A chain reaction

I've written effusively before about a book I recently read on resolving the heart of conflict called "The Anatomy of Peace" by the Arbinger Institute (yes, odd for a book to be written by an institute, but whoever wrote it, it's brilliant). I was contacted a few days ago by their Director of Community Relations and pointed to their website, which offers free articles, more information about their work and courses (both in-person and online), and a free forum.

Their mission:

How do you help someone see what they don't want to see? That's the central challenge that
The Arbinger Institute's work is designed to overcome.

Our materials introduce people to a little-known, but pervasive, problem: self-deception.
Our methodologies help people overcome it.

We define self-deception as not knowing – and resisting the possibility – that one has a problem.

Most conflicts are perpetuated by self-deception. So are most failures in communication.
And most breakdowns in trust and accountability.

Clearly, as long as the problem of not knowing one has a problem remains
so will all other problems.

Like many people today, I've got Memorial Day plans, but I wanted to highlight a very cool article on The Parenting Pyramid. Some interesting chain reactions that are highlighted:

  • As parents and step-parents, we are often mainly focused on correcting behavior
  • We can't really "correct" well, if we also haven't been teaching all along (power struggle, anyone?)
  • We can't really teach if the parent or step-parent/child relationship is weak and suffering from a lack of closeness or involvement
  • The husband/wife relationship spills over into the relationship that adults have with the children, as much as we'd like to insist it doesn't. (This gets even more complicated when you factor in relationships between exes — and parenting issues between dads and stepmoms, and between moms and stepmoms!)
  • Marital relationships and relationships between exes are hugely influenced by your way of being – and whether you have a "heart of war" or a "heart of peace."

Check it out!

And an enormous thank you to everyone who has bravely served our country….


  1. I’m going to check out The Anatomy of Peace – sounds like it’s right up my alley!!

  2. How cool that you liked this book so much! It was a really important book for me. The Arbinger Institute is run by a group of LDS men (Mormon) who seem to have done a great deal of self-examination and close work together over a long period of years and who are not trying to get famous, or even to proselytize, from what I can tell. I’m nowhere near being LDS myself, but learning that this book was by a group of LDS men made me think more highly of their faith, even though I’m still not going to join it! Here’s a link to a page that lists the name of the guys who started the institute: http://www.arbinger.com/en/aboutus.html
    Terry Warner, who seems to be one of the main founders, also wrote Bonds that Make Us Free, which is a bit more religious in tone, but for me was also very helpful, even though I am not religious myself. It’s free online here: http://www.meridianmagazine.com/books/011005bonds.html

  3. Jen – I just ordered two books from the Arbinger site – “Leadership and Self-Deception” and “The Anatomy of Peace.”
    This thing they’ve got with Self-Deception is the same fog that Byron Katie awoke from. It is also something I realized my stepson suffers hugely from – Self-Deception. And if Buddha and Jesus were sitting with us, they’d be the first to tell us, that YUP – Self-Deception will get you every time…it’s the crap that goes on between our ears that gets us every time…
    Thanks again for sharing this link and tuning me into this great work.

  4. Hi Jill,
    Interesting information on the Arbinger Institute. You’re a braver woman than I, dealing with a bunch of folks on LSD! Kidding, but that’s what I misread in your post. 🙂 I so love these ideas and now understand what all your enthusiasm was about earlier. It’s thanks to you that I even bought the book when I saw it on the shelves.
    Yeah, there’s some neat information online about why they don’t focus on who wrote what. They want to keep the focus on the ideas, not the egos behind the work.
    Thanks for the links – I’m definitely going to look into the free book, just out of curiosity.
    I miss fresh content on your site! (no pressure) Hope all’s well!

  5. Cool, Peggy! Let me know what you think. AoP was actually a really fun read, since it’s written like fiction, with cliffhangers at the end of every chapter. Someone knew what they were doing, writing-wise!
    I’ll also be curious to hear about the book regarding your relationship with your stepson. This is not going to make much sense until you read the book, but what’s poignant about self-deception is that it also involves a *betrayal* of yourself too, which is a painful thing in and of itself….
    Happy reading!

  6. Jen – I have been telling my stepson that lying to us only harms himself as it is an act of self-sabotage and self-betrayal.
    And he’s brillant at self-sabotage.

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