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Terri Apter reveals how everyday judgments impact our relationships and how praise, blame and shame shape our sense of self.
Our obsession with praise and blame begins soon after birth. Totally dependent on others, rapidly we learn to value praise and to fear the consequences of blame. Despite outgrowing an infant’s dependence, we continue to monitor others’ judgments of us—and develop what relational psychologist Terri Apter calls a “judgment meter”, which constantly scans people and our interactions with them, registering a positive or negative opinion.
Apter reveals how interactions between parents and children, within couples, and among friends and colleagues are permeated with praise and blame that range far beyond specific compliments and accusations. Drawing on three decades of research, Apter gives us tools to learn about our personal needs, goals and values; to manage our biases; to tolerate others’ views; and to make sense of our most powerful, and often confusing, responses to ourselves and to others.