[ kindle ] The Dance of AngerAuthor Harriet Lerner – Collateralloan.co

Anger is a signal and one worth listening to,writes Dr Harriet Lerner, in her renowned classic that has transformed the lives of millions of readers While anger deserves our attention and respect, women still learn to silence our anger, to deny it entirely, or to vent it in a way that leaves us feeling helpless and powerless In this engaging and eminently wise book, Dr Lerner teaches women to identify the true sources of our anger and to use anger as a powerful vehicle for creating lasting change


10 thoughts on “The Dance of Anger

  1. Skylar Burris Skylar Burris says:

    I recently heard a sermon on anger at my church When I saw the sermon topic printed in the bulletin, I felt reluctant I expected to hear what you sometimes do in Christian circles, that anger is bad and one should avoid becoming angry I was not eager to hear this message, as I had been feeling strong anger about some personal injuries I had experienced, but I prayed I would receive the message with an open mind The rector, however, said nothing of anger being either bad or good he said, rat I recently heard a sermon on anger at my church When I saw the sermon topic printed in the bulletin, I felt reluctant I expected to hear what you sometimes do in Christian circles, that anger is bad and one should avoid becoming angry I was not eager to hear this message, as I had been feeling strong anger about some personal injuries I had experienced, but I prayed I would receive the message with an open mind The rector, however, said nothing of anger being either bad or good he said, rather, that our anger reveals what we truly value We become angry, he observed, when something happens that does not match up with the way we think the world SHOULD be This insight remained in the back of my mind as I read Harriet Lerner s Dance of Anger Anger, says Learner, is neither bad or good it simply IS But our expression of anger can be and often is ineffectual We become engaged in a dance of anger with our spouses, parents, children, co workers, and others rather than using that energy to clearly define our values and take action to get for ourselves what we need We tend, she says, to see people rather than patterns as the problem To break ineffective patterns, which are often perpetuated by the way we either express or repress our anger, we need instead to use our anger to affect change Rather than wasting our energy trying to change the opinions and values and actions of other people, over which we have no actual control, we should use our energy to clearly determine and state our own values and what action we will take on our own behalf to resolve our own problems The objective is not to be manipulative, however We also need to identify the true and sometimes multiple sources of our anger so that it is not misplaced This requires changing old, familiar patterns in relationships and can therefore be difficult or frightening for any or all parties involved Much in The Dance of Anger resonated with me, and the basic premise is useful, but I was initially put off by the feminist thrust of the opening pages Dr Lerner seemed to define expressions of angerin terms of sex roles, societal oppression of women, and the like rather than in terms of individual personality and life circumstances, which seems to me to have as much to do with how people express or repress anger as gender does Indeed, I think in romantic relationships, at least that perhaps men just as often fail to admit their anger and resentment for fear of jeopardizing a relationship as do women It was ironic to read Lerner s suggestion that it s not useful to worry about who is to blame for a given situation, and then later to read her response to a question in a particular situation Was Melisa, then, the cause of the problem Of course not If Melissa had been in an institution where women were truly empowered and where she, as a female, was not a numerically scarce commodity at the top, her behavior would have been quite different In fact, research indicates that women who hold positions of authority in male dominated settings are not able to clearly define their own selves These sorts of mini feminist rants, even when I didn t disagree with them, occasionally distracted me from the author s overall thesis Fortunately, they are brief and widely dispersed Another caution I have is that she speaks a lot of deselfing, and although I certainly think this sort of thing does go on for women and yes, even sometimes men too , there is a fine line here that must be walked, between refusing to deself one s self and simply being SELFISH And that s a line that can be very blurry for a lot of people, myself included I think Dr Learner s advice may have a tendency to push some women over onto the selfish side of that line In her outlook, there is very little moral judgment necessary Feelings just are, and women just need to figure out what s best for them, personally, and take action to resolve their own problems and satisfy their own needs Maybe I am selfish, but seems to be a refrain Really, what s wrong with taking the time to contemplate whether or not our guilt is, in fact, telling us we re being selfish, rather than simply overcoming it and moving on to realize our needs for ourselves And if we can really learn to live with our feelings of guilt in order to fulfill our needs, couldn t we just as easily learn to live with our feelings of anger and resentment in order to fulfill the needs of other people And, if so, which SHOULD we do I don t think these sorts of questions can be so easily dismissed Perhaps the guilt anger dilemma is so difficult for me because of my religious background Christianity emphasizes not just sins of action but sins of the heart You have heard it said, don t commit adultery, but I say, don t even lust You have heard it said, don t murder, but I say, don t even be angry with your brother without a cause And so forth It s not that Christianity claims anger itself is wrong rather, Be angry, yet sin not it s just that it s sometimes difficult for me to tell when anger morphs into sinful expressions of anger, or when anger is justified and when it is without a cause So I found this book quite fascinating because, given my religious confusion, the dance of anger has been a particularly difficult issue for me Selflessnes some might even go so far as to say something not terribly unlike deselfing and peace are both seen as virtues in Christianity, and yet, there also exists the traditional Christian concept of the virtue of righteous anger a concept perhaps too much de emphasized in modern times What Learner did for me in this book was to focus my mind on a different and probablyuseful question not, is my anger GOOD or BAD, but, rather, is my anger ACCOMPLISHING anything positive And, if not, how can I USE it to accomplish something positive This, I felt, was a helpful mental re direction for me


  2. Elyse Walters Elyse Walters says:

    Read this years ago my older daughter too Absolutely valuable The authors new book out this year sounds evenpowerful.


  3. Ladiibbug Ladiibbug says:

    A Life Changing Book Read years ago This book made a huge impact on my life, and changed my life dramatically for the better.The Dance of Anger, recommended by a therapist, will show the reader how to express anger and deal with anger being directed toward you without yelling, screaming, name calling, etc.This was literally the first clue I ever got about how to express anger in a calm way and to actually RESOLVE an issue, without constantly exploding over it, or being the explodee A Life Changing Book Read years ago This book made a huge impact on my life, and changed my life dramatically for the better.The Dance of Anger, recommended by a therapist, will show the reader how to express anger and deal with anger being directed toward you without yelling, screaming, name calling, etc.This was literally the first clue I ever got about how to express anger in a calm way and to actually RESOLVE an issue, without constantly exploding over it, or being the explodee


  4. Kathrynn Kathrynn says:

    I think this author produced a well thought out book It focuses on helping women move away from unproductive anger and learning to be angry with positive, effective results.There is a section on women who don t allow themselves to be angry that I didn t spend much time on because never felt I wasn t allowed to be angry There is another portion on de selfing which involves a person male female allowing another in their relationship to walk all over them and I didn t spent much time on thi I think this author produced a well thought out book It focuses on helping women move away from unproductive anger and learning to be angry with positive, effective results.There is a section on women who don t allow themselves to be angry that I didn t spend much time on because never felt I wasn t allowed to be angry There is another portion on de selfing which involves a person male female allowing another in their relationship to walk all over them and I didn t spent much time on this, either A case was presented in which a woman was not allowed to attend the author s anger workshop because her husband said no The author presented several real cases then proceeded to explain how she helped the person or persons work through their anger issues There was a couple that had problem s with the husbands parents and the husband did not deal with the issue while the wife becameandirate Interesting way to handle it however, I am a firm believer that it is the responsibility of the person related to handle his her family, not the spouse There was a young new mother who had repeated conflicts with her over controlling mother that escalated when the two mom s parenting styles clashed I m not sure I agree with how that was handled, either There was a couple that the wife thought their infant was not developing properly and the husband blew off her thoughts, which caused the wife to focusintently on her point s and the husband to back further away This went on for almost a year I thought she made a good point in that when one pushes hard in a certain direction the other can often push even harder the opposite directionhowever, it bugged me that she suggested that if the woman had waited until the man wasreceptive like after snuggling , i.e., sex then approached him with her concerns, he may have acted differently Yikes, timing is important, but dang There was another couple that complained that the man was uninvolved in the family and the woman was too emotional and too involved in the children s lives I did not care for her resolution here and thought she missed the boat completely by not suggesting the couple were and had grown apart and that they needed to work on their relationship and focus on reconnecting As it was, the husband dreaded coming home for fear she would hound him about her day In any event, the author does open the door of thought to help guide disruptive anger For me, there was not much that I haven t already figured out in my almost 50 years of age, but for someone younger or still struggling there may be some good suggestions found in this book about focusing on productive anger I hoped it offered tidbits on helping bitter, angry people work through their issues and that wasn t between the pages of this read One thing worth mentioning that I had not realized There isn t one unflattering term used to describe men who vent their anger at women Women are called bitches, shrews, man haters, witches, etc while men are called bastards, son of a bitch words that still place the blame on his mother Well, how about that


  5. Kathie M Kathie M says:

    I know my friends are sick of hearing about her, but Harriet Lerner is a genius and my own personal guru from afar I never really thought I d read a self help book especially one on relationships, eek , but I ve re read this one three times at different points in my life The books there s a Dance series are easy to read, her case studies are good because the examples are ones that everyone can find in their own lives, and her advice is really sound The basic premise is that if you re unha I know my friends are sick of hearing about her, but Harriet Lerner is a genius and my own personal guru from afar I never really thought I d read a self help book especially one on relationships, eek , but I ve re read this one three times at different points in my life The books there s a Dance series are easy to read, her case studies are good because the examples are ones that everyone can find in their own lives, and her advice is really sound The basic premise is that if you re unhappy in any relationship, romantic or otherwise, you re the one who has to change things, that you re wasting your time if you re trying to change someone else And she gives good ways, really specific ways to do that Anyway, I just think she s brilliant and I actually enjoy reading the books Just give em a try


  6. K K says:

    Wow This was a really great book, one which I appreciated on both a personal and a professional level Written in a deceptively simple self help pop psych style, this book had the advantages of being highly readable, practical, and almost entertaining, appealing to a lay audience At the same time, this book was based on solid Bowen theory and was far from superficial or facile This book clarified a lot of things for me that I ve been working on with my supervisor, and has been helping me func Wow This was a really great book, one which I appreciated on both a personal and a professional level Written in a deceptively simple self help pop psych style, this book had the advantages of being highly readable, practical, and almost entertaining, appealing to a lay audience At the same time, this book was based on solid Bowen theory and was far from superficial or facile This book clarified a lot of things for me that I ve been working on with my supervisor, and has been helping me functioneffectively as a therapist It has also been eye opening for me in giving me a new way to look at many of the different relationships within my own family.One minor difficulty I have with the book is that its thesis could potentially justify a lot of selfish behavior The basic premise of the book which I am greatly oversimplifying for the purposes of this review is that people need to accept responsibility for their own behavior and reactions within a relationship, and work on changing those things rather than on changing the other person Sounds good, right But a corollary to that is not allowing someone with expectations of you to make you feel guilty, because their expectations are THEIR problem, not yours an attitude which might be taken too far.Although Lerner attempted to provide a balanced view, I felt that her feminist agenda caused her to err on the side of empowering women to put their own needs first For example, she described the case of a woman with a needy, demanding 72 year old father As a therapist, she helped this woman shift from complaining about her father s behavior to evaluating her own how could she set new limits with her father which would allow her to give to him without feeling resentful Happily, Katy s decision was one which I actually felt was reasonable she told her father she could only meet him for dinner twice a week instead of three times a week, and that she could shop for him once a week but not on an on call basis I liked the balance in this particular example Katy didn t abdicate her responsibilities as a daughter she simply found a way to continue giving that she could live with better However, I felt that the idea of setting limits in a relationship was emphasized farthan the aspect of finding limits that allow you to continue giving I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand relationships better, and their own functioning in relationships It s a quick, easy read but not a superficial one and great for discussion


  7. Jeremy Jeremy says:

    Helpful book Guys may be turned off due to the subtitle A Woman s Guide , but Lerner s principles aptly apply to men too Also, anger may be the topic, but a healthier relationship is the goal She helps break down how anger, instead of causing endless cycles of frustration, can be used as a tool to deepen our relationships with loved ones and to better understand our true selves.Some stuff Lerner discusses misconceptions of anger ch 1 marital discord and breaking the cycle ch 3 also Helpful book Guys may be turned off due to the subtitle A Woman s Guide , but Lerner s principles aptly apply to men too Also, anger may be the topic, but a healthier relationship is the goal She helps break down how anger, instead of causing endless cycles of frustration, can be used as a tool to deepen our relationships with loved ones and to better understand our true selves.Some stuff Lerner discusses misconceptions of anger ch 1 marital discord and breaking the cycle ch 3 also reminds me of Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs asserting yourself taking responsibility in relationships ch 7 communication skills developing your identity relational triangles ch 8


  8. Angie Angie says:

    This book has been quoted to me for many years and my boss recently recommended it It is one of the first self help books on the topic and it took years of rejection for Harriet Lerner to get it published While it is targeted to women, it applies to everyone I liked the opportunity to use anger to define self and I appreciated the context of societal roles by gender even though I tend to bemasculine in my expression of anger.The best part about the book is the simple how to examples o This book has been quoted to me for many years and my boss recently recommended it It is one of the first self help books on the topic and it took years of rejection for Harriet Lerner to get it published While it is targeted to women, it applies to everyone I liked the opportunity to use anger to define self and I appreciated the context of societal roles by gender even though I tend to bemasculine in my expression of anger.The best part about the book is the simple how to examples of how every relationship is a dance and the only way to change the dance is to change YOUR steps The advice to prepare for Change Back reactions was very helpful and I loved how it was all about speaking in I terms and being realistic about the fact that you can change YOU but changing other people is an exercise in futility For those with a short attention span, you will be happy to hear that the book can be read in one day.Many self help books are downers but this was light enough that it felt realistic to implement some of the changes Unlike Oprah s challenge to LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE This felt like something I could accomplish If you often feel overwhelmed by the maintenance of relationships, this book may help you set boundaries.My favorite passage from the book is this, If we do not know about our family history, we arelikely to repeat past patterns or mindlessly rebel against them, without much clarity about who we really are, how we are similar to and different from other family members , and how we might best proceed in our own life


  9. Nastja Nastja says:

    This book was recommended to me by a therapist who supervises our group of counsellors He told us that this book is incredibly helpful not only to his clients but also to mental health professionals who want to gain a better understanding of relationship problems and how to deal with them I was intrigued and decided to remember the title, so I could read the book and find some useful information on how to counsel people with relationship and anger issues For some reason I really didn t think This book was recommended to me by a therapist who supervises our group of counsellors He told us that this book is incredibly helpful not only to his clients but also to mental health professionals who want to gain a better understanding of relationship problems and how to deal with them I was intrigued and decided to remember the title, so I could read the book and find some useful information on how to counsel people with relationship and anger issues For some reason I really didn t think this book would be a truly useful read for myself I have no idea why I was deceiving myself in such a way, because I found some really great explanations, quotes, thoughts and examples that are relatable, easy to understand and very necessary to analyze and remember I started noticing some patterns in my own behaviour and in that of my closest ones, and the relationships we have Anger truly is one of the most complex emotions to understand, and expressing it in a healthy way is an even bigger challenge I hope I will be able to break some patterns and habits, for my own sake as well as for others Luckily my self monitoring skills are getting better by the day, so I m very optimistic.I do have to say that one of the examples in the book didn t sit well with me at all I even felt a bit of anger while reading it The case I m talking about is the one where the father of the family has a lot of fights with his son, whereas the mother tends to be the one protecting the son creating a triangle where nothing gets solved and the problems persist The solution the author offers is basically this the mother has to trust her husband, distance herself from the fights between father and son, not criticize the father s raising methods and thus break the habit of being in a relationship triangle The problem is after mother has done that, the father starts punishing his child by beating him with a belt The author, however, doesn t seem to see this as a problem she even says that as long as there is no violence, the mother can stay away So how is using a belt to beat your child as a form of punishment not considered violence I was truly appalled by this example I really don t think it fits well with the concept of the book or any of the other examples everyone else is equal to each other, they re adults and there is really no need for relationship triangles and a third person having a say in a relationship between two equal adults who can make decision for themselves, even if the decision is to leave the relationship Here, however, we have a 8 year old child, who by no means is an equal to his father, nor does he have a clear understanding of what is normal in a relationship with an adult The parents are setting an example for him, and if the example is that one of the parents distances themselves from problematic situations, whereas the other uses his dominant position as a means of asserting his power even , punishing the child and treating in an unacceptable way, it is a very fucking bad example Yes, the relationship between the father and the son is personal and they have to communicate, but I think that removing the mother from the equation is a very wrong step at this point The fights can get even bigger, because the father might feel that he has gained absolute power and nobody will stop him from doing whatever he wants, especially his son who is fuckin 8 YEARS OLD This is not an equal relationship where two parties will solve their problems on their own The parents have to communicate, the mother has the right to express her opinion on the other parent s punishment methods, and the child should not be left alone like that In the future, the child will resent his mother for not speaking up and leaving the father and the son to figure their relationship out on their own Let them figure it out when BOTH of them are able to do that, when BOTH are able to express their true opinions and know what their boundaries are The child might not yet be aware of all of this at such a young age They need adults protection and support This example was so wrong to me on so many levels that my opinion of the book was really under attack at that point.Overall, I still really recommend reading it, but please remember that children are not on the same level as adults and should not be left alone they still need the support and the advice of adults


  10. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    constantly re reading this one since 2004.seriously this is a great book to keep on your bookshelves amongst literary fiction and a few aesthetically pleasing picture booksit really makes people do a double take even though they d never admit it I actually love how awfully self help this book looks.If you get in fights with your mother or your partner or strangers and maybe sometimes the fights stay in your head this is the book for you.If I were a dancer I d totally choreograph T constantly re reading this one since 2004.seriously this is a great book to keep on your bookshelves amongst literary fiction and a few aesthetically pleasing picture booksit really makes people do a double take even though they d never admit it I actually love how awfully self help this book looks.If you get in fights with your mother or your partner or strangers and maybe sometimes the fights stay in your head this is the book for you.If I were a dancer I d totally choreograph The Dance of Anger and showcase it in some wretched performance art loft space because that would be hilarious.Just thinking of that makes me think maybe I ll start working on dance, and making friends who squat in abandoned lofts just to make that possible