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Holding Pattern: How Communication Prevents Intimacy in Adults Paperback – August 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Holding Pattern examines the chronically single-the midlife adult who has failed to find the intimacy he or she seeks. Karen Buzzard, noted communication scholar, illuminates how human communication styles influence our capacity for intimacy, tracing the roots of adult miscommunications to three critical stages of development that are crucial in shaping our ability to communicate intimately. Buzzard offers a new and strong theoretical paradigm for intimacy, which does not assume, as does the older paradigm, that intimacy is a process that unfolds naturally and automatically. She develops the critical paradigms of affectional, ethical and authentic communication and explains these patterns through interpretative readings of the life history of individuals, providing a framework for understanding midlife intimacy problems. Using psychological theories of life history analysis, she arrives at a novel picture of how our intimacy styles are shaped. Her case studies are remarkable in demonstrating how the achievement of intimacy involves a crucial shift of direction as we progress from childhood to adulthood.

About the Author

Karen S. Falling Buzzard is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. Her other books in the area of media studies are Chains of Gold: Marketing the Ratings and Rating the Markets and Electronic Media Ratings: Turning Audiences into Dollars and Sense.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Michigan State University Press; First Edition edition (August 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870135775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870135774
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,306,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Janet L. Reed on September 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found this book in "self help" of all places but I guess it's kind of appropriate because it deals with issues often considered too frivolous for "serious psychology." Ms. Buzzard pulls together very diverse strands of psychological theory and case studies of real people struggling with how to find intimacy in mid-life. The result is just plain good psychology -- substantial reference to the wisdom of Freud, Erikson, and many, many other practitioners along with a very compassionate and insightful look at how people struggle, and often fail, to overcome the family stuff that acts a bit like a black hole on the human spirit. I'm sure some will criticize this book as being too traditional in its explanation of some people's inability to form meaningful relationships. But this isn't psycho-babble. Ms. Buzzard acknowledges the powerful pull of the family and the deficiencies of "not good enough" mothers and fathers, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME citing how attitude and basic optimism will always move one more quickly along towards a better life. So if you're looking for a quick fix you won't find it here.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I echo the review of Janet Reed, who said "if you're looking for a quick fix, you won't find it here." I'd also say if you're looking for *any* fix, you won't find it here. It's not really that kind of book.

I found this to be a frustrating read when I bought it in 2001 or so. It's a fascinating topic, and in fact at the time I was a member of the group the book describes: "the chronically single midlife adult." I share traits with some of the cases she describes, and had a little frission of recognition when I read those descriptions. She hit the nail on the head, which is a great start.

But from there, I wasn't able to get much else out of the book. What I hoped for from that point was some guide to understanding how those traits develop, or some way to think about living with them or acting on them. Instead the book seemed to drift into academic talk that was increasingly esoteric. It never really seemed to get to a conclusion I could consider or act on.

I'm not an academic myself (obviously) and Dr. Buzzard may not have set out to write a pop culture self-help book. But in the end this reminded me of so many sociology texts I read in college, ones that study and define a certain situation very well, but never quite get to the next step of saying "Yes, but so what?"
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