I Only Say This Because I Love You: How the Way We Talk Can Make or Break Family Relationships Throughout Our Lives

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Random House Publishing Group, Jul 31, 2001 - Family & Relationships - 368 pages
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Why does talk in families so often go in circles, leaving us tied up in knots? In this illuminating book, Deborah Tannen, the linguist and and bestselling author of You Just Don't Understand and many other books, reveals why talking to family members is so often painful and problematic even when we're all adults. Searching for signs of acceptance and belonging, we find signs of disapproval and rejection. Why do the seeds of family love so often yield a harvest of criticism and judgment? In I Only Say This Because I Love You, Tannen shows how important it is, in family talk, to learn to separate word meanings, or messages, from heart meanings, or metamessages — unstated but powerful meanings that come from the history of our relationships and the way things are said. Presenting real conversations from people's lives, Tannen reveals what is actually going on in family talk, including how family conversations must balance the longing for connection with the desire for control, as we struggle to be close without giving up our freedom.

This eye-opening book explains why grown women so often feel criticized by their mothers; and why mothers feel they can't open their mouths around their grown daughters; why growing up male or female, or as an older or younger sibling, results in different experiences of family that persist throughout our lives; and much, much more. By helping us to understand and redefine family talk, Tannen provides the tools to improve relationships with family members of every age.

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I only say this because I love you: how the way we talk can make or break family relationships throughout our lives

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The author of 17 books (e.g., That's Not What I Meant!, You Just Don't Understand), Tannen (linguistics, Georgetown) returns to her first love, "the language of everyday conversation" among family ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Deborah Tannen is the author of You Just Don't Understand, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly four years, including eight months at number one, and has been translated into twenty-six languages. Among her many books are The Argument Culture, Talking from 9 to 5, and That's Not What I Meant! A linguistics professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., she is a frequent guest on such radio and television shows as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today, Good Morning America, CNN's TalkBack Live, and NPR's All Things Considered.

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