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The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate Paperback – August 6, 2002


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Frequently Bought Together

The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate + The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships + The Dance of Intimacy: A Woman's Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 6, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006095616X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060956165
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Psychotherapist and bestselling author Lerner has been teaching readers how to "dance" with difficult relationship issues throughout the past decade, and remains one of the most helpful writers on the topic. With her familiar mix of conversational language and profound empathy for people (primarily women) who are struggling with the most important relationships in their lives, she now tackles the verbal challenges of life's most painful conversations. Far from trite "communication skills" or "assertiveness training," her book offers lucid and concrete guidance on how to speak out in a wide variety of problem situations (e.g., when a wife suspects her husband is having an affair with a co-worker, or when friends jeopardize their relationship by becoming roommates). Lerner moves smoothly through the common obstacles to understanding how we feel, how we want to express ourselves and what we want to accomplish by talking about our feelings. Recognizing that "your brain will turn to mush" when trying to explain yourself in an emotional state, she offers practical advice on sharing vulnerability; voicing concerns, complaints or requests; apologizing; listening and setting limits on how much one is willing to listen to others' complaints and negativity. Accepting that we can never guarantee that others will hear us or respond as we'd like, Lerner focuses on the authentic expression of self, "maximiz[ing] the chance of being heard" and keeping the connection open, despite complex emotions, misunderstandings and silences. (Sept. 1)Forecast: The popularity of The Dance of Anger, The Dance of Intimacy, The Dance of Deception and The Mother Dance virtually assures an eager audience for Lerner's new work. She has recently added children's books to her repertoire (Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair, PW, May 21), which may expand her readership even further.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A columnist with New Woman Magazine as well as a staff psychologist and a psychotherapist at the Menninger Clinic, Lerner is also a world-renowned expert on women and family issues whose Dance of Anger is a pop psychology classic. Lerner's mass appeal results from her ability to break down difficult psychological concepts into plain language. Her new work is similar to her other titles (which include Dance of Intimacy and Dance of Deception) but follows the human life cycle sequentially. After a brief explanation of the concept of inborn/individual traits and the influence of families of origin, Lerner shares her private family-of-origin stories which gives the book a vulnerability and humanness that other self-help titles lack. Lerner then discusses problems that can surface in adult relationships, including how adult children may talk with their parents. She shows that criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling all have the potential to cripple or destroy a marriage. Each chapter analyzes a specific problem with case histories and possible solutions or outcomes. What results is an accessible and well-organized work that, with its predecessors, belongs in all libraries. Highly recommended. Lisa Wise, Broome Cty. P.L., Binghamton, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., is one of our nation's most loved and respected relationship experts. Renowned for her work on the psychology of women and family relationships, she served as a staff psychologist at the Menninger Clinic for more than two decades. A distinguished lecturer, workshop leader, and psychotherapist, she is the author of The Dance of Anger and other bestselling books. She is also, with her sister, an award-winning children's book writer. She and her husband are therapists in Lawrence, Kansas, and have two sons.

Customer Reviews

I'm on new book alert for Harriet Lerner!
Jennifer Saunders
We all want to be connected to others and Lerner helps us to do that while explaining how we can be authentic and speak our own truth.
dana messer
Lerner is wise and helpful, funny and real.
K. Evans

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

219 of 222 people found the following review helpful By Janet Paisley on January 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm a therapist, and like therapists around the country I recommend Lerner's books to my clients, especially THE DANCE OF ANGER. To be honest, I thought she had said it all. But to my surprise, she really outdid herself in this book. No one can afford to miss this one. Her writing is witty, engaging and her advice is solid and clear as a bell. She teaches us how to talk to the most difficult people in the most difficult situations, like when we are betrayed, rejected, insulted, or cut-off. This book offers help when we can't figure out whether to stay or leave a relationship, when we can't make ourselves heard, or when a partner or family member can't or won't apologize. It's a book to read slowly and savor, because it will change your life. Or you might just zip through it because you can't put it down.
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169 of 172 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In a moment when we feel safe, loved, comfortable, and relaxed, most people can communicate quite well and strengthen relationships. Catch us off guard with a terrible blow from someone close, and our knees may jerk so hard that they hit us in the jaw. We may say and do things that damage or destroy relationships. What can we do instead of these harmful reactions? How can we repair things once the damage has been done?
While many authors have written fine books about building and maintaining good and deteriorating relationships, this book has taken on all of the tough issues as its focus. You think your spouse is cheating with someone else. Your child won't speak to you. Your husband has taken liberties with your daughter. Your best friend says she or he never wants to see you again. There's a terrible family crisis and the other person cuts you off.
Dr. Lerner draws on her personal experiences as well as case histories from her practice as a psychotherapist to give you answers. In doing so, she doesn't promise solutions will follow. But you can be sure that you will have done a great deal to try to help the situation.
The book starts with the contrast of adult behavior to how children behave. Two children become angry in a sandbox, but five minutes later are quietly playing together again. "They choose happiness over righteousness." Adults usually do the opposite.
The essence of the book is to encourage you to figure out what you need to have from a relationship, and to communicate those needs, while finding out the same from the other person. In that simple statement, the book's concept is very much like the better negotiating books (such as Getting to Yes).
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116 of 116 people found the following review helpful By K. Evans on January 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"I've read all of Harriet Lerner's books starting with The Dance of Anger which has been my relationship bible. But The Dance of Connection is her best book yet. Lerner is wise and helpful, funny and real. The chapters that meant the most to me was one on clarifying a bottom line and another about "voicing the ultimate" in marriage. I finally got the difference between complaining and being able to take a clear position with my husband--and stay with it. Together with the chapter on warming things up, this book has already made a huge difference in my marriage. I was also fascinated by the author's revealing story about her dad's silence and how it effected the family. There's terrific advice on how to "find your voice"--and what to do and say--when you are rejected and cut off by a family member.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Sandra D. Peters on September 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When we are in a highly emotional state, i.e., anger, fear, frustration, hurt, etc., all kinds of physical changes start to take place within our body from increased heart beat to increased adrenaline. We can also over-react by saying things we do not mean and uttering words which should never be said. Once spoken, we can apologize but often the hurt remains, in some cases for years.
"The Dance of Connection" is an excellent starting point in learning how to communicate with your partner, children and others in a positive, effective manner. I have counselled many individuals who said they simply could not communicate with their partner. "He/she does not understand" and "He or she does not listen" are the most common complaints. Perhaps, part of the problem lies in not relaying the message in a respectful, honest, courteous manner or failing to choose the appropriate words. Yelling, ranting and raving accomplishes nothing and irritates everyone.
Through the pages of this book, readers will have a better understanding of how to expand their communication skills so that conflicts can be resolved and people will open up to you. Part of being a good conversationalist is being a good listener, a skill which some people have not yet learned. It is safe to say that effective communication is not a "one shoe fits all approach" and readers will benefit most from the book if they they are flexible and adapt what the author has written to their own personal situation. Overall, the book is an excellent starting point in improving communication skills and well worth reading.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mark Waldman on September 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
There is an underlying theme in this book that I think is important for every couple to consider: perhaps our expectations of our partners are too high. I've been a therapist for 25 years, and the most common problem I've encountered involves unexpressed-and often unconscious-expectations that one person has about the other. Women, I believe (and I think Dr. Lerner supports this as well), have higher expections than men. Sometimes they are so high, and so many, that there is no way not to be disappointed. What would happen if we lowered our expectations? We might, as Lerner suggests, become better listeners, and take more responsibility for fulfilling our own needs, rather than demanding that our happiness be met solely at home. Of all of Lerner's books, this is one I recommend most often to my clients. We don't need a soul-mate to be happily married, and if we lower the bar just a little, a "good enough" spouse can adequately provide the decades of richness we need.
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