8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Determined not to be angry or bitter but better,
This review is from: The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships (Paperback)
Harriet Lerner is highly educated; a renowned psychologist and a prolific writer. My formal education ended at the age of thirteen. However, since Lerner is using case histories to support her ideas, I am taking the liberty to comment on one case.
Lerner interprets the constant fighting between Maggie and her mother to: "Maggie was trying to change her mother rather than clearly state her own beliefs and convictions and stand behind them."I was born 85 years ago in a small town in Poland. It would have been inconceivable, then, for a child at any age, to criticize, preach, instruct, blame, or fight a mother, as Maggie did. No child would dare to talk back to a parent. A child was expected to obey a parent. (Hebrew term for discipline is mishmat meaning to listen). Most parents love their children and obviously wish to see them happy as kids and eventually as adults. Loving your child should be unconditional, but the child should be obedient. Parents' life experience had taught them, at a high cost, how to avoid pitfalls. The old saying: "We teach what we most need to learn" is seldom applicable to parents; they have already learned by their life experience.
My father adhered religiously to the fifth commandment of the Bible, "Honor your father and mother so that you may live longer." Every day, before leaving for his business, my father made it his business to take care of his aging mother's needs. My father told me once: "Your grandmother is now as a little child is; she depends on me as you are. I would never neglect her just as I would never neglect you. It is my duty to take care of both of you with the same devotion." It is written that it is a divine mandate for us to show thoughtfulness, dignity and compassion to those who brought us into the world. That concept doesn't reverberate in Lerner's evaluations.
Nowadays, we are able to produce computers or travel to the moon. However, our technological sophistication cannot ignore the wisdom of sages who lived thousands of years ago. Our sages said: "Who is a wise person? A wise person is the one that learns from his experience, but the wisest person is the one that learns from somebody else's experience. I have learned that parents and family elders are an anchor to lean on; a fountain of wisdom and heritage to drink from. Unrequited devotion from children for parents is very painful.
THE DANCE of ANGER is well-written and informative. The author's bottom line is that anger will lead you nowhere. I wholeheartedly agree. After the liberation from concentration camps I realized that 123 members of my extended family were murdered by the Nazis. I had many obvious reasons to be angry and bitter, but I realized, after a while, that anger will not mitigate my tragic past and present situation. I determined not to be bitter but better (From a Name to a Number p. 229)
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Initial post: Nov 26, 2011 3:09:30 PM PST
Philip Mandel says:
My friend Mr. Wiener comments from a unique perspective, as detailed in the book he mentions (From A Name to A Number: A Holocaust Survivor's Autobiography, of which he is the author. The way his children treat him would have been unthinkable for Wiener towards his parents. The same, I'm afraid, for the disrespectful way I sometimes treated my parents! I read The Dance of Anger many years ago. Wiener's review helps me remember why I loved the book so much and have recommended it over the years several times. If you want to learn about patience and forgiveness, I would recommend it to you, too. I would also like to recommend you have a look at Mr. Wiener's website and Facebook page so you can consider "Liking" his page on Facebook and perhaps reading his book. His website is (alterwiener-dot-com) and his Facebook page is (facebook-dot-com-slash-alterwiener). Sorry for the cryptic spelling of the websites - Amazon is not keen on having links outside of Amazon in their reviews and comments.
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