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I Only Say This Because I Love You: Talking to Your Parents, Partner, Sibs, and Kids When You're All Adults Paperback – May 28, 2002
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I Only Say This Because I Love You is aimed mostly at adult family interactions. Professor Deborah Tannen, the popular author of You Just Don't Understand, uses anecdotes filled with dialogues to illustrate why we hear criticism when the other person meant to convey caring, how family members create alignments with secrets and broken confidences, the dynamics of arguments, the power of apologies, gender patterns in family talk, and communication with teens. You're bound to recognize your family members--and yourself!--in Tannen's examples.
You won't find quick, easy answers for improving communication in your family, but you will discover another dimension of understanding what's really going on. Now if you could just get your mother to read the book! --Joan Price --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
In this book, Deborah Tanner, reveals part of the communication problem and ways to improve your skills. From a psychological point of you, our needs change through the ageing process. As children, we are raised in a submissive nature; our parent(s) pass on many of their strengths and weaknesses, much of which is adopted from THEIR parent(s). We, as adults, take what we have learned from our upbringing and often hear ourselves, through our dominant parental role, repeating what our parents have said to us, even though as children we said to ourselves, "When I grow up, I am never going to say that to my children!" Some negative behaviours teach us valuable lessons and, if we are wise, we learn from hurt and rejection not to pass those negative inherited traits on to our children.Read more ›
This really is an enlightening book. What it does do, is explain what goes on in a particular aspect of any family - she explains how family arguments and conversations work, why some things are said but other left unsaid, and provides some suggestions and advice for going back and fixing some of those misunderstandings. She provides a really comprehensive overview of whole family setups, organizations, and tons of possible situations.
She doesn't say "here's how to fix your problems - they shall all be solved". She can't - she's not your own psychologist. But there is so much information to work with, that for a majority of families this will definitely provide a really good and solid basis for reconciling, and even allowing family members to start talking to each other civily again.
Tannen has done tons of research, and provides many examples from all types of families throughout the whole book - grandparents, partners, families with children, families without children, cross-culture families, etc.. I do have to completely agree with another reader that the examples Tannen gives could have been plucked straight from my life. I found one line in particular that could actually explain away years of misunderstanding between two whole branches of my family, myself included. It's also a very fast read - I read it through in just a few days, and I'm a slow reader.
If anyone in your family is even remotely having difficulties talking to others in your family, you should buy this book. I can't tell you how much it's helped me already. Had to buy two more copies of the book for other family members to "borrow".
"Why does talk in the family so frequently go in circles, leaving us tied up in knots?" "When we talk to family members, we search for signs of love but become attuned to signs of disapproval." Our reaction is to "the meaning of the words spoken -- the message -- but also to what we think those words say about the relationship -- the metamessage." So each message needs to be analyzed for message and metamessage in terms of both connection (on a continuum from closeness to distance) and control (on a continium from superior-inferior to equality).
In this outstanding book, conversational analyst Deborah Tannen captures the verbal and mental essences of how to improve our family relationships. The book deals with those situations where the message is either positive or negative, and the overall impression (metamessage) is critical. These range from being praised for some menial accomplishment (with the implication that you are a loyal slave with little talent) to "I care, therefore I criticize" (usually from Mom) to sarcasm (usually from a spouse or teenager, suggesting you must be an idiot). The book looks at relationships with spouses, parents and children (from both directions), siblings, in-laws, and extends the consideration to the full dimensions of one's lifetime.
Perceptions change as we age, and adjustments are needed. A parent starts out as dominant, then the child wants equality (and no criticism), and eventually the child often becomes like a parent to parent who is in mental and physical decline.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Tannen is a great writer and a great linguist. She continues her wonderful job of explaining what people mean when they say things; sometimes they don't even understand what they... Read morePublished 17 days ago by left lane willy
I loved this book. For years, my family has had challenges with communication and finally there is some explanation to the various behaviors and characteristics that affect our... Read morePublished 3 months ago by K. McRitchie
I am a very happy girl that I finally got this book before class startedPublished 10 months ago by RAE
The book did not have substance like other books by Tannen. I bought the book because of book "Your wearing That" was so good.Published 12 months ago by fred l mayfield
I wish it was more about dealing with your siblings or other family members. Too often it's about matters between husband & wife. Read morePublished 16 months ago by LinaMaria
Have not had a chance to read it yet, but I am excited about it!Published 23 months ago by Kourtney
I found Tannen early and she convinced me that genderlects existed. I read this book just to see what new information I could glean. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Larry G. Brandt
Highly recommended for someone who wants to understand how to communicate more effectively with adults. Read morePublished on October 9, 2013 by Christina
This book has already impacted the way I communicate with my teenager and my husband in a positive way. Read morePublished on August 27, 2013 by A. Lebioda