- Paperback: 239 pages
- Publisher: Perennial Currents; 20th Anniversary edition (May 3, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006074104X
- ISBN-13: 978-0060741044
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (489 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships Paperback – May 3, 2005
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“Of all the books that have been written about the personal relationships of women and what to do about them, this is the most sound. Like a family heirloom, it can be passed from generation to generation as it is based on profound and lasting truths.” (Peggy Papp, M.S.W., The Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy)
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
In this book, Lerner treats anger as a signal that something is going wrong. She explains that only when we address the "something wrong" in a useful way will the anger go away. Then she explores the "dances" we engage in, in our attempts to make ourselves feel better. She suggests that most of our attempts to make ourselves feel better focus on the person(s) we think made us mad, rather than on ourselves. She compassionately and wisely shows how to disengage from the anger and the counter-productive patterns, while staying connected and acting with integrity. However, she also acknowledges the effect that this sort of change can have on other people in the dance, and she provides guidance in maintaining oneself in the face of countermoves.
Fundamentally, this is not the kind of self-help book that provides 10 easy steps to ridding oneself of anger. Instead, it describes a different way to think about anger, and discussion of the ways in wich one can respond to anger. No easy steps, just a way of thinking, which can radically change the way one engages with the world.
Religions and 12 twelve step programs need to make this book available to its members. In fact, I used to be a part of Alcoholics Anonymous until I came across a sentence that disturbed me. On page 66 of the AA book, it states that “If we were to live, we had to be free of anger.” I was shocked by this statement. I wrote to them and said to members of AA that ridding oneself of anger is impossible.
Anger is a defensive emotion. We could no longer get rid of anger as we could rid ourselves of the need for water. Amazon’s review was revealing to me. “Anger is something we feel. It exists for a reason and always deserves our respect and attention. We all have a right to everything we feel—and certainly our anger is no exception.”
We could ignore anger, but all we do then is repress it and then eventually, repressed anger will get us sick physically and emotionally or we will take this anger on someone else. I urged my sister that if she ever felt pushed around physically or emotional, she needs to read this book again and again. I also told her that she could have all of her religion memorized, but if she wants to feel real empowerment, this book is a must.
Read this book from beginning to end before trying this stuff. Secondly, keep in mind one very important thing...as much as you can change your attitude, others can change theirs and not always in the direction you hope they will. Her methods do work, but you must be prepared in some instances to "let go" of people that cause you strife if you plan to try to change these "dances" with whom ever you do this with. The reason is that maybe you don't want to let go of your mother or your friend or who ever, but they might want to let "you" go because they don't like the change. Now, she tells you that in the book anyway, but just ready yourself for it. I had a few friends that I either let go or they let me go and now I am feeling a little excluded. Sure, there are no more fights or "bad times" but that let go of the good too. I couldn't get an in-between. Mind you, this worked WONDERS with some other people I tried it on and actually solidified the relationships more. Just be prepared that you win some, you lose some...you can't change people to follow this "new" dance if they don't want to and it is always hard to let go.