Silent Agreements will help readers define the unspoken beliefs and expectations that might be causing dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and resentment in their relationships, giving them the tools to explore these agreements and work toward healthier communication with a partner, friend, boss, or family member.
If you have relationships, you've likely been part of silent agreements. Silent agreements are the implicit "rules" of your relationships that arise from unspoken beliefs and expectations that both parties hold, stemming from your earliest experiences and reinforced as you mature. They can sound something like "The person who makes more money should pay for the dates," or "My boss doesn't offer me a raise, and he knows I won't ask for one." These agreements can hinder your relationships, remaining undiscussed due to fear, aversion to conflict, feelings of obligation, or guilt. Because expectations so rarely line up and neither person will address the issue, a silent agreement can cause unhappiness and resentment on both sides.
Clinical psychologists Drs. Anderson, Banks, and Owens will help you explore your agreements and work towards healthier communication with a partner, friend, boss, or family member. In the process, you'll learn more about your own motivations and how to dismantle the the beliefs that don't serve you. With guidelines and advice on how to have productive conversations about sex, money, commitment, family, the workplace, and health, this book will help you lift the silence and resolve those land-mine issues before they do irreparable damage.
About the Author
LINDA D. ANDERSON, PhD, is a professor, organizational manager, clinician, and consulting psychologist. She earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Columbia University and has been in private practice for over 25 years, helping adults, adolescents, and children transform their lives.
SONIA R. BANKS, PhD, LCP , is a clinical and behavioral change consulting psychologist with over 25 years experience in private practice and organizational impact. She applies research trends to relationship science in her work with adolescent, couples, families, communities and organizational teams to support and build sustainable learning systems that advocate for their human potential.
Michele L. Owens, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City with over 30 years of experience. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Case Western Reserve University and both master's and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology. She trains and mentors mental health professionals and presents workshops on subjects that include relationship enhancement, effective interpersonal communication, and living and working in a diverse world.
“Fear is a great silencer that restrains vulnerable engagement, the absence of which leads to profound and painful complications. The authors of Silent Agreements unearth this widespread phenomenon with great clarity and offer a well-thought-out process that makes truth sharing possible and healing. We recommend this book to anyone who is having conversations in their head that they are keeping to themselves.” -- Harville Hendrix, Ph. D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D, authors of Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples
“The insightful authors of Silent Agreements offer clarity on how we can approach and resolve those challenging unspoken issues between ourselves and others without fear. They will help illuminate new pathways of understanding, and foster open communication in all your relationships. I recommended this very helpful book for anyone who is committed to creating happy, healthy relationships. -Katherine Woodward Thomas, New York Times bestselling author ofConscious Uncoupling
"What a cogent, insightful look at how the agreements we think are presumed and assumed by the very people we most want to understand us rarely are because of what never gets said. This wise book gives profound voice to the inner silences that can trip up all of our relationships, be they with loved ones or workplace partners. A must read for those wanting to be truly heard." -Audrey Edwards, co-author of Children of the Dream: The Psychology of Black Success “We live in an age of ambiguity, in which miscommunication and insincerity are epidemic. This is a time in which people are quick to judge and just as quick to condemn. Silent Agreements is a useful reminder that unexamined certainty is almost, always a mistake. But it is first and foremost a book about clarity and how to obtain it. In this age when we are desperately attempting to clarify rules governing consent, where many remain confused over whether yes means yes or no means no, Silent Agreements is hugely illuminating. It is a timely and valued contribution to our mutual understanding not only of each other but of our collective selves. For navigating the often-unspoken assumptions that govern relationships between family members, friends, lovers, spouses and coworkers, it is the perfect guide. --Ellis Cose, author of The Rage of a Privileged Class and The End of Anger
“Silent agreements: what a provocative idea! The authors clearly describe the kinds of silent agreements that can be problematic at home, work, and play, and provide helpful, and easy-to-implement advice about how to identify and overcome these powerful expectations that may otherwise derail our relationships.” – Matt Bloom, Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame