I just finished reading “The Dance of Intimacy” by Harriet Lerner – renowned author and lecturer on female psychology.
Here are six excerpts that can change the way you “dance” with others -
“When we take responsibility for another person, in contrast to taking a responsible position in that relationship, we are operating at that person’s expense.”
“The degree to which we can be clear with our first family about who we are, what we believe, and where we stand on important issues will strongly influence the level of “independence” or emotional maturity that we bring to other relationships.”
“Change requires courage, but the failure to change does not signify the lack of it.”
“All of us have deeply ambivalent feelings about change. We seek the wisdom of others when we are not making full use of our own and then we resist applying the wisdom that we do seek even when we’re paying for it. We do this not because we are neurotic or cowardly, but because both the will to change and the desire to maintain sameness coexist for good reason. Both are essential to our emotional well-being and equally deserve our attention and respect.”
“Anxiety continues to be a key concept in understanding how stuck our relationships will get, how resistant we (and others) will be to change, and how much change can actually be tolerated. We have seen how anxiety locks us into polarized positions in relationships, blocking productive communication and problem solving, and making intimacy impossible to achieve. Anxiety hits us from all directions, moving vertically down the generations and horizontally as we pass through life-cycle events and just plain hard times. … A particular subject may itself carry so much anxiety that it is difficult to discuss in an open and respectful way. If a topic feels too hot to handle, we may opt for silence at the expense of authentic connectedness – or we may feel we have to make a choice between having a relationship and being a self.”
“Intimacy requires a clear self, relentless self-focus, open communication, and a profound respect for differences. It requires the capacity to stay emotionally connected to significant others during anxious times, while taking a clear position for self, based on one’s values, beliefs, and principles.”