HARRIET LERNER QUOTES

psychologist & author (1944- )

Anger is neither legitimate nor illegitimate, meaningful nor pointless. Anger simply is. To ask, "Is my anger legitimate?" is similar to asking, "Do I have the right to be thirsty? After all, I just had a glass of water fifteen minutes ago. Surely my thirst is not legitimate. And besides, what's the point of getting thirsty when I can't get anything to drink now, anyway?" Anger is something we feel. It exists for a reason and always deserves our respect and attention. We all have a right to everything we feel--and certainly our anger is no exception.

HARRIET LERNER, The Dance of Anger

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The happiest people are focused on living their own life (not someone else's) as well as possible.

HARRIET LERNER, Twitter post, January 2, 2015

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Tags: happiness


Anger is a signal, and one worth listening to.

HARRIET LERNER, The Dance of Anger

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Tags: anger


The strongest relationships are between two people who can live without each other but don't want to.

HARRIET LERNER, Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up

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Tags: relationships


Fear has never helped anybody make good choices. It leads to clinging when we should be walking.

HARRIET LERNER, "The Top 10 Reasons Women Re-Marry The Wrong Guys", Huffington Post, July 7, 2012

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The rush of sexual attraction can act like a drug and blur our capacity for clear thinking. This can lead us to distance ourselves from our friends or even abandon our life plan for someone who couldn't otherwise be relied on to water our plants and feed our cat.

HARRIET LERNER, "The Top 10 Reasons Women Re-Marry The Wrong Guys", Huffington Post, July 7, 2012

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If you want a recipe for relationship failure, just wait for the other person to change first.

HARRIET LERNER, Twitter post, May 4, 2014

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Tags: change


Nothing you say can ensure that the other person will get it, or respond the way you want. You may never exceed his threshold of deafness.

HARRIET LERNER, The Dance of Connection

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Marriage is the lightning rod that absorbs anxiety and stress from all other sources, past and present. When marriage has a firm foundation of solid friendship and mutual respect, it can tolerate a fair amount of raw emotion. A good fight can clear the air, and it's nice to know we can survive conflict and even learn from it. Many couples, however, get trapped in endless rounds of fighting and blaming that they don't know how to get out of. When fights go unchecked and unrepaired, they can eventually erode love and respect, which are the bedrock of any successful relationship.

HARRIET LERNER, Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up

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Kids want nothing more than for all the important adults in their life to get along.

HARRIET LERNER, Twitter post, December 24, 2014

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The miracle is that your children will love you with all your imperfections if you can do the same for them.

HARRIET LERNER, attributed, Mothering Without a Map

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Judging people for whom they love (a same sex partner) rather than by whom they harm, should in itself merit a psychiatric diagnosis.

HARRIET LERNER, Twitter post, December 20, 2013

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Many marriages would be saved if we would only listen with the same passion that we feel about wanting to be heard.

HARRIET LERNER, Twitter post, February 8, 2014

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Throughout evolutionary history, anxiety and fear have helped every species to be wary and to survive. Fear can signal us to act, or, alternatively, to resist the impulse to act. It can help us to make wise, self-protective choices in and out of relationships where we might otherwise sail mindlessly along, ignoring signs of trouble.

HARRIET LERNER, Fear and Other Uninvited Guests

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Tags: fear


Fear is a message--sometimes helpful, sometimes not--but often conveying critical information about our beliefs, our needs, and our relationship to the world around us.

HARRIET LERNER, Fear and Other Uninvited Guests

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Don't count on the power of your love or your nagging to create something that wasn't there to begin with.

HARRIET LERNER, Twitter post, December 9, 2014

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Whatever your sex fantasy is with your partner, consider it normal.

HARRIET LERNER, Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up

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Tags: sex


Your children are not little mirrors reflecting back the good or bad job you've done.

HARRIET LERNER, Twitter post, May 17, 2014

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Tags: children


No book or expert can protect us from the range of painful emotions that make us human.

HARRIET LERNER, The Dance of Connection

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Tags: emotion


Women ... have long been discouraged from the awareness and forthright expression of anger. Sugar and spice are the ingredients from which we are made. We are the nurturers, the soothers, the peacemakers, and the steadiers of rocked boats.

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

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Tags: women