I think Harriet Lerner has succeeded in writing a book that really challenges you to examine yourself and that is insightful as well as useful.Considering this book was written 20 years ago, it's very accurate and relevant. More so than some of the self-help books written today.
Don't be decieved by the simple, accessible writing style. This book isn't just a casual book about relationships. It's about society, family systems and the impact they have on your life, challenging yourself, empowering yourself (and others in your relationships and family) and creating healthy patterns which help you live life and enjoy your existence to the fullest.
I can't say great enough things about this book. There are subtle bits of advice that really help too- like when the author says listen to your subconcious, it's there to protect you. There's a reason why you have evolved the way you have evolved and sometimes it is to protect the status quo, because you are not ready to change. Or when she points out (in accordance with the Bowen's family systems theory) that dysfunctional families are families where there are rigid roles and where the family can't openly talk about anxiety-provoking subjects.
Just a personal note:
This book is especially good if you can't seem to understand why your personal life is filled with so much, emptiness, destructiveness and instability despite appearing to be normal and functional.There is no alcoholism, sexual abuse etc in my family and we're all educated and successful.Yet, something about my life has caused me a deep and dark depression for years. Reading The Dance of Anger and the Dance of Intimacy by Harriet Lerner is a book I've been looking for all my life. It helped me understand why and begin to change it.