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Nonviolent Communication: Ch 2, "Communication That Blocks Compassion" - Page 2

post #21 of 36
Moralistic Judgements - This is a toughie, b/c my mother raised me to try to see the "person" in everyone (her father was VERY predjudiced, so she tried not to pass that on), but it is very easy to slip into the "them, us" thing and the "bad, good" thing. Concerning religious views I once read a statement that went something like, someone who is more observant than you is a fanatic, and someone who is less observant is a heretic. This part of the ch. really drove that point home to me - that I consider people "more" or "less" or "fanatical" or "heretical."

Making Comparisons - again, related to the above "fanatical/heretical" statement. As an AP/GD/EBF/CDing/"natural" living-type person I often compare myself to more mainstream people and feel they think I'm a fanatic. Just as I feel people crunchier than me consider me a heretic b/c I vax and only partially co-sleep (until she goes to sleep, then we move her to an adjoining toddler bed) - and I know people don't *really* think that, but man, it's hard not to compare oneself. I think it's good to compare to an extent, I mean, there's things in other peoples' lives that are INSPIRING, but it often shifts over to feelings of inadaquacy, that I'm not doing enough.

Responsibility - this is the thing that I noticed the most this week...that I've been much more aware of my denial of responsibility; so I've become more aware and then taken on that responsibility (not every time, but more than usual). That usually means I have to act on that taken responisibility, and I'm not good at that part yet....

Demands - yep, we sure can't make people do anything. So we try to manipulate, or demand, or punish. I practice non-punitive discipline so I'm a little better at not manipulating/punishing etc. than I am about the other three things, LOL, but it is very, very easy to shift into that punishing mode - "they DESERVE that".

Day of Judgements - I haven't done this yet, but I have been much more aware this week of MY judgements...I will pay more attention to others/myself over the next few days.
post #22 of 36

Re: Educating the Docile

Quote:
Originally posted by elemental
Put this together with the fact that I have realized that several in my department are showing Bowling for Columbine then asking students Michael Moore's final question, Why are Americans so much more violent that others? We in the department have been discussing possible answers among ourselves fairly intensely. We've decided to have regular meetings to figure it out. If we don't know the answer in American Studies, who will know?

I suggested to them last week that NVC might give us an answer. Now, reading the two passages I quoted in the last message, I am sure that the assumptions and implications of our language at least shed light on the answer, even if the link is not direct and causal. More investigation to come.
Let us know! I'm particularly interested in looking at this in a global/historical context. Once upon a time, I was a grad student doing research on the circulation of racial discourses. Language seems to have the power to determine and shape a lot, including action, policy, "culture," identity, you name it! I wonder, too, if you wouldn't get some insight into these issues by speaking with immigrants. See how daily language shapes one's daily lives. Having periods of my life where Taiwanese or Mandarin or English or French was used exclusively, I can attest to the profound changing of my personality and/or thought processes in direct relation to the changing in language.

Anyway, some thoughts,
post #23 of 36

Re: Ready to Begin?

First, forgive me. I've cheated. I read ahead. I meant to read only chapter two, but it seemed like a segway to more. And it was. So I kept reading. For those of you who haven't read further, there's good stuff there. I read conversations that came right out of my own mouth. Now, back to the task at hand.

Moralistic Judgments

This one I've been working on the last couple of years. I've worked myself into a tizzy a few times trying to understand that murderers are human beings who murder, rapists are human beings who rape, terrorists are human beings who blow up airplanes and buildings while people are inside. The important thing being the "human being" part. I've tried to hold on to that focus. I have a wise friend who mentioned to me once that there's a difference between "making judgments" and "being judgmental." "Making judgments" is observational while "being judgmental" is certainly evaluatory.

I find it easier now that I've made conscious and conscientious efforts to stay away from moralistic influences, in terms of TV, advertisements (magazines), malls (!!!), and generally where moralistic judgments are encouraged. Example: Recently, I watched a movie with particularly cute outfits, many worn by a teenager. I look in the mirror, and immediately I am not adequate in my self-envisioned attire meant to reflect the simplicity and lack of concern for appearances that I enjoy now. What do I do? I go out and get a make-over and buy some clothes. None of which I wear now. This leads me to...

Comparisons

Thankfully, this one I've gotten more comfortable with in the last couple of years as well. Growing up in a household where manipulation through comparison was routine left me with some issues. For most of my life, I could not hear someone giving someone else a compliment without understanding that to be my failure or failing. Example: When my first daughter was little, my Mom would talk about how beautiful her eyes were ["just like grandma's"]. It hurt me a lot. For me, that compliment turned into my Mom not thinking my eyes were beautiful (which, incidentally, is true, sad to say). Daily examples flooded my mind.

Denial of Responsibility

This is one I've found helpful from other self-help books/shows (back when I was a diligent student of TV). Another way to think of responsibility is to think of options. My husband and I help each other keep in mind that there is always another option, for any situation. Silly example that happens all the time: We're on the road, I have to go pee. I hurry my husband to go home: "I gotta go home, NOW!" He gently reminds me that there are other options: we could stop somewhere to use a restroom, or I could pee behind a tree, or I could pee in a cup in the car if I don't want to get out of the car, or I could pee in a child's diaper. Or just pee in my pants. Or just hold it in. There are always options. Choosing an option is a matter of evaluation and negotiation.

This sort of thinking has allowed me to speak in terms of myself. "The kids this-or-that, and *I* went crazy today." Instead of saying (and believing) that the kids "made me crazy." This realization, sadly, came to me many many months ago after I saw the sadness in my first daughter's eyes to hear me blame her for my own misbehavior during a rant over the phone.

Demands and Deserve Language

I adopted the silly language of demands about a year ago, after a particularly frustrating bout of not being able to get my first daughter into her car seat. The fallacious "need" spewed from my mouth all the time: "I NEED you to get ready, RIGHT NOW!" "I NEED you to get into your car seat, RIGHT NOW!" "I NEED you to be quiet while your sister's asleep." "I NEED you to get out of this room, RIGHT NOW!" This "NEED" demand stuff started when my daughter had just turned 2. She was not quite articulate yet. At about two and a half, I started hearing this language modeled by her. "I NEED to be picked up, RIGHT NOW!" "I NEED you to come in here, RIGHT NOW!" You get the picture. This, of course, all accompanied by the proper tone of voice and physical stance.

An accompanying tactic that I had learned (with regret) is the ultimatum thing. "Would you like to get into the car seat yourself or should I help you?" Said even in the gentlest tone of voice is cruelty in disguise. It's like Sophie's choice. Not much of a choice. Presenting something as an ultimatum is cruel. It has the veneer of proper parenting, allowing your child to choose between two undesirables. Really, it is yet another tactic to drive us from listening to and observing what another human being wants or feels or needs. I'm learning to rephrase so that it is more honest: "How do these two choices sound to you?" If they do not appeal (do they ever?), "Can you think of another choice?"

One amazing outcome is the ability to have real relationships with my kids. Not the one I grew up with, with the parents doing all the demanding, and the kids doing all the conforming or rebelling. My kids tell me what they think, how they feel, what they want. And the most amazing thing to me is that they actually know sometimes! We can go into a store and not buy out the store. They know what they want to play with, what they want to take home, what they want to play with again another time. Then the discussion. A real discussion. Not one where we're all trying to manipulate the other from the get-go, where our minds are made up before we talk. Having forced myself to practice listening to them, I've learned that I can trust them to tell me what they think is best for them. And that sometimes I can let them decide what's best for them, even if I disagree slightly.

But I sure do wish I knew all this before I had kids. It saddens me to see my first daughter teaching me to be a kind person when I'm not.
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Are we supposed to assume that toddlers are able to, or motivated to, articulate their needs accurately? I'm not asking does MR say so (because I still don't have the book) I'm asking, is it part of your understanding that toddlers can say, "I feel unhappy because I need to bathe but do not enjoy showers." (I'm not sure if that was a perfect NVC articulation, but you get the idea.)
I guess I feel that my toddlers are much more in touch with their emotions then I am. They don't have all the shoulds and don'ts and supposed tos internalized the way I do. And I have always thought that one of my most important jobs as a parent was teaching them to express themselves and be true to them selves in ways that don't hurt anyone else.

Quote:
This is the question I'm pondering as well as I have not seen any indication that my Meredith can articulate completely in this way. She can tell me "I AM MAD AT YOU!" She can tell me "YOU HURT MY FEELINGS!" However, I would not have expected her to say "I don't like showers and I am upset that you want me to take the shower, but when you turned the water off I was more upset because I really want to go to Children's Day Out." It is just too much, I think, for her little mind to wrap around. So, she goes into 'fit' mode, because that is the only way she can deal with it and I'm left filling in the voids in our conversations and possibly, even supposing more than she is really experiencing.
I feel that even getting to the point that my toddlers can say :"I am angry" took years of me labeling and exlplaning feelings. And I do believe that if I had been labeling and explainging needs and wants also, I do think that my toddlers would be able to do this sort of introspection too. Of course I think that when ever you start it is probably going to take many many repitions before they can do it them selves, but I do think that toddlers can do it.

As I said in my whining post above, my 2 year old does know that the problem is he needs to do it himself, he does know his need is for autonomy. Just as I think you daughter did know that what she really wanted was to go to Children's Day Out, but i feel that your connecting the two when you talked to her is what was confusing. I guess even I (an adult) might have a hard time seeing the connection between a shower and the unmet need to see my friends and go play.
post #25 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Mallory
I guess I feel that my toddlers are much more in touch with their emotions then I am. They don't have all the shoulds and don'ts and supposed tos internalized the way I do. And I have always thought that one of my most important jobs as a parent was teaching them to express themselves and be true to them selves in ways that don't hurt anyone else.
Mallory, I would agree that my Toddler is VERY in touch with her feelings as well - and she expresses emotion. I think this is pretty true for most Toddlers - as you said, they don't have all the should and should nots internalized as we do. As far as articulating that emotion and applying it to communication . . . that is what I feel she is going to learn in time. But yes, I too believe that my job is to teach her to express herself and to do so in a way that is kind to herself and others.
post #26 of 36

Re: Re: Educating the Docile

Quote:
Originally posted by Laughingmommy
See how daily language shapes one's daily lives. Having periods of my life where Taiwanese or Mandarin or English or French was used exclusively, I can attest to the profound changing of my personality and/or thought processes in direct relation to the changing in language.
I never thought about this before, but now that you mention it, Pei, I realize how much truth there is.

When I'm in Italy and speaking Italian, I think differently. Yet I came to Italian late in life (I didn't start learning and speaking it until after I was 30.) Italians tend to be very tolerant & respectful people, in spite of their outward drama and loudness. And when I'm there and with the people, I find myself taking on those same characteristics. I'm also much more tolerant of my daughter when we're there, because as a culture, they are much more understanding of children and their natural behaviors. When I said something to a friend of mine about my daughter's behavior, her comment was that "she's just acting like a child should act. There's nothing different about her". Well, here, there seems to be. I have had so many people comment on her activity & energy levels and I have no doubts that if I were to send her to school, they would try to get her medicated. She is definitely not the docile, obedient child that many of our schools seem to encourage.
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by HeatherSanders
As far as articulating that emotion and applying it to communication . . . that is what I feel she is going to learn in time. But yes, I too believe that my job is to teach her to express herself and to do so in a way that is kind to herself and others.
I just wanted to add that when I slow down and do some NVC with my children it's been really helpful for me to do the NVC on their behalf too, the way Rosenberg describes. It really forces my mind open and brings them much more into the conversation, and results in much more mutual solutions. WHen I do this I always feel this funny feeling of relief, like I have avoided the pitfall of bulldozing over my child, and also a pride in her for wanting to be part of the solution.

We had a little shower incident of our own last night, when my toddler needed to get the itchy grass rinsed off his body but he really didn't want to get railroaded into a shower/bath/whatever. My (wonderful) partner was starting to move into the lets-get-this-over-with mode, but I offered to take over. When I slowed the process down I was able to nurse him and talk to him and find a way to get him cleaned off that he was willing to participate in. His need for control over his body was obvious (although he didn't put words to it other than NOOO!!) and in being sensitive to that we were able to move through it together.... I felt so relieved to not dominate his body, and I still ended up with a clean toddler!

Similarly I feel strongly that my five year old benefits from lying-down-rest time every afternoon. She finds it boring but will do it. Perhaps because I see that she is not fighting me, but still wanting me to hear her genuine need to enjoy her time, I have recently realized that I can really listen to her concern about the boredom and trust her to work with me. We now have found things she can enjoy doing lying down, and after a half hour she can then free play in her room for the second half. I suspect that there are ways I can even more actively respond to this need of hers, and I am eager to experiment and communicate with her on it. Again I feel relief to see how my getting my need met (the need to feel that I am caring for my child, ie., getting her the rest she needs to pass the rest of the day happily) can be harmonious with her getting her needs met (the equally important need to enjoy herself).

FWIW I am approaching the demand/request thing without judging myself for making demands, or feeling I can't/shouldn't, but rather from the orientation that I myself feel this relief/ wholeness/ connectedness when I do manage to switch a demand into a request, or when I manage to do more to identify and meet the need behind my child's resistance. That is how I am approaching NVC in general, as something that offers me rich rewards for every step I take in that direction, not as a new set of standards to meet or "shoulds" to adopt. (In the past when I would get all judgemental with myself for my parenting choices it did absolutely no good, only made me more miserable.)

So anyway when I mentally or out-loud take the time to articulate my children's feelings, needs and requests it really helps me honor them and I am always so glad for it!
post #28 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by NoraJadesMama
FWIW I am approaching the demand/request thing without judging myself for making demands, or feeling I can't/shouldn't, but rather from the orientation that I myself feel this relief/ wholeness/ connectedness when I do manage to switch a demand into a request, or when I manage to do more to identify and meet the need behind my child's resistance. That is how I am approaching NVC in general, as something that offers me rich rewards for every step I take in that direction, not as a new set of standards to meet or "shoulds" to adopt. (In the past when I would get all judgemental with myself for my parenting choices it did absolutely no good, only made me more miserable.)

So anyway when I mentally or out-loud take the time to articulate my children's feelings, needs and requests it really helps me honor them and I am always so glad for it!
This is such a good reminder for me - I can begin something new and feel a failure in the first day if I'm not 100%. I love this train of thought . . . a journey - not a pitstop.
post #29 of 36
Quote:
As far as articulating that emotion and applying it to communication . . . that is what I feel she is going to learn in time.
Just expressing emotion is the whining, crying, hitting- typical toddler reactions. What I feel that most of us have done is applyed these physical reactions to some verbal communication- in my case and for most of us here, I believe- A expression like "That makes me angry" or "I am sad about that". And I think that we are really amazed at how well our 2 and 3 and 4 year olds really can verbalize thier feelings. Sometimes at times or in ways that we as adults find hard to do especially if remember how important and big every interaction of thier little lives are.

And I do feel that if I had been really expressing needs in addition to feelings that they would be able to do it much of the time even at 2 or 3.

Quote:
Are we supposed to assume that toddlers are able to, or motivated to, articulate their needs accurately?
In fact I don't think that there is any one more motivated to get across exactly what they are thinking and feeling then a one or two year old. They have this unquenchable need to be understood, and practice the most effective ways of communication over and over and over. So I do think the motivation is there. The question about accuracy is a little more complicated because they are not so sure about what is going on inside them, often there are conflicting feelings at the same time, and they change so quickly.
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by Mallory
In fact I don't think that there is any one more motivated to get across exactly what they are thinking and feeling then a one or two year old. They have this unquenchable need to be understood, and practice the most effective ways of communication over and over and over. So I do think the motivation is there. The question about accuracy is a little more complicated because they are not so sure about what is going on inside them, often there are conflicting feelings at the same time, and they change so quickly.
I get all of this from my (admittedly limited) experience with toddlers: they can tell you how they feel, and they can express their need to be understood. But the ability to accurately express your needs, that's the part that I am concerned about. Their need for autonomy and their need to be cared for and to know that their adults are stable presences are in conflict.

I still think it makes sense to use NVC to talk with toddlers, btw. Even if they can't identify their needs for us, it's much better for us to be honest about what are our real feelings, needs and requests.

Should my NVC books ever arrive I will have more thoughtful contributions to this!
post #31 of 36
i ordered the books october 5th and they are still not here. did it take along time for people to get their books?
post #32 of 36
(nak)

we went to marshall rosenberg's lecture here in atlanta on tues. i came away with some interesting stuff (when i was inside--my one yo had other ideas than sitting quietly in the sling!). this is my take--not nvc. the judgement thing is very cultural, ingrained from the beginning, reinforced especially in schools (competition, demands, telling you what to do/when/how....grading, etc) also, MR said no one can teach a child anything nor make them do something. you can force someone into through guilt, shame, humiliation...but it will always, at some point, haunt us. sigh. yes, i see this all too clearly.

i'd like to agree that language plays a huge part in my understanding of nvc. we are limited to words---what i might label sad may be totally different from someone else's understanding/interpretation---does that make sense? i'm really digging deep into the use of my words right now. i have a huge habit of not only making 1000s of moralistic judgements eachday but also stuff like:

"you are making me so angry"

no, i am choosing to react this way. no one can make me feel anything!

sorry if this isn't meeting everyone's need for clarity! i'm in such a stuck place with my almost 4 yo. MR was saying you can use NVC from birth, and unfortunately, it's like learning a foreign language to me, and i want to be fluent. i know just enough to realize how little i know...and how ineffective i've been communicating lovingly thus far in my life. hope i haven't gone waaaaay off the trail here.

for the greatest good,

amy
post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by kaje62
did it take along time for people to get their books?
I pre-ordered months before the 2nd edition came out. My books arrived within a couple of weeks of the expected date.

Is it Powell's that has delayed? Maybe you could call them:

"My book hasn't arrived and I feel left out because I need to read chapter 2 so I can respond. Would you please tell me when you expect to send the book?"

You know, I may joke about the 4-part replies, but I figure the more clear I am about those when I have the time to think about it, the more easily it will come in stressful, face-to-face situations. I'm just practicing.
post #34 of 36
I'm so fascinated by all of your stories about practicing NVC with your children. Ds is only 5 mo, so there isn't much opportunity. I just meet his demands! LOL.

One thing that struck me about this chapter is how similar it is to buddhist principles. For instance, one of the primary buddhist principles is to observe each moment as it arises without judgment. Just pure observation without the extra stuff of "this shouldn't be happening" or "I really like this" or "why can't he do that?" In other words, without all of our likes and dislikes and judgement tacked on to the experience.

I've thought about your suggestion elemental that NVC (or the lack thereof) might explain violence in our country. Such an interesting idea! I wonder, though, why there would be such a discrepancy in violence between the US and Canada, when (I assume) that the language is so similar (i.e., the lack of NVC).
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by Rebekah
I wonder, though, why there would be such a discrepancy in violence between the US and Canada, when (I assume) that the language is so similar (i.e., the lack of NVC).
This topic is definitely more worthy than a blurb from an ex-pat Cdn., but first of all, yes, I agree that NVC is lacking in Canada, too, (probably a global problem!). Also, there's becoming much more of a feeling of "us vs. them" (violent communication #1), especially in places where there's lots of immigrants from Hong Hong and India. But that goes both ways - my Hong Hongese-heritage friend was born in Canada and grew up in my small town and learned only a little Cantonese - when she moved to the West Coast for university none of the caucasian people would be friends with her b/c she was Hong Hongese and none of the Hong Honese would be her friend b/c she couldn't speak Cantonese fluently!

We all need to consider how we can use NVC and other methods to learn to communicate more compassionately - there's a lot of anger from people everywhere b/c they aren't being listened to. When I first moved to the US I was truly SHOCKED at the racism I observed in caucasians toward Hispanics (prevalent in the agricultural area I moved to) and the stereotypes (beer-drinking-eh-saying-maple-syrup-collecting-igloo-living-"oot"-pronouncing Canadians) I encountered...but now I am crushed to hear of (Cdn) relatives who are becoming more racist b/c "those people" steal their jobs and are rich...may we all learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others...hopefully we, in learning NVC, will be able to impact our families as a first step toward truly listening to global problems.
post #36 of 36

Time for a New Chapter

Join the new thread to discuss Nonviolent Communication Chapter 3, "Observing without Evaluating."

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