, Jeff. When God’s People Let You Down. Minneapolis:  Bethany, 1995.


Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Church. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.

The content of this article comes from my dissertation: “PREACHING FOR A WHOLE PERSON RESPONSE IN DEVELOPING A HEALTHY CHURCH.” Diss. Asbury Theological Seminary, 2001. The contents are protected 


Christian Discipleship & Martial Arts

John M. Crowe, M.Div., D.Min.

As a Christian and as a martial artist, I see many parallels between Christian Discipleship and the martial arts.

A Gift and New Identity

All beginners in martial arts receive a white belt. Like salvation, it is a gift. Like baptism, it identifies you as a martial artist. You become a Christian by receiving the free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Your Christian baptism is the first outward  sign of Christian discipleship that gives outward expression to the inward work of salvation by God’s abundant free grace.

A Journey toward maturity

In a martial art such as Tae Kwon Do, the journey to the first degree black belt is very much like maturing as a disciple of Jesus Christ. The early belts in any martial art system is like someone who is in the elementary level of Christian discipleship feeds on milk. As one grows through the remaining intermediate and advanced belts, he/she matures in both personal character and ability as a martial artist. Similarly, as a disciple of Jesus Christ moves the spiritual milk of God's Word to the meat. Thus, they mature into Christian adulthood through practicing what they've been taught. As adult Christians, not only do they know what is good and what is evil more clearly, they are also able to teach others.

Character Development

People learn much more than punching, kicking and self-defense in martial arts. Character development is also important. As in martial arts, the pastor and other instructors work on character development as well as through both small groups and one-on-one instruction. As in a TKD Do Jang, the pastor is the chief instructor in the church. The chief instructor of a church works through other mature Christians to train others. This is very similar to a chief TKD instructor delegating some training to other black belts.

The well-being of a healthy TKD Do Jang depends on developing and selecting healthy leaders to help train others. The same is true of developing a healthy congregation of Christian disciples. Instead of wallowing in self-pity over not having a good leadership pool, the most pro-active step is to disciple those who are open to grow into further maturity as whole persons.

Unhealthy Discipleship

Unfortunately, some martial arts Do Jang’s are only concerned about earning money, numbers and prestige. Their academy’s give out belts like diploma mills. Very little skill is learned and even less character is developed. Much of what is learned needs to be unlearned later on.

Likewise, unhealthy churches function as cookie cutter disciple mills. Some of these unhealthy churches function solely from a secular business model by crunching numbers about attendance, giving units, numerical growth, programs, and their worldly approach to selecting leaders. Other unhealthy churches weigh people down with legalism. Some offer an unhealthy religious outlook that only tells men to be nice and women to be great servants. Number crunching leads to people crushing. The lagoons of legalism leads people into depression or into wild rebellion. Good boy--good girl religion has the form of godliness but lacks the power. No wonder men are bored and women are exhausted in such churches. In every one of these unhealthy churches, the genuine biblical formation of the congregation's spirituality, attitudes, behavior, thinking, and relationships is ignored for the sake of keeping the machine running.

People who come from such unhealthy churches have much to unlearn like those whose early martial arts experience was in an unhealthy Do Jang. . Although by this time some should already be teaching others, they like the readers of Hebrews must be taught the basics of Christian faith and living all over again.

Sometimes, a martial artist is entirely focused on gaining his or her next belt. However good this goal might be and talented he or she may be, the main thing is character development. A martial artist whose personal character is not maturing will bring disrespect to the TKD Do Jang regardless of belt rank or ability. Likewise, if people only participate in the required training only for the sake of gaining a church office, ministry position, or even joining a local church, they will lack the necessary Christian character. In the end, they will bring disrespect to the church.

Healthy Discipleship

To progress in any martial art involves more than merely attending class. The martial arts student grows in self-discipline as they exercise and practice at home. Therefore, the purpose of attending class is for more than practice. Class attendance is for instruction of new lessons and corrections related to previous lessons. Attendance is important, but by itself will not make one a complete martial artist.

The Sabum Nim's (instructor's) purpose is not to do for the student what they can do for themselves. As a black belt in a martial art, theSabum Nim is worthy to be treated with respect. Their purpose is to guide, encourage and support the budding martial arts student along the path from childhood to adulthood in Tae Kwon Do. Along the way, the student in turn also helps those in the earlier belts with their progress. Given the wide range of ages and levels of ability that the instructor must address, it is best to not make their task anymore challenging by being disrespectful. It is disrespectful to expect to mature as a martial artist by only attending class.

To progress as a disciple of Jesus Christ involves more than only attending Sunday school and worship. Attendance is important (Acts 2:42-48; Hebrews 10:25), but it alone will not make one a mature Christian disciple. The disciple grows in spiritual self-discipline as they practice and exercise their Christian faith at home, school, work and play (John 8:31-32; James 1:22). Therefore, the purpose of attending church related classes and worship involves far more than the practices of praying, singing, fellowshipping, and reading or hearing the Bible. Active attendance of the various ministries of the church primarily focuses upon instruction and equipping of new lessons and corrections related to previous ones (II Timothy 3:16-17).

The pastor's purpose (like the TKD Sabum Nim) is not to do for church members what they can do for themselves as a Christian disciples. As a spiritual leader, the pastor is worthy to be treated with respect (Ephesians 4:9-11; I Timothy 5:17-19; I Thessalonians 5:12-13). Their purpose is to guide, encourage, support, instruct and equip the budding disciple along the path of spiritual maturity from childhood to adulthood in the ministry of all Christians (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Along the way, the disciple in turn also helps younger disciples with their spiritual progress (II Timothy 2:2). Given the wide range of people and levels of spiritual maturity that the pastor must address, it is best not to add many more challenges to their task by being disrespectful (Hebrews 13:17). It is disrespectful to expect Worship and Sunday school attendance alone to make you a mature Christian disciple. One of the greatest problem in churches today is the lack of sincere honor for God, for each other and for God's ministers.

It is also disrespectful for a black belt to think they have no more to learn. Similarly, any clergy person who graduated from seminary and is ordained demonstrates disrespect for Jesus and for Christ's church by not continuing to mature in character and skill. The same can be said for laity who serve as local church, district or conference officers. Although both clergy and laity may become spiritual black belts in Jesus, the master quest calls them to God's highest and best through his amazing grace in further obedience to His Word by the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

Various Books on Boundaries



Cloud, Henry. Changes That Heal: How to Understand Your Past to Ensure a Healthier Future. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990.


This book and its workbook will lead the reader through the dynamics of maturing in healthy togetherness with others and healthy separation from others.


Cloud, Henry. Changes That Heal Workbook: How to Understand Your Past to Ensure a Healthier Future. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994.


Cloud, Henry, John Townsend. Boundaries In Marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999.


This book will give you specific guidance on what healthy boundaries in a marriage are and are not.


Cloud, Henry, John Townsend. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control on Your Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992. 


This is a basic introductory book to the whole idea of boundaries. This book has since been updated to address issues of the 21st century.


Cloud, Henry, John Townsend. Boundaries Workbook: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995.


Elgin, Susan H. The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense. Dorset House Publishing Co Inc; Reprint edition, 1985.


Forward, Susan. Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You. NY: Harper-Collins Publishers, 1997.


Hemfelt, Robert, Frank Minirth, Paul Meier. Love is a Choice. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.


Hemfelt, Robert, Frank Minirth, Paul Meier, Deborah Newman, Brian Newman. Love Is A Choice Workbook. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers 1991.


These two books address the co-dependency that many family members and friends of the mentally ill struggle with.

Further reading about boundaries

1. Achieving Balance in Ministry. by A.J. Headley 


2. Adult Children of Abusive Parents: A Healing Program for Those Who Have Been Physically, Sexually, or Emotionally Abused. by Seven Farmer, M.A., M.F.C.C. 


3.Bold Love. by Dr. Dan B. Allender & Dr. Tremper Longman, III 


Have you ever asked yourself and of the following questions? How do you know the difference between loving an evil person, a fool, and a normal sinner? What does it mean to "honor" a dishonorable parent? Why does anger usually outlive forgiveness? How to you love an abusive person without opening yourself up to more damage? Then read this book! 


4. Clergy Killers. by Lloyd G. Rediger.


5. Do I Have to Give Up Me To Be Loved By You? for couples who want their love to last. by Drs. Jordan & Margaret Paul. 


6. Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You. by Susan Forward, Ph. D. with Donna Frazier. 


7. False Assumptions: Relief From 12 "Christian" Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy. by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend 


8. Feed My Shepherds: Spiritual Healing and Renewal for Those in Christian Leadership. by Flora Slosson Wuellner 


Wuellner uses the stories surrounding Jesus' death and resurrection from the Gospels to address spiritual desolation, spiritual release or abuse, incarnational spirituality verses religion that denies our humanity, walking with Christ to deep wounded memories, depth renewal for spiritual exhaustion, spiritual protection in toxic relationships and Christian discipleship as a spiritual response to God's free grace vs a religious discipline. While she does not speak directly of boundaries, she does address healthy internal boundaries of the soul. 


9. Fit to Be a Pastor : A Call to Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Fitness. by Lloyd G. Rediger 


10. Hurt People Hurt People: Hope and Healing for Yourself & Your Relationships. by Sandra D. Wilson, PH.D. 


Sandra's appendix on "Shame Based vs Grace Based Churches" is worth the price of the whole book. (Those desiring even more help with this theme in the church must go to “Ministry Health” web site. My colleague, co-author and friend Rev. Tom Fischer has many excellent articles on the subject of boundaries and church life.) 


11. Imperfect Harmony. by Joshua Coleman 


“This book is about how to live a happy life regardless of the state of your marriage. Despite promises of therapists, clergy, and self-help authors, not every relationship can be made better.” This book has three stated aims: 1. To give people the tools to determine whether a marriage can be bettered; 2. To give people the tools to enjoy life if the marriage can’t be bettered: 3. To help people protect their children from whatever is unsatisfying or difficult in your life or marriage. Obviously, the tools referred to in the second and third aim of this book has to do with boundaries. 

12. Intimate & Unashamed. by Scott Farhart, M.D. 


This book addresses boundary issues concerning God's design for sexual fulfillment in marriage with creative and celebrative boldness as well as solid biblical truth. 


13. Necessary Losses: The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up In Order To Grow. by Judith Virost. 


14. Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: The Paradox of Personal Dysfunction. by Gary L. McIntosh, and Sammuel D. Rima. 


15. Romancing Your Husband. by Debra White Smith 


Written as one married woman to another her advice is balanced by her personal confession of breaking a very crucial boundary in marriage. This boundary broken by some wives, yes even Christian wives. It is the boundary of ceasing to be your husband's wife-lover to attempting to be his mother-lover. She confesses to have participated in the very thing she uncovers about female chauvinism even within churches. 


16. Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't. by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend 


17. Stress Power and Ministry. by John C. Harris 


18. Stop Walking on Eggshells. by Mason and Kreger 


(Although this book is focused on re-claiming your life in relationship with a specific mental illness, the concepts are rather universal.) 


19. Talk, Trust, and Feel: Keeping Codependency Out of Your Life. by Melody Beattie 


20. The Dilemma of Love: Healing Co-dependent Relationships at Different Stages of Life. by Susan Cooley Ricketson, Ph.D. 


21. The Emotional Incest Syndrome: What to Do When A Parent's Love Rules Your Life. by Dr. Patrica Love with Jo Robinson 


22. The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense. by Suzetter Haden Elgin 


23. The Other Side of Love: Handling Anger in a Godly Way. by Gary Chapman 


24. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen 


While the book does not speak directly of boundaries, they do address the need for healthy boundaries in church life. 


25. Toxic Faith: Understanding and Overcoming Religious Addiction. by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton 


If you exhausted or bored with religion your faith might be toxic in some way instead of healthy in relationship with God and people. See also Wayne Oates' book listed below about sick religion. 


26. Toxic In-Laws: Loving Strategies for Protecting Your Marriage. by Susan Forward, Ph. D. with Donna Frazier. 


27. We Are Driven: The Compulsive Behaviors America Applauds. by Dr. Robert Hemfelt, Dr. Frank Minirth, and Dr. Paul Meier. 


28. When God's People Let You Down: How to Rise Above the Hurts That Often Occur Within the Church. by Jeff VanVonderen 


While he does not speak directly of boundaries, he does address the need for healthy boundaries in church life. 


29. When Religion Gets Sick. by Wayne Oates 


Oates covers some of the same ground as Toxic Faith. However, he goes beyond it in covering a pathology of religious leadership, religious factors in mental illness and answers a long list of questions related to "sick religion." He defines this problem as one that hinders the basic functions of life. Here again issues of grace and truth, love and boundaries, freedom and structure are addressed. 


30. Working the Angels: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity. by Eugene H Peterson.

31. When He’s Married to Mom: How to Help Mother-Enmeshed Men Open Their Hearts to True Love and Commitment by Kenneth M. Adams.


32. Silently Seduced: When Parents Make Their Children Partners by Kenneth M. Adams

Boundaries and Mental Illness


Kreger, Randi. The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tools and Techniques To Stop Walking on Eggshells.

Kreger, Randi, with James Paul Shirely. The Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook.

Kreger, Randi, and Kim A. Willams-Justensen. Love and Loathing: Protecting Your Mental Health and Legal Rights When Your Partner Has Borderline Personality Disorder.

Lawson, Christine Ann, Ph.D. and Jason Aronson. Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship.

This book together with Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook. makes an awesome pair.

I’ve used this book in counseling with adult children of a Mommy Dearest” type. It is not only descriptive of the four types of these mothers but also prescriptive in how to relate with each type within healthy boundaries. Some may find a surprising insight about fibromyalgia and other auto-immune deficiency diseases in this book.

Mason, Paul T., Randi Kreger, and Larry J. Siever. Stop Walking on Eggshells; Coping When Someone You Care about Has Borderline Personality Disorder.New Harbinger Pubs (July 1998).

Melville, Lynn. Breaking Free From Boomerang Love: Getting Unhooked From Borderline Personality Disorder Relationships

Roth, Kimberlee and Freda B. Friedman. Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self Esteem. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publishers, Inc., 2003

Tinman, Ozzie. One Way Ticket to Kansas: Caring about Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder and Finding a Healthy You.

Forward, Susan. Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You. NY: Harper-Collins Publishers, 1997.

Hemfelt, Robert, Frank Minirth, Paul Meier. Love is a Choice. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.

Hemfelt, Robert, Frank Minirth, Paul Meier, Deborah Newman, Brian Newman. Love Is A Choice Workbook.Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers 1991.

These two books address the co-dependency that many family members and friends of the mentally ill struggle with.