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

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Harper Collins, Oct 13, 2009 - Psychology - 272 pages
4 Reviews

In her most affirming and life-changing book yet, Dr. Harriet Lerner teaches us how to restore love and connection with the people who matter the most. In The Dance of Connection we learn what to say (and not say) when:

  • We need an apology, and the person who has harmed us won't apologize or be accountable.
  • We don't know how to take a conversation to the next level when we feel desperate.
  • We feel worn down by the other person's criticism, negativity, or irresponsible behavior.
  • We have been rejected or cut off, and the other person won't show up for the conversation.
  • We are struggling with staying or leaving, and we don't know our "bottom line."
  • We are convinced that we've tried everything -- and nothing changes.

Filled with compelling personal stories and case examples, Lerner outlines bold new "voice lessons" that show us how to speak with honor and personal integrity, even when the other person behaves badly.

Whether we're dealing with a partner, parent, sister, or best friend, The Dance of Connection teaches us how to navigate our most important relationships with clarity, courage, and joyous conviction.


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User Review  - write2luv - Borders

Pros: I feel that this book is as awesome as The Dance of Anger there's so much to learn about communication Cons: If you're not married then that chapter really doens't apply, etc. I just totally ... Read full review

Review: The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate

User Review  - Jo Rhett - Goodreads

This is a fantastic book that ignores hefty psych talk and gets down and dirty with the details of communication. Everyone should read this book. Warning: she avoids needless details, but her advice ... Read full review


Back to the Sandbox
Voice Lessons from My Father
To Thine Own Self Be True
Wheres Your Bottom Line?

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Popular passages

Page 73 - When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
Page 6 - ... can know, beforehand, everything I need to tell you. It means that most of the time I am eager, longing for the possibility of telling you. That these possibilities may seem frightening, but not destructive to me. That I feel strong enough to hear your tentative and groping words. That we both know we are trying, all the time, to extend the possibilities of truth between us.
Page 60 - I do recognize that the devil we know is better than the devil we don't know.
Page xiv - I recently heard a story. Two little kids are playing together in a sandbox in the park with their pails and shovels. Suddenly a huge fight breaks out, and one of them runs away, screaming, "I hate you! I hate you!
Page 199 - To refuse to take on an identity defined by one's worst deeds is a healthy act of resistance. If Ron's identity as a person is equated with his violent acts, he won't accept responsibility or access genuine feelings of sorrow and remorse, because to do so would threaten him with feelings of worthlessness.
Page 45 - And it's painful watching you go through this because I love you so much. But we need to get other people involved, because I can't do it all by myself.
Page 41 - I watched, fascinated, as male stoicism combined with English reserve produced a decidedly unfemalelike encounter. They laughed, they told stories, they argued about movies, they reminisced. Neither mentioned the hospital, their worries or their affection for each other. They didn't need to.
Page 48 - Sooner or later harsh experience teaches us how much we need each other. The only aspect of either that's really shameful is the persistent and false societal belief that people can bootstrap their way to health, wealth, and happiness.
Page 29 - Karr defines a dysfunctional family as "any family with more than one person in it.

About the author (2009)

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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