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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Whatever your motivations for coming to this book, you're about to become more observant in the ways of human behavior. Dr. Gottman contends that our basic happiness is based on our everyday attempts at emotional communication, which he calls "bids," and how others respond -- or fail to respond -- to those approaches.
Here's an example: You've just finished a big project, and you're telling your friend/relative/spouse about it. "I finally finished painting the kitchen," you say. The response you get back:
- "What a big job. I bet you're glad it's done."
- "Have you seen my glasses?"
- "It took you long enough."
Gottman characterizes these responses, respectively, as a turning-toward, turning-away, and turning-against -- and you already know which one you'd rather hear. He integrates this basic idea with the concept of the seven basic emotional command systems of the brain. These systems, first labeled by neuroscientist Jakk Panksepp, are the Commander-in-Chief, the Explorer, the Sensualist, the Energy Czar, the Jester, the Sentry, and the Nest-Builder. Ideally, they all function smoothly in each person's brain; in reality, we have different comfort zones with the different systems. Understanding these systems, as well as your family’s emotional heritage, add up to a lot more knowledge for improving emotional communications.
The Relationship Cure also provides plenty of case histories, sample dialogues, and self-quizzes to make the learning fun. (Ginger Curwen)