Top positive review
Good information; easy to read; not sufficient on its own
Reviewed in the United States on January 2, 2019
I read Boundaries by the same authors a few years back, and it made a tremendous difference in my life. I just finished Safe People tonight, and it is also a great book; I'm glad I read it. The authors write in an easy-to-read, straightforward, and relatable manner. They use examples of their own failings and lessons learned, as well as many case studies. The advice given is backed by scriptural references, albeit a bit of a stretch in certain area.
For me, what I found helpful, was getting a glimpse at what "normal" or "healthy" should look like. That will sound strange to anyone who is already coming from a healthy background, but probably resonate with anyone who isn't. I often have huge conflict over whether a scenario is a healthy situation or not -- whether I'm the perpetrator, or not. This book helped to provide some clarity and set the stage for building a healthy relationship mentality.
There are drawbacks/limits to this book, however. As some reviewers pointed out, this will not be adequate if you have been in a psychologically abusive relationship. I was in a serious relationship with someone who met the criteria laid out in this book as a "Safe Person" -- in fact, a shining example. And the church I was attending at the time was also a great example of a "Safe Church", and I was connected to people who mostly qualified as "Safe People" -- if one is checking things off the list. However, that man was an abusive liar and the church did not behave safely in the end. There's a part of me that is glad I hadn't read this book while going through that relationship, because I likely would have stayed chained to him much longer and suffered much greater damage. I would have continued to think I was the problem (as he said) and not him, and I would have caved under the pressure of my "friends" and the inaction of the church leadership. So, if you believe you are dealing with something "extra", I would go with your gut and seek out additional guidance.
A lot of the advice in this book feels exhilarating and empowering while reading it, but a few hours later I start thinking through how to actually apply it, and I feel stumped. I don't necessarily think this is a failure on the book -- there is only so much it can answer, and it does make it clear that you must seek God's wisdom and that you may need either group or individual counseling. However, a lot of the stuff seemed to be separated by hairline degrees -- and left me very confused. Especially towards the end, where the emphasis was on keeping relationships/working through them, even though they were "unsafe". Knowing myself and my history, this was really confusing and terrifying.
I would also add that if you have an additional "condition", such as in my case Autism Spectrum Disorder, you will likely not be able to fall back on the same common sense judgements as the book intends you to be able to discern.
Still glad I read it, and I do recommend it.