This morning, not long ago, I opened an e-mail from an organisation that I regularly get. I didn’t have anything in mind for today’s post, but I want to reflect on this quote throughout the day. The quote is from Harriet Lerner who is best known for her work on marriage and couples, parenting, and the psychology of women. I’m presuming the quote is from her Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships, first published in 1985. Her most recent book is Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up, which came out in 2012. I haven’t read any of her books, but have had her 2001 publication The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate in my book basket for a good number of years now. The content of the book articulates a skills set I’ve been slowly working to acquire.
“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 and 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 being compromised in a relationship. Our anger may be a signal that we are doing more and giving more than we can comfortably do or give. Or our anger may warn us that others are doing too much for us, at the expense of our own competence and growth… Our anger can motivate us to say “no” to the ways in which we are defined by others and “yes” to the dictates of our inner self.”
~ Harriet Lerner