I Only Say This Because I Love You Analysis

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The relationships between family members can often be the most complex relationships. Deborah Tannen tries to shed some light on family relationships in her book, I Only Say This because I Love You. Deborah Tannen has primarily studied linguistics, but she has also written books explaining communications of all types. In this book, she focuses on families and explains how to understand the relationships between family members. Each chapter goes into detail about individual relationships, such as sibling, spousal, and parent-child relationships. She also expresses how to keep relationships happy and healthy, how to deal with arguments. Her book focuses on understanding family members and how to keep relationships between them healthy.
Chapter one: “I Can’t Even Open My Mouth”
The main focus in the first chapter of the book has to do with metamessages in conversations. Tannen defines a metamessage as a “meaning that is not said” (Tannen D., 2001, p. 7). In other words, metamessages are the tones that one uses, the phrases and languages one uses, and the implication of the words. Metamessages are the actual meanings behind what someone says.
Tannen focuses on family relationships in this chapter. She mentions that family members tend to criticize
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Parents who criticize their adult children often cause fights between each other. Parents seem to think they have more knowledge and when they try to explain things to their children it creates the feeling of criticism. Tannen states that often the most hurtful meta-messages of family talk “is the implication of incompetence- even (if not especially) when the children grow up” (Tannen D., 2001, p. 23). She explains that grown children often hope for their parent’s approval and criticism can be hurtful. This is why communication is important in stopping people from getting hurt when meta-messages are

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