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Book report on


(New York: Random House, 1987)



Part I: Becoming a couple: The Power of the Past.

Part II: Lovers and other Third Parties: Emotional Triangles.

Part III: The Couple in Midstream: Marital Problems, Martial Solutions.

Part IV: Sexuality

Part V: The Child-launching Years: Time of Transformation.

Part VI: The Postparenting Phase: Reintegration.


An event reminded of her parent's divorce.

Room for an Interpreter (p.5)

Common assumption: Satisfying relationship between spouse come naturally.

Genograms: original family's problems re-emerge in new family.

reflects a widened context to see themselves.

Family Triangles: clarifying the important emotional triangles in which the partners may be involved and embedded. (p.7) A particular kind of triangle tends to repeat itself from generation to generation.

The Couples: many volunteers and patients are honest and brave.32/200

Some Answers: Range of patients; culture affects response.(p.10) according to "anthropologist Mark Zborowski's 1969 study, Irish and white Anglo-Saxon Protestant patients have a tendency to be stoic aboutpainful symptoms, while Italian and Jewish patients are far move emotiveand much readier to complain about them." quoted in p.10.

She doesn't concern ethnic factors, but are those basic psychological truths about intimate attachments which cut across social and economic dimensions.(p.11) Power struggle prevails.

The Marital Cycle (p.13f)

1.Idealization: Bretts. fantasies decrease, with pre-counselling.

2.Disappointment and disenchantment: Kearneys. Reality Vs Fantasy.

Normally, after 1st baby(p.14).eg Kearneys have 7 yrs old kid.

3.Productivity: Carranos. parenting & career building. (>14yrs)

Sense of mutuality Vs Disappointment. Sexual problems unsettled, and baffled by how to obtain answers.

Change: (p.16f)

"Change stirs deep anxiety." (p.16)

4.Redefinition and child launching: Gardiners (23yrs)

Daughter's secondary sexual char. appears--> life out of control.

a.Kids are in adolescent process of loosening their emotional ties to the caretaking parents.

b.Husband --*>the reappraisal of the self, imprisoned by his wife. (p.18)

5.Reintegration and post-parenting period: Sternbergs (27yrs)

Greater empathy, companionship & sharing (p.18)

Men's longevity: 2 yrs(1900s) extends to 15 yrs(Now) after youngest one's marriage.

True companions Vs Withdrawn from others. (p.19)

Being alone had been frightening --> mistrustful of the other.

"The desperate, hopeless effort to remake the past in the context of the current relationship had been abandoned, and the entire structure of the marriage had changed." (quoted in p.20)

Being Close, Being Different (p.20f) Marital infidelity is common: 50% married men engaged in intercourse **,p-p-p-**"
with outside partners, and the figure of married women is increasing. The most common motivator was marital dissatisfaction. This always a.happens in the disenchantment period, when the husband finds his wife's fundamental otherness (compared to his "girl of his dreams"). (p.20) This arouses a sense of betrayal from within. (p.21)

Revenge (through extramarital affairs) Vs Change the partner. b.Redefinition is the 2nd dangerous period.(midlife crisis)

Lost aspects of the perceived self surrendered to his partner.

Autonomous (I) Vs intimate (We)

"Intimate partners often perform this function for one another: experience and express what are actually the spouse's unacknowledged and repudiated emotions." quoted in p.23

Dealing methods: ch 11 Tasks.

Part I: Becoming a couple: The Power of the Past.

1. The Attraction (p.7)

*"qualities first attracted them to each other are usually the same ones that identified as sources of conflict." quoted in p.27

Case I: painful quarrel about Tom's relationship to his ex-girlfriend.

Tom is challenged by Laura's Honesty, openness; and He Challenged herby claiming never been emotionally open with any intimate friends. But he is not opened himself to Laura too! Because Tom had in fact been emotionally involved with his former girlfriend.(Karen) They were in fact fighting between more intimacy (Laura demanded) and more autonomy (Tom protected his past memory). The author suggest them to make a agreement: Laura is allowed to express all her feeling on the Karen's possible involvement with Tom at a particular time; and Tom must pay full attention to her. However, beyond that particular time, they are NOT allowed to talk about Karen. "Accusation have this effect: They define the parties concerned in the interaction and the nature of the interaction itself." quoted in p.35.*

Settling a Fight

A Struggle for Control of the Relationship

Writing the Marital Scenario p.36

The Sharing of Power p.37

Therapy Homework p.38

The Ghost of Karen p.39

2.Genograms (p.41) Where the Past and the Present Converge:

Reception p.44 fall in love with an illusion ? p.45

Themes of Early Life p.46

Familiar Relationships p.48

A Way of Being in an Intimate Relationship. p.51

The Familiar Relational World p.52

Shadow Relationships p.56

A Systemic Issue ? p.59

3.Autonomy and Intimacy (p.61)

Splitting the Conflict p.63

Projective Identification p.64 (project my feeling to my partner)

The Dreamer p.66

The Observer p.68

4.Love Itself (p.75) What is love ?

Awakening into Love p.76

Feelings of Security and Safety p.77

Prewired for Loving p.78**,p-p-p-**"* The Human Truth p.79

Early Sorrows p.80

The Beloved, Orienting Figure p.81 Separation anxiety in infants p.81

The Golden Fantasy p.82 : Some trait produces the parental love model.

"I wasn't There": Parental model.

"Where the Future Is More Exciting Than Terrifying" p.88 (summary p.90)

5.Happily Ever After (p.91)

When we marry, irrational hopes run high. p.93

"The Less Said the Better" p.93 She doubts "What Karen a current girlfriend ?" p.94

"I's Been Painful" p.96

"He Would Rather Be Free" p.97

"The Scary Places, in Between" p.99

"Open Marriage" p.100

"The Heartless Deceiver" p.102

Part II: Lovers and other Third Parties: Emotional Triangles.

6.Marriage as Systems (p.109)

Before under the influence of psychoanalysis, therapists think problems raised from within the individual only. p.109.

A Curious Truth p.110

The Self and the System p.111

schizophrenic patients become calm in hospital ,deranged at home.

A Human Sacrifice p.112

Treating "the system" p.113

The marriage is the patient p.115

multigenerational approach; interpersonal system. p.115

The trouble in the System p.115

Enlarging the Context p.116

Space within the System p.117

7.An Intimate System (p.118) Caretaker Vs Wounded

A Cross-Generational Coalition p.121

The Perverse Triangle p.122

Middle Siblings p.124

An Adopted Son p.125 : 3 sons are adopted.

Mothers p.127: know nothing about natural mothers

What a mother is like p.128

The Caretaker and the Wounded Bird p.130 Kearneys

The Role of the Caretaker p.132

An Emotional Deal p.133

Jo Ann's Vow p.133

Gordon's Vow p.134

"The Beginning of One of the Worst Years of Our Marriage" p.134

8.Marital Infidelity (p.136)

1950's Kinsey survey: 50% men & 26% women have extramarital sex !

The Extramarital Crisis p.137

Why Did it happen ? p.140

marital satisfaction and coital satisfaction are 2 major causes pp.140*1

Intimacy and Infidelity p.141

The Unfaithful Wife p.142

Mothers and Lovers p.143 Gordon Keaney's mistress is 8 yrs older.

The Injured Party p.146

Caretakers(feel guilt) and Wounded Birds(find fault). p.147 **,p-p-p-**"*"I kept getting the feeling that he was still seeing her" p.147

"How was I Inadequate?" p.149 : If she has similar quality as the woman, what does she lack of ?! p.149

The Party at Fault p.149

9.Emotional Triangles (p.151)

Family Triangles p.152

Why Triangles form p.153

Parents against child p.153

Three-Legged Tables p.155

Transient Triangles p.156

Family Lightning Rods p.156

The Stablizing Lover p.157

Before Nina p.158

"He'll never be responsible" p.158

"His willingness to listen" p.160

An adult, not a daughter p.161

"The Sexual Part has Been Amazing" p.162 After affair, doesn't like to have sex with his wife (can't become pregnant)

Lies p.164

Birthday Presents p.165

Messages p.166

Baby Makes Three p.168

The Latest Betrayer p.169

Rebellion p.171

A Breach in the Marital Contract p.171

Nina, as a Person p.172

The Warp and the Woof of the Relationship p.174

Maintaining Space p.175

Lying and Autonomay p.177

She puts the blame on the affair p.178

Something from the past p.179

Honeymooners p.181

Part III: The Couple in Midstream: Marital Problems, Martial Solutions.

10.Causes of Marital Problems (p.185)

*ÐWhat Marital Problems are made of : couples in collusion p.185

projective identification p.185. accept it, will heal.

The primary intimate relationship p.186

object relation theorists: nurturer + baby -->interpersonal & intrapersonal approach. between emotionally bonded people. p.187

The inner image of the beloved p.188

object relation = lover <--> the image of the beloved in his mind.

an internalized image (imagos, termed by Melanie Klein)

eg. cold father --*> impossible intimacy with men.

The Fantasy and the facts p.189

eg. A sick mother separate from her baby. (esp 1.5 yrs-->separation distress. In adult relationships, we will shape the intimate partner to a model that exists within uncounsciously. p.190.

The Self and the Other p.191

"According to psychoanalysts John Zinner and Roger Shapiro, projective identification is a defensive activity of the ego which seves to modify a peerson's perceptions of his intimate partner while -- in a reciprocal fashion -- altering his own image of ** himself."** quoted in p.191.*

The person doing the projective identification will simply refuse to hear communications which do not conform to the projection.p192 **,p-p-p-**"
Externalizing what is intolerable p.192

"I feel better when my husband hates me, than when I hate myself.""¯Ö* quoted in p.193*

A projective trade-off: An example of how an early attachment canaffect a later intimate commitment. p.193

The mates tend to fight, in each other, the disallowed and denied aspects of the self. p.194

A Conceptual Bridge p.194

Couples in Collusion p.195

"many marry precisely in an unconscious effort to resolve underlying intrapsychi difficulties. p.195

Virginia (suppress feeling) Vs David (outrage) : 2 polars

treatment: She "own" her feeling inside her. p.196 How?

The Reflection in the mirror p.197: we don't see our spouses.

Collusive arrangments p.197: the more he projects his repudiated,


intolerable feelings of dejection and sadness onto his wife, themore he is likely to dissociate his own self from them --and form


Ôher --as well."j* quoted in p.198.* Besides, she learned, early in her life, that itwould be impossible to be bboth independent and nurtured in anemotional relationship, and so it was necessary to choose one or theother. It is only when one becomes aware of the collusivearrangements that couples make that it becomes apparent that there


Ôare no victims and villains in marriage. quoted in p.199.*


Splitting p.199

The All-Good Self, the All-Bad Partner p.200

The Alternative: Changing the System. p.202


11.Tasks (p.203)


Doing Things differently p.204

Talking and Listening: Task One p.205

Odd Day, Even Day: Task Two p.209

Adding Requests: Task Three p.215

Control and Metachontrol: Task Four p.217 : take warning


12.A Classic System (p.220) Silent Husband Vs Hysterical Wife

"He Never Attracted Me" p.221 Carranos

"I Knew He Would Be My Daddy" p.223

A Hard Decision p.224

Seeking Autonomy p.226

An Unresolvable Conundrum p.228

"He Does Not Communicate" p.230

Frigid p.231

The Abuser p.232

Martyr or Tyrant p.234

The Hysterical Marriage p.235

The Love Addict's Mate p.236

The Knight-Rescuer p.237

The Collapse of the Arrangement p.238

Ther Terror of Emptiness p.239

Struggling for Control p.239

The wild beast within p.240 obsessional personalities:control themselve and environment

Obsessional Solutions p.241

The Collusion p.243

Polarizing p.243

Becalmed p.244

Part IV: Sexuality

13. Sexual Symptoms: Psychology, Biology, or Both ? (p.249)

14. What happens during Sex ? (p.272)

15. Sexual Cures (p.280)

Part V: The Child-launching Years: Time of Transformation.

16. The Second Separation (p.305)

17. A Game for Two players (p.337)

Part VI: The Postparenting Phase: Reintegration.

18. Marital Fighting (p.369)

19. 5 Relating Ways of Couples (p.387)

20. "We have a Good Time" (p.406)

Works Cited (p.425)