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Why does talk in families so often go in circles, leaving us tied up in knots? Linguist Deborah Tannen reveals why talk among adult family members so often leads to arguments and hurt feelings. Learn to separate the word meaning, or ‘message’ from the heart meaning, or ‘metamessage’ – the unstated but powerful meaning that comes from the history of our relationships in the family, where our hopes for being understood and our experience of criticism can painfully meet. Using real conversations from the lives of real people, Tannen shows us how talk in a family is a high-wire act as we balance connection and power, struggling to get close without giving up our freedom. By helping us understand what conversations in the family really mean, she shows how to improve relationships with family members throughout our lives.


Presenting real conversations from people's lives, Tannen reveals what is actually going on in family talk.
This book is full of clarity and common sense which is what you need for the minefield of emotionally charged familial situations.
This powerful book will be of use to anyone who has ever struggled within a family relationship.