Is It You or Is It Me?: How We Turn Our Emotions Inside Out and Blame Each Other

Scott Wetzler, Author, Diane Cole, Author, Diane Cole, Joint Author
Scott Wetzler, Author, Diane Cole, Author, Diane Cole, Joint Author HarperCollins $22 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-018743-9
Paperback - 276 pages - 978-0-06-093029-5
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""Romantic relationships always have and always will entail opening ourselves up,"" begin psychotherapist Wetzler and coauthor Cole. Wetzler (Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man) and Cole contend, however, that the 1990s are characterized by a fear of making ourselves vulnerable, resulting in ""the emergence of a special pathology"" in romantic relationships. Working with individual adults and couples, Wetzler sees an increasingly common inability to tolerate uncomfortable emotions and projection of those emotions onto the partner. The answer to the question posed by the title, according to the authors, is always ""me."" For example, even if someone is behaving abusively toward another person, the abused person may accept and rationalize the abuse owing to a lack of self-worth and other painful feelings. This ""inside-out dynamic"" is played out repeatedly until the patient uncovers his or her own inner demons and achieves ""insight"" (into who is really doing what in the relationship), ""mastery"" (of their own emotions and behavior) and ""tolerance"" (for uncomfortable feelings of anxiety, anger, ambivalence or disappointment). Through many case studies, the authors illustrate common ""mutual projections"" in romantic relationships, offer insight into typical differences between male and female concerns and provide practical advice for disagreeing and setting boundaries. The result is an unusually clear and useful guide to healthy adult relationships. (June)
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