Safe People: How to Find Relationships that are Good for You and Avoiding Those That Aren’t

I am loving reading books by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend.  Here are my notes from this book, Safe People.  It is a book worth buying. None of this my original thought- all from the book.

“Safe people are individuals who draw us closer to being the people God intended us to be.  Though not perfect, they are “good enough” in their own character that the net effect of their presence in our lives is positive.  They are accepting, honest, and present, and they help us bear good fruit in our lives.” pg.11 

All are sinners even safe people who will at times stumble and act “unsafe”

Personal traits of unsafe people:

  1. They “have it all together” instead of admitting their weaknesses
  2. They are religious instead of spiritual
  3. They are defensive instead of open to feedback
  4. Unsafe people are self-righteous instead of humble
  5. They only apologize instead of changing their behavior
  6. They avoid working on their problems instead of dealing with them
  7. They demand trust instead of earning it
  8. They believe they are perfect and on a mission to prove it to others
  9. They blame others instead of taking responsibility
  10. They lie instead of telling the truth
  11. They are stagnant instead of growing
  12. They avoid closeness instead of connecting
  13. They resist other’s freedom instead of encouraging it (ex:Do they respect my “no”?  Do they withdraw emotionally when I say no?  Do they get hurt when I say no?  Do they make me feel guilty when I say no?
  14. They flatter us instead of confronting us.  “Being confronted on character issues isn’t pleasant.  It hurts our self-image.  It humbles us.  But it doesn’t harm us.  Loving confrontation protects us from our blindness and self-destructiveness”
  15. Unsafe people condemn us instead of forgiving us
  16. They stay in parent/child roles instead of relating as equals
  17. They are unstable over time instead of being consistent
  18. They are a negative influence on us, rather than a positive one
  19. They gossip instead of keeping secrets

How to Be a Safe Person to someone else:

  • learn to ask for help and admit your needs
  • invite the truth about yourself (work on self awareness)
  • learn to receive and give forgiveness
  • be generous with your time and talents
  • work through resistances. Resistance is our tendency to avoid growth.

Should I Repair or Replace this Relationship?

 You are not ready to replace a significant relationship if:

  • you are trying to resolve it alone without the help of others
  • if there are ways you are contributing to the problem
  • you have not accepted the person as he is, forgiven him and grieved what you wanted him to be
  • if you have gone into the relationship using new skills and responses to the difficult person, responding righteously no matter what she does
  • if you have not given your new behaviors a chance to transform the relationship, seeing that redemption is a process
  • if you have not been long suffering, that the above process has continued over some time
Safe People and the Church
What many Christians do not understand is that relating to each other is a spiritual activity.  Well “Christian” does not automatically mean “safe”.(my thoughts:actually that label actually means very unsafe to others and with good reason)
Safe is defined as helpful.  The church is not a totally safe place and it does not only consist of safe people. The walls of the church do not make it safe from sin.  In fact, the church by definition is composed of sinners.   The Bible says the church is full of wolves as well as sheep.  In the church we will find both tremendous healing and potentially tremendous hurt.  
We need to be discerning because no family is perfect.  We have to avoid becoming pessimistic and learn to recognize the goodness that abounds within a family of God.