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The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  15,203 Ratings  ·  474 Reviews
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. It contains an inspirational message for all women, regardless of their age, background, or life experience. Like a family heirloom, it can be passed from generation to generation, as it is based on profound and lasting truths. --Peggy Papp, ...more
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Published October 1st 1986 by Harper Row (first published 1985)
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Elyse
Feb 27, 2017 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this years ago ... my older daughter too.
Absolutely valuable....
The authors new book out this year sounds even more powerful.
Skylar Burris
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 ...more
Ladiibbug
Oct 18, 2008 Ladiibbug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
** 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"
...more
Kathrynn
Oct 18, 2008 Kathrynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathrynn by: Ladiibbug
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
...more
Kathie M
Dec 11, 2007 Kathie M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who feels like they're stuck and can stomach a self-help book
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 ...more
K
May 25, 2008 K rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bowen therapists; women who want to improve their family relationships
Recommended to K by: Nechama Ginzberg
Shelves: professionallit
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
...more
Jeremy
Aug 08, 2011 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: relationships
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
...more
Angie
Mar 10, 2011 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 be more "masculine" in my expression of anger.

The best part about the book is the simple how-to examples o
...more
Rebecca
Apr 25, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rebecca by: Daniel
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 books...it 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
...more
Dana
Mar 07, 2008 Dana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: get-over-it
Excellent book for women of all walks to read!! It's not what it sounds like. I know we all are programmed away from anger. Anger is BAAAAAAD, right? Well, this is one of Harriet Lerner's fabulous books that teaches women how to use our emotions in a positive way to get our needs met. It's a book about boundaries and using our anger...recognizing it as a gps system. Our anger is valid and it is always telling us something.

This is not a book about venting or blowing off steam. It's a book about
...more
Rebecca Waring-Crane
A gem of a read especially for any woman who has ever been told, "You shouldn't feel that way!"

"Anger is a signal, and one worth listening to. Our anger may be a message that we are being hurt, that our rights are being violated, that our needs or wants are not being adequately met, or simply that something is not right. Our anger may tell us that we are not addressing an important emotional issue in our lives, or that too much of our self -- our beliefs, values, desires, or ambitions -- is bei
...more
Jess
Jun 20, 2012 Jess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
When I started reading this, I couldn't put it down. I would recommend this book to pretty much everyone I meet. I read this book at least 3 years ago, and the lessons I learned from it on how to handle relationship issues and family drama I still recall and use now.

Although the book is written for a female target audience, the whole thing is applicable to people of both genders. Lerner does a fantastic job at including scenarios that are relevant to everyone, no matter how old they are, whether
...more
Angela
Jan 09, 2009 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
This is a great book for anyone who's ever been, currently or will be angry with someone else. It will teach you how to better communicate your anger in more effective ways so that you can produce favorable results. In addition, it will teach you how to change your own behavior to influence someone else's behavior. Harriet's breakdown of the coveted triangle, where a third person becomes involved with a relationship between two other people, is helpful because it is applicable to everyone. Be wa ...more
Chris
Apr 14, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book and a worthwhile read for women and men. From my own experience, I was battling my ex for over a year to get our divorce settled. After I read the book, I changed my approach from being more emotional and pursuing, to being more cool and detached. Within 3 weeks, we had our divorce settlement finalized and signed by lawyers. Why? Because the book taught me that if I want the opposite reaction of my partner, I had to do the opposite of what she was doing. And it worked perfectly!
Jessica
Apr 03, 2017 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by a therapist I really found this book useful. I could see myself returning to it at several points in my life. The section about the "de-selfing" we do in relationships in our lives was especially important. Might buy a copy so that I can annotate it later.
Ev
Nov 28, 2015 Ev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hesitated to let the Goodreads world know I read this book. But, if it encourages others to read "self-help" books, then why not.

I used "self-help" in quotes, because our relationships with ourselves affect those all around us. The topic of anger has been on my mind for a couple of months now, particularly how it is feminized.

Dr. Lerner's book is insightful and enlightening; an "open book", in every sense of the term. She succinctly demonstrates how we all - man, woman, child; intimate partner
...more
D
Jan 26, 2014 D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks interested in psychology and self-improvement
Recommended to D by: Rikka Stewart
just a fascinating look at anger -- what it represents, how it manifests itself (often negatively), and its constructive use.

lerner's voice is compassionate, her point of view feminist, her information solid, and her advice instructive. she particularly examines women's anger, viewing it within established relationships, not as destructive in and of itself but, rather, as a sign that something within the relationship needs to change.

she discusses identifying the root causes of anger, understand
...more
Lisa King
I first read this book several years ago and it really helped me establish boundaries with family, friends and coworkers. It took time and persistence on my part but I did it and am a much happier person because of my efforts. Reviewing the book and its wisdom every now is a great idea.

We humans love our routines. They make us feel safe because they are familiar. If it’s not broke, why fix it? Sometimes it really is broken and our anger signals this fact. It is up to us to change our own behavio
...more
Kassandra
Mar 02, 2011 Kassandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Self help books normally make me want to vomit. Or at least squirm uncomfortably. This book I can honestly recommend without reserve. It gives real and practical advice on conflict. I think that the title is some what misleading as you don't have to have a problem with anger to get something out of this book. It sort of addresses that when she talks about how there are people who express anger externally and those who internalize. Either way, this book is very readable and gave me a lot of insig ...more
Kayla Perry
Jan 05, 2014 Kayla Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, self-help
This book has changed my life for the better. Never have I found an easier-to-read, well-written, and relatable self-help book like this one. There's no ridiculous premise of giving you ten steps to solve all your problems immediately, rather, she gives you an over-arching philosophy (you're the only one who can change how you feel/react to something that upsets you) to use throughout your life. She doesn't command you to do exercises (god, I hate the ones that do that) and her tone isn't the le ...more
Aerin
Mar 03, 2010 Aerin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
I read this after Dance of Intimacy, and they are somewhat similar. However. I do think this one focuses more on the feelings of anger and how we react to them. As with "Intimacy", I think it is useful for both men and women. When I first saw this book, even though I read and loved Intimacy, I thought, "Anger? I don't need this book, I'm not an angry person." But, was I wrong. This book addresses both extremes, as well as states in between: giving into anger and emotion, or squashing it because ...more
khrome
Jun 19, 2011 khrome rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
There was a lot of good tips in this book, but they were buried within stories that were full of repetitious points. The writing style is what made this book hard to read. Most sections started with a story where I felt it should have started with a summary of the lesson to be learned. I found myself saying "get to the point" a lot, and having to take a lot of breaks, whereas other well-organized psychology books kept me engaged. Otherwise, very good info if you can wade through it.
Cathy
Oct 29, 2009 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the only self-help books I thought was... helpful. Don't remember the details after 20 years but the basic idea really stuck. Don't expect someone else to change, you have to do it. And if you do, expect a reaction. The book deals with all sorts of relationships, mom/child, husband/wife, boss/employee, etc.
Mr. Stauffer
May 26, 2015 Mr. Stauffer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this book is clearly written for women, it was recommended to me by a friend who said it was life changing. I really think this book goes beyond gender for people who want to address the root of their own anger and how to address it as it comes up.
Debra Moffitt
Aug 02, 2011 Debra Moffitt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books on comprehending anger. It has insights that are not psycho-babble, but very real and human. I loved this book. It gave me good insights into the inner workings of how we relate as humans.
Canan
May 10, 2016 Canan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
olabildiğince anlaşılır, olabildiğince etkili bir kitap. Psikolojik danışman olduğumdan okurken danışanlara önerilebilecek bir kitap olarak listeme ekledim. Kadın olmak, öfkeyi hissetmek ve ilişkiler üzerine defalarca okunabilir
Gwen (The Gwendolyn Reading Method)
I'm not much into self help books because many of them are just cons to sell books. This book, however, is excellent. Written by a Ph.D, it contains a lot of solid psychology. Totally helped me unscrew my screwy hangups about anger and bitterness.
Becky Roper
An interesting look at how we interact when we are angry. It had lots of examples which made it easier to understand the point. I gained a few insights, but got tired and skimmmed the last 1/4 of the book.
Skaistė
Mar 20, 2015 Skaistė rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Puiki knyga, suteikianti daug vertingos ir naudingos informacijos, pateikianti aiškius, gyvenimiškus atvejus, kuriuose galima rasti šį tą sau naudingo. Rekomenduoju perskaityti visiems, ne tik moterims.
Anne
Nov 09, 2016 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Listened to it on audio and plan to listen multiple times. It makes so much sense to see anger as a futile way to try to gain power and control in a male dominated world. I want to behave in the straightforward, no-nonsense way that she describes.
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Harriet Lerner was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the second of two daughters. Her parents, Archie and Rose Goldhor, were both children of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. They were high school graduates who wanted their daughters to "be someone" at a time when women were only supposed to "find someone."

"Achievement was next to Godliness for my sister, Susan, and me." Harriet notes. "My f
...more
More about Harriet Lerner...

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“But one of the hallmarks of emotional maturity is to recognize the validity of multiple realities and to understand that people think, feel, and react differently. Often we behave as if “closeness” means “sameness.” 5 likes
“it is no wonder that it is hard for us to know, let alone admit, that we are angry. Why are angry women so threatening to others? If we are guilty, depressed, or self-doubting, we stay in place. We do not take action except against our own selves and we are unlikely to be agents of personal and social change. In contrast, angry women may change and challenge the lives of us all, as witnessed by the past decade of feminism. And change is an anxiety-arousing and difficult business for everyone, including those of us who are actively pushing for it. Thus, we too learn to fear our own anger, not only because it brings about the disapproval of others, but also because it signals the necessity for change. We may begin to ask ourselves questions that serve to block or invalidate our own experience of anger: “Is my anger legitimate?” “Do I have a right to be angry?” “What’s the use of my getting angry?” “What good will it do?” These questions can be excellent ways of silencing ourselves and shutting off our anger.” 5 likes
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