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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Dance of Deception

1. Women are socialized to pretend, to settle, and to call our compromises "life." Our bodies are harder to fool. Discuss how the body may signal us when we are not living authentically or speaking truly. (Chapter 12)

2. How do we distinguish between "privacy" and "secrecy"? When do claims to privacy hurt rather than protect the integrity of our relationships and our selves? (Chapter 4)

3. All families have "hot issues" and secrets. Discuss the role of secrets and silence in your family. (Chapter 10) Use the case examples throughout the book to plan the best way to open up a difficult subject with a family member.

Quotes for Discussion


"From the moment we are first wrapped in a pink or blue blanket, we learn stories we can tell and whether there is an ear to hear them." (Page 82) "If we are not told the truth, we cannot trust the universe --- including our internal universe of thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. (Page 82) "Children are the least empowered family members; as such, they can afford to take few risks, whether real or imagined, with adults on whom their very survival depends." (Page 97) "Most of us can count on our bodies, like the dreams of our unconscious, to at least try to keep us honest."

The Dance of Deception
by Harriet Lerner

  • Publication Date: January 20, 1994
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0060924632
  • ISBN-13: 9780060924638