How can we create more meaningful and intimate connections with our loved ones? By using moments of discord to strengthen our relationships, explains this original, deeply researched book.
You might think that perfect harmony is the defining characteristic of healthy relationships, but the truth is that human interactions are messy, complicated, and confusing. And according to renowned psychologist Ed Tronick and paediatrician Claudia Gold, that is not only okay, but crucial to our social and emotional development. In The Power of Discord they show how working through the inevitable dissonance of human connection is the path to better relationships with romantic partners, family, friends, and colleagues.
Dr. Tronick was one of the first researchers to show, via ‘The Still-Face Experiment’, that babies are profoundly affected by their parents’ emotions and behaviour. His work, which brought about a foundational shift in our understanding of human development, shows that our highly evolved sense of self makes us separate, yet our survival depends on connection.
Working through the volley of mismatch and repair in everyday life helps us form deep, lasting, trusting relationships, resilience in times of stress and trauma, and a solid sense of self in the world. Drawing on Dr Tronick’s research and Dr Gold’s clinical experience, The Power of Discord is a refreshing and original look at our ability to relate to others and to ourselves.
‘In this fabulous book, which everyone must own, Ed Tronick and Claudia Gold give all of us a scientifically-based compass for negotiating the messiness of social interaction. Rather than searching for perfection, in this book they teach us that it is the messiness and the mistakes we inevitably make as parents, friends, and lovers, and the repair of our mistakes that really matters. For in repair we ‘co-create a new meaning,’ and relationships thrive and proceed, full of life and good enough. Get this book!’
John Gottman, author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
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‘Lively and riveting — Human connections have the power to heal by engaging us in a new set of moment-to-moment mismatches ... as long as we are open to repair and reconnect.’
Dr Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score
‘A brilliant overview of our contemporary relational landscape that argues that what people — both children and adults — need most is the messiness of real relationships, with their conflicts, partial resolutions, and imperfect efforts at repair. In trying to make these things work, we practice attention, connection, and listening. We practice our humanity. We learn to put technology in its place. A book for thinking and for practical action. A must-read.’
Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together: why we expect more from technology
‘Our relationships with attachment figures are often innately ‘messy’ and filled with discord as mismatches rupture the attuned, resonant alignments that are possible in our relational world. The reconnection established in the mismatch-repair process illuminated in this important work enables us to develop resilience in the face of the inevitable disconnections in these important self-defining close connections in our lives. This wise book will help many to reframe such ruptures as opportunities rather than troublesome burdens, painful yet important challenges that can actually afford us the interactive reconnection experiences that serve as the foundation for flourishing in life.’
Dr Daniel J. Siegel, author of Mindsight, and clinical professor at UCLA School of Medicine