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#1 of 38 Old 12-03-2012, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a brief introduction to Non Violent Communication (NVC) which is also known as Compassionate Communication, and how you can use it in parenting, as well as, in discipline. At the end I will provide links to some books that I have found very helpful for my understanding and application of NVC, and which will explain it better than I can.  I would be happy to answer any questions as best as I can.

 

 

The basic belief behind NVC is that all behaviors stem from feelings and needs, and all people share the same basic universal feelings and needs. I have often heard learning NVC described as, like learning to speak another language, and it really is. The basic method is to clearly state your observation of what is going on, not judgement this is very important, then you state how you are feeling, and what you are needing from the situation, and finally making a clear request of the other person. Now, it's important to remember you're making a request not a demand here, and obviously the other person may not feel the same way you do about the situation, and that's ok, the point is to try not to place blame on anybody here! Not everybody will be feeling or needing the same things from any given situation, and that doesn't make the other person "wrong" or "bad", they are doing the best they can with what they have at the moment. So, it is very important for us to try to put ourselves in their shoes, look at things from their point of view, so we can best work to get everyone's needs met and find a mutually agreeable solution. This means listening deeply to the other person, validating what they say, trying to figure out how their feeling and what they're needing from the situation, and go from there to the request. Yes, this is hard, and you will need a ton of practice to get the hang of it, just like learning another language. ;)

 

Now, for how you can incorporate NVC into your family life, and of course discipline. Before we even start on this let me say, you must get your own needs met first before you can help anyone else get their needs met! You can not give what you do not have, so therefore getting your own needs met on a regular basis no matter what is absolutely essential. Getting past that point, firstly figure out what values are really important to you, the ones you want to pass on to your children, and start living them (if you're not already), and start acting on them. Secondly, choose to see the needs behind the actions, we are all doing the best we can to get our needs met with what we currently have, even when we act negatively; you are responsible for meeting your own needs, nobody else. Focus on connection first, then correction, the relationship is more important here than the lesson you're trying to teach. Recognize and celebrate your child's, and your own, unique gifts on a regular basis! When things go awry, connect using NVC, and remember to act using your values as your guide. Be willing to learn with your child, they truly are your best teacher! And, finally trust that every situation can be resolved peacefully with a mutually agreeable solution, it just takes some work to get there.

 

I look forward to hearing your opinions and questions! Here are the book recommendations:

 

*Non Violent Communication: A Language of Life

http://www.amazon.com/Nonviolent-Communication-A-Language-Life/dp/1892005034/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354568901&sr=8-1&keywords=non+violent+communication+a+language+of+life+2nd+edition+by+marshall+b.+rosenberg

 

*Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids

http://www.amazon.com/Respectful-Parents-Kids-Conflict-Cooperation/dp/1892005220/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354569039&sr=1-1&keywords=respectful+parents+respectful+kids


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#2 of 38 Old 12-04-2012, 04:00 PM
 
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Thank you, Mittsy!!  I'm subbing to join the conversation. It's been 70 degrees here in my town very unusual for December) so I've been spending less time on the computer. I'll be back to join the discussion for sure! 


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#3 of 38 Old 12-08-2012, 12:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mittsy View Post

This is a brief introduction to Non Violent Communication (NVC) which is also known as Compassionate Communication, and how you can use it in parenting, as well as, in discipline. At the end I will provide links to some books that I have found very helpful for my understanding and application of NVC, and which will explain it better than I can.  I would be happy to answer any questions as best as I can.

 

 

 

Quote:
Thank you, Mittsy for offering us your experience and expertise with NVC!  I truly believe that being stretched beyond the basics of GD is essential to effective, long-term discipline. 

 

 

The basic belief behind NVC is that all behaviors stem from feelings and needs, and all people share the same basic universal feelings and needs.

 

Quote:
It's pathetic for me to admit this but I have always had a difficult time with "feelings". I struggle with this generally accepted notion that all feelings are valid. Sad, right? But I do!  When we're wrong about something and then we have feelings about that, I think our feelings should be re-evaluated. What does NVC have to say about that? 

 

 

I have often heard learning NVC described as, like learning to speak another language, and it really is. The basic method is to clearly state your observation of what is going on, not judgement this is very important, then you state how you are feeling, and what you are needing from the situation, and finally making a clear request of the other person. 

 

Quote:
This I like! I like the idea of making an observation and saying how it makes you feel and then clearly asking for what you want. I like it! 

 

 

Now, it's important to remember you're making a request not a demand here, and obviously the other person may not feel the same way you do about the situation, and that's ok, the point is to try not to place blame on anybody here! Not everybody will be feeling or needing the same things from any given situation, and that doesn't make the other person "wrong" or "bad", they are doing the best they can with what they have at the moment. So, it is very important for us to try to put ourselves in their shoes, look at things from their point of view, so we can best work to get everyone's needs met and find a mutually agreeable solution. This means listening deeply to the other person, validating what they say, trying to figure out how their feeling and what they're needing from the situation, and go from there to the request. Yes, this is hard, and you will need a ton of practice to get the hang of it, just like learning another language. ;)

 

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Ok, I like this too. I'm a fan of keeping blame out of things. I like the idea of trying to see things from another perspective. 

 

 

Now, for how you can incorporate NVC into your family life, and of course discipline. Before we even start on this let me say, you must get your own needs met first before you can help anyone else get their needs met! You can not give what you do not have, so therefore getting your own needs met on a regular basis no matter what is absolutely essential. 

 

Quote:
Sounds good to mama! love.gif

 

Getting past that point, firstly figure out what values are really important to you, the ones you want to pass on to your children, and start living them (if you're not already), and start acting on them. 

 

Quote:
I like the acknowledgement that these are different from person to person and family to family. I like the nod to avoid "do as I say, not as I do". 

 

Secondly, choose to see the needs behind the actions, we are all doing the best we can to get our needs met with what we currently have, even when we act negatively; you are responsible for meeting your own needs, nobody else. 

 

Quote:
What about actions that don't seem to be about getting needs met? I'm thinking of a cranky pre-teen who may just be feeling frustrated and hormonal. Her "need" is that she's frustrated (it seems). She's acting out of frustration but it doesn't seem like there's anything she wants anyone to help her with. 

 

Focus on connection first, then correction, the relationship is more important here than the lesson you're trying to teach. 

 

Quote:
I like this! Even if correction is important in a family, it doesn't get heard until there is a good connection. 

 

Recognize and celebrate your child's, and your own, unique gifts on a regular basis! When things go awry, connect using NVC, and remember to act using your values as your guide. Be willing to learn with your child, they truly are your best teacher! And, finally trust that every situation can be resolved peacefully with a mutually agreeable solution, it just takes some work to get there.

 

I look forward to hearing your opinions and questions! Here are the book recommendations:

 

 

 

Quote:
Thanks again, Mittsy! 

 

 

*Non Violent Communication: A Language of Life

http://www.amazon.com/Nonviolent-Communication-A-Language-Life/dp/1892005034/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354568901&sr=8-1&keywords=non+violent+communication+a+language+of+life+2nd+edition+by+marshall+b.+rosenberg

 

*Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids

http://www.amazon.com/Respectful-Parents-Kids-Conflict-Cooperation/dp/1892005220/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354569039&sr=1-1&keywords=respectful+parents+respectful+kids


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#4 of 38 Old 12-08-2012, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's pathetic for me to admit this but I have always had a difficult time with "feelings". I struggle with this generally accepted notion that all feelings are valid. Sad, right? But I do!  When we're wrong about something and then we have feelings about that, I think our feelings should be re-evaluated. What does NVC have to say about that?
 

 

I think this sounds like more of a personal trigger to me, I would encourage you to dig into this. It sounds to me like may'be you have the belief that "negative feelings are wrong/bad", or something similar to that. It sounds like this is a very confusing topic for you, and may'be you're needing some clarification about how you can fit this into your life. Does this sound right to you?

 

 

Quote:

What about actions that don't seem to be about getting needs met? I'm thinking of a cranky pre-teen who may just be feeling frustrated and hormonal. Her "need" is that she's frustrated (it seems). She's acting out of frustration but it doesn't seem like there's anything she wants anyone to help her with.

 

When needs are not met that's when we usually see what most would classify as "bad behavior", that person is struggling with the ramifications of a unmet need and feels pretty bad because of it so they act out how they feel. Try to get in the teen's shoes, what is going on in her life right now, and go from there to try and figure out what need she may be trying to meet. A few guesses of my own would be:

 

*being understood

*appreciation

*empathy

*presence

*learning

*independence

 

I found a feelings and needs inventory I think you may find useful as well:

http://www.cnvc.org/Training/feelings-inventory

 

http://www.cnvc.org/Training/needs-inventory

 

Please keep the questions coming!


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#5 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 04:30 AM
 
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I thought of a couple of examples of where I struggle with accepting other people's feelings. I'd like to preface this with the fact that I have always personally appreciated when I have been told that perhaps my feelings were out of perspective or whatever. I can even remember being told this is an early teen by my father and, although it kind of rocked me at the time, I appreciate it to this day. 

 

Example #1: 

 

An adult is feeling belittled and hurt by an email. However, the intentions of the email were to encourage and support. Upon explanation, the person continues to feel hurt & resentful, despite knowing it was caused by a misunderstanding. 

 

Example #2: 

 

Child (10 years old) has a spree of lovely events in the beginning of the summer. A beach visit, and expensive amusement park trip, extra spending money for activities, a few more gifts and special treats than normal. Upon being told that we would not go out to dinner following a trip to the boardwalk, the child is very upset and acts as though she feels she is deprived. 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Another question: Does NVC rank emotions/feelings in terms of primary and secondary? Maybe this is in the link...


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#6 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 04:40 AM
 
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Another question...

 

What does NVC say about feelings that are not quite grounded in immediate circumstances. We all know that when we get upset (or whatever negative feeling we're having) it is rarely about just that one thing, no matter how much we feel it is in the moment. So, what does NVC say about maybe increased anxiety when someone is quitting smoking, for instance? Or PMS? Or things like that? 

 

What do they say about the times where a person is not willing or able to see all the factors that are going into how they are feeling? When they are, for instance, focused on the wet towel left on the floor and anger towards the person who left it there. When, in fact, they are just angry in general because they are hormonal or something? 


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#7 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 07:32 AM
 
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I like NVC in principle, but i have always struggled with the idea that 'anger' isnt a feeling. 

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#8 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 09:30 AM
 
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Our child's school does basically NVC, so you have to take a communicating class before you can enroll. At first I had a lot of feelings about it, but it has been so great for our family, it's now hard for me to remember what exactly I was objecting to! I think I had a lot of anxiety about any kind of conflict, so talking openly about how we were feeling about conflict was really, really scary to me, like everything might fall off a cliff if we stopped hiding how we felt.

 

The main thing I've learned from my child's school is to feel more neutral about feelings. All feelings. My child's feelings, my own. They are not storms to be managed or weathered, they are just neutral events. Conflicts are just things that happen when human beings get together. They are a part of life, not evidence of failure.

 

Something I noticed is that a lot of women in particular basically can't feel the "angry" side of the emotional scale. Several of the moms in my class really struggled, while role-playing, to say "When someone hits me, I feel angry, because I don't like my body to be hurt". (ETA: this was about their three-year-olds, not about another adult. I re-read this and it suddenly seemed very ominous!) They would say "I feel sad" or something. I found that interesting! It seemed like all the women in the class had to do some work to get to a place where we were more able to state clearly our authentic, real feeling, instead of repackaging how we were feeling into something softer.

 

The practice of stating my feelings (even just to myself) has been really helpful for me. It has also been really interesting to see that a lot of families came to that workshop feeling like "Well, I guess to be peaceful parents, you basically can't have any limits". And that's not what we learned there at all. In fact, I would say that I express more limits than I did before. I used to, more often, feel like "I will just let this happen to avoid conflict", and now I feel more like "Nope, this is my authentic limit. I am going to state it, and the other person gets to have their own feelings about that, and all of that is okay."

 

I would have said that I was already pretty in touch with my feelings before we did this, and that we already had gentle family communication, but using this type of communication has really changed our household for the better. I'm very grateful that we got over our "What is this?" feelings and did the class! At the moment, I'm too short on time to do any additional meaningful study of NVC, but I'd like to in the future. The teachers at the child's school are really amazing at applying these communication principles to conflict between children, and it is wonderful to watch. I'd like to have more ability in that area myself, at some point.

 

 

Quote:
I like NVC in principle, but i have always struggled with the idea that 'anger' isnt a feeling.

 

Is this a thing?!? Man, I guess I am a failure at NVC, then, because I feel angry pretty often!


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#9 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 10:02 AM
 
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The main thing I've learned from my child's school is to feel more neutral about feelings. All feelings. My child's feelings, my own. They are not storms to be managed or weathered, they are just neutral events. 

I like this A LOT!  I think that part of my reaction against the "feelings" stuff is from life experience of maybe being around a lot of people who "feel" that "feelings" are always entitled to be the central issue. And, yes, that their feelings are this big storm that can take over a conflict. And perhaps even more so, that their feelings are something that I am expected to deal with. For this, I am not actually talking about children but thinking of this topic in terms of adults. Not sure what NVC has to say about this but I'm putting this out there. 

 

 

And BTW some of my favorite and most influencial philosophies were things that I really balked at at first. 


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#10 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think anyone's feelings are ever "out of perspective" as you say, instead I think they are being triggered by something and not reacting as they normally would because of that. This is not necessarily a part of nvc, but I do believe it's very important to take note of what triggers us so that we can work through it so we're not affected as much by it anymore. I don't believe nvc does say anything different about having certain emotions because of certain conditions. Personally, I am concerned that some may use their conditions as a crutch so that they don't have to face their true feelings and needs, I guess I am concerned about honesty in this situation. I would think you could use nvc to connect with your feelings, needs, and intentions in all of these situations.

 

Ex. 1

I would suggest the person dig in to why this email is bringing up such a response for them. I would offer empathy, and the emotional space to work through their feelings. There is not much more to do in this specific situation as this person has to work through this issue in the way that works best for them.

 

Ex. 2

It sounds like the child is feeling sad because they are possibly needing a choice in the matter, possibly needing to be heard and understood, possibly they want to know their opinions matter and are valued. Also, another guess of mine is the child may be needing a sense of order, or to know what's coming next. I would empathize and validate the child, and then ask for their opinions on what to do for dinner/evening out, and go from there.

 

I don't believe I've ever seen emotions being ranked in nvc.


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#11 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 10:19 AM
 
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I like NVC in principle, but i have always struggled with the idea that 'anger' isnt a feeling. 

I love NVC in principle, but I am a member of several yahoo groups designed to practice NVC and I am really struck by how self-centered and selfish the process is. It really bothers me. I often see posts like, "Have I given you enough empathy yet? Are you ready to hear me now or do I need to keep giving you empathy?" And the constant frustrations that people have that they aren't being heard enough. Seems like its difficult to give people enough empathy to fill them up so that they get to the place where they are ready to hear the other person. Some people have a lifetime of hurts that will take a lifetime of empathy before they can get to the place where they finally feel able to see another person's point of view. Most of us have at least one area where this is the case. In NVC practice, there is this idea that if you can meet a person's needs for being heard, they can move on to resolving the conflict with you. But this gives the idea that somehow the other person is responsible for meeting your needs for empathy, and if they fail, well, its not your fault you're still acting like a jerk.

 

And as IdentityCrisisMama touched upon... all the empathy in the world won't cure my PMS :)

 

I love Marshall's philosophy, and I love Inbal Kashtan's NVC and attachment parenting ideas (http://www.cnvc.org/Attachment-Parenting-and-Nonviolent-Communication), but something happens in the practice and application of NVC that makes it fall short for me. How hard can it be to observe, state feelings, identify needs, and make requests? Well apparently it is really hard for a lot of people. So hard sometimes that the person gets stuck in the formula and loses all sight of their feelings and needs and sight of the other person, or the listener feels so put off by the awkwardness of the language that they don't even feel like they are being spoken to ("boy I don't know what you just said but I feel really distant from you and like you weren't talking to ME at all, but maybe to Marshall Rosenberg? Is he in the room? Hiding in the closet, maybe?").

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#12 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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contactmaya: Anger is most definitely a valid emotion in nvc! I'm really curious as to where you heard otherwise. Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of nvc, has said that we should view anger as a "red flag" that there is some trigger, or unmet need, or suppressed feeling coming to the surface that is demanding you give it your attention. He recommends that when we feel angry we should acknowledge it, hit the pause button or take a break, and examine what is going on for us so we can work through it peacefully.

 

lalemma: I so agree with you about the limit setting! We let a lot slide here, but there are also a lot of times when I have had to speak up about something and put a limit in place because it was not in line with our core values.


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#13 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 10:35 AM
 
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Ex. 1

I would suggest the person dig in to why this email is bringing up such a response for them. I would offer empathy, and the emotional space to work through their feelings. There is not much more to do in this specific situation as this person has to work through this issue in the way that works best for them.

 

 

Quote:
For adult relationships, I like this suggestion very much. I'm trying, however, to picture myself successfully telling someone they need to work on this issue...in a VERY good place, I could see it but I don't see it working well actually IN conflict. 

 

 

Ex. 2

It sounds like the child is feeling sad because they are possibly needing a choice in the matter, possibly needing to be heard and understood, possibly they want to know their opinions matter and are valued. Also, another guess of mine is the child may be needing a sense of order, or to know what's coming next. I would empathize and validate the child, and then ask for their opinions on what to do for dinner/evening out, and go from there. 

 

Quote:
I have a hard time with this - or I would. This example is actually from our real life this summer. DC had a WONDERFUL summer but towards the end she had become so accustomed to "special" that regular life became something she felt was "unfair". Or something like that. For me, I would have a very hard time empathizing with a child who had just had lots of major life-fun and come from the boardwalk (amusement park type) who got upset that we couldn't then go out to eat. It would set of an "ungrateful" "spoiled" trigger for me. 
 
This actually illustrates some of my struggles with feelings. What if the child truly felt that it was "unfair" that the family couldn't eat out after a day at the boardwalk. Or what if she really felt her opinions didn't matter after weeks of child-centered activity that she got to choose? 
 
In real life, the solution  to the above problems was getting back to a more reasonable, balanced lifestyle. I suppose a case could be made that DC needed to not have so much fun...I think I may have tried to tell that to her - didn't go over well. ROTFLMAO.gif

 


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#14 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 10:37 AM
 
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Mittsy, I have heard things like, "Anger is a secondary emotion," meaning that anger is the result of "real emotions" such as disappointment, fear sadness and etc. I did not think it was NVC but it SEEMS like it would go hand in hand. 


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#15 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 10:43 AM
 
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 "Have I given you enough empathy yet? Are you ready to hear me now or do I need to keep giving you empathy?" And the constant frustrations that people have that they aren't being heard enough. 

Perhaps not surprising from my posts but I am not known for being especially empathetic. I'm a "do-er" when it comes to showing that I am empathizing with people. There have been times where I have tried to repeat back an emotion a person is feeling and it comes off as really sarcastic. Even if I don't mean it that way, I suppose it's difficult for me to take my judgement out of it. 

 

I am also starting to get that NVC maybe is something that is active that the person in conflict DOES - rather than something we do to the person in conflict. That makes sense to me. I do tend to try very hard to "own" my feelings, where they're coming from, what they're really about and etc. Obviously we can't do that for another person...I've tried and it doesn't work that well. 2whistle.gif


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#16 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 10:48 AM
 
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contactmaya: Anger is most definitely a valid emotion in nvc! I'm really curious as to where you heard otherwise. Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of nvc, has said that we should view anger as a "red flag" that there is some trigger, or unmet need, or suppressed feeling coming to the surface that is demanding you give it your attention. He recommends that when we feel angry we should acknowledge it, hit the pause button or take a break, and examine what is going on for us so we can work through it peacefully. 

So, like I said above, it seems that NVC is really something that you do as an individual. I get how that is super helpful and how you can require honesty and perspective from yourself. How do you "do it" with others? Is it a mutual thing you decide as a group to do together, learn together? 

 

For instance in example #1, it seems like it's maybe up to the person feeling angry and hurt to apply NVC but it doesn't seem like you can require that of them if it's not their thing. 


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#17 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 10:58 AM
 
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lalemma: I so agree with you about the limit setting! We let a lot slide here, but there are also a lot of times when I have had to speak up about something and put a limit in place because it was not in line with our core values.

I think I'm a fairly tolerant person and I'm pretty laid-back so the potential with GD to be permissive is there for me. What has served our family well so that we don't get into the permissiveness trap is this idea I have of being an "authentic" parent. By that I suppose it mean that I don't apologize, feel guilty or second-guess my own needs as a person. I can see from lalemma's post how certain discipline styles that appear to be more flexible can have a real outcome of having more limits. 


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#18 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 10:58 AM
 
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Wow, what a great school! I like the way you put this, thanks for reminding me.

 

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Originally Posted by lalemma View Post

 

The main thing I've learned from my child's school is to feel more neutral about feelings. All feelings. My child's feelings, my own. They are not storms to be managed or weathered, they are just neutral events. Conflicts are just things that happen when human beings get together. They are a part of life, not evidence of failure.

 

 

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#19 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 11:05 AM
 
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Ok, one more question...

 

Along the way I started to see the value in having a parent (or another person, friend) be a good gauge for one's feelings. I know you say that feelings are never out of perspective and I suppose I'm still having a hard time with that. But, isn't acting neutral towards feelings taking away the feedback system for gauging feelings? I feel like this feedback system is really helpful, not only for children but for all of us. 


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#20 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 11:11 AM
 
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Wow, what a great school!

DC's first public school required and offered parenting classes as well. There were 5, I think, and families had to do one/year. And they were offered for free! It was awesome. DC only stayed there for a year but we loaded up on classes. My favorite was PET (Parent Effectiveness Training) and this great class/talk on temperament. 


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#21 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 11:13 AM
 
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contactmaya: Anger is most definitely a valid emotion in nvc! I'm really curious as to where you heard otherwise. Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of nvc, has said that we should view anger as a "red flag" that there is some trigger, or unmet need, or suppressed feeling coming to the surface that is demanding you give it your attention. He recommends that when we feel angry we should acknowledge it, hit the pause button or take a break, and examine what is going on for us so we can work through it peacefully.

 ot in line with our core values.

 

 i picked up the idea that anger wasnt considered an authentic emotion  from a workshop i did.  I like how you describe it here. 

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#22 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 11:22 AM
 
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Perhaps not surprising from my posts but I am not known for being especially empathetic. I'm a "do-er" when it comes to showing that I am empathizing with people. There have been times where I have tried to repeat back an emotion a person is feeling and it comes off as really sarcastic. Even if I don't mean it that way, I suppose it's difficult for me to take my judgement out of it. 

 

I am also starting to get that NVC maybe is something that is active that the person in conflict DOES - rather than something we do to the person in conflict. That makes sense to me. I do tend to try very hard to "own" my feelings, where they're coming from, what they're really about and etc. Obviously we can't do that for another person...I've tried and it doesn't work that well. 2whistle.gif

 

That's funny, IdentityCrisisMama, because I have found your posts to be very empathic and sensitive. You mention that you are a do-er more than an empathizer, and in my life I am the exact opposite - I get a lot of flack for being so caught up in what the other person is feeling that I fail to take the firm action that other people would like to see happen, yet when I post, I come off as not very empathic. Its funny how in our posting lives we seem different from our "real" lives!

 

Anyway, I think that my experience with NVC in practice has been when two people, or a family, come to NVC to try to rectify conflict within their family system. I especially see it recommended to two parents in the process of divorce, as they try to work out parenting plans and deal with their anger and blame towards to each other. NVC is often something that was recommended to them from an outside source like a counselor. Or a parent who feels that the connection with their child is filled with hostility and distrust,and they want to be more connected. I guess since that is the majority of people I see trying to use NVC aren't doing it primarily for self-improvement, but as a means to heal a conflict between people, there is a lot more of "hey, she isn't following NVC and I am! She's not doing it right! She's supposed to be giving me empathy right now and that wasn't empathy!" or "Well I tried to connect with my 3-year-old using NVC and he still hit me! He's not supposed to do that; he's supposed to be relieved that I'm listening to him and respond with "okay, mama, I understand!"

 

 I really find NVC useful in learning to look at what needs my feelings might be reacting to. I love that my DD is starting to use "NVC" language herself.

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That's funny, IdentityCrisisMama, because I have found your posts to be very empathic and sensitive. 

 

 

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This so ironic, I just started reading the book two nights ago, and here is a topic thread.
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#25 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 04:42 PM
 
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"Well I tried to connect with my 3-year-old using NVC and he still hit me! He's not supposed to do that; he's supposed to be relieved that I'm listening to him and respond with "okay, mama, I understand!"
 

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Our instructor had to argue with us at length about how this is not going to happen.

 

So I am totally not doing 100% Pure Authentic NVC, but one thing I have found so useful and interesting about this type of communication is that I feel much, much less responsible for how other people feel than I used to. I used to have a lot of anxiety about other peoples' negative feelings, and conflict, in large part I think because I somehow felt like it was my job to fix their negative feelings.

 

And now I feel more like "Wow! You are feeling really upset that I said that it's time for us to leave the park. I can really see how angry and disappointed you are. You wanted to keep playing. Yeah. That's hard." but I don't feel like I need to solve his problem. The problem is our collective thing to come up with solutions for - maybe we can work out a way to stay for five more minutes, maybe not. But I am not responsible for his feelings, and that, weirdly, has really freed me up to feel and express more compassion.

 

Quote:

 

Along the way I started to see the value in having a parent (or another person, friend) be a good gauge for one's feelings. I know you say that feelings are never out of perspective and I suppose I'm still having a hard time with that. But, isn't acting neutral towards feelings taking away the feedback system for gauging feelings? I feel like this feedback system is really helpful, not only for children but for all of us.

 

Can you elaborate on this? Are you talking about a time when someone has big feelings that aren't really about that moment, but about being tired/hungry/hormonal/etc? If so, when my child is very tired, he sometimes has mini-meltdowns at bedtime. At that time, I briefly empathize with him, but I definitely don't get into a big thing with him about his emotions, because I think they are not due to a big thing that needs to be dealt with, but just because he's tired. So it looks more like "I hear that you're upset. But you know, sometimes when I'm very tired, I get very upset. So I think this is a signal that your body is ready for sleep now."

 

I feel like this is contextual. I definitely try to take feelings about interpersonal stuff seriously, but if I think that the particular feeling is more about feeling exhausted or hungry, I try to move through it quickly. (I do this with myself, too.) With that said, I still take seriously the fact that the child is feeling that emotion. I don't try to make it bad or shameful or talk him out of it - "You are not really feeling this!".  But I don't sit down and process for 45 minutes, either.

 

(I have seen other people actually process and process and process with what looks to me like a kid who is freaking out because she's hungry, and I am not sure I think that's always helpful to the child, but I'm not in their shoes.)

 

Quote:
I love that my DD is starting to use "NVC" language herself.

 

My son does this, too. I think it's kind of cool. I mean, he is still three years old, he isn't Gandhi. But it is interesting to negotiate with him. Interesting, and sometimes exhausting! I frequently feel hoist by my own petard.

 

Anyway, I'm glad to see this thread here! Sometimes when I talk about this type of communication, I feel like it sounds a little bit like I'm in a cult! Which is mildly funny to me, because I am just not a joiner.


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#26 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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BellinghamCrunchie: I haven't come across that in the nvc groups I'm a part of, so I'm not really sure what to say. I will admit after I have been empathizing with someone for a while I will check in with them to see if they are needing more empathy, emotional space to just vent and nothing else, or advice. If it seems to be a ongoing issue I have no problem mentioning to them gently that I think I have given them all I could at the moment and they may benefit from digging in to this issue on their own. Personally, I don't think it benefits anyone to always stuff their emotions in favor of somebody else's.

 

As far as PMS goes, empathy doesn't help me either. I have found that I need copious amounts of alone time, time to go inward and do self work, declare a stay at home and do nothing week.... This is what gets me through.

 

Part of what many people find so hard about nvc is the "formula", it feels unrealistic to do in everyday life I'll admit it. What I have learned though is that you don't always need to go through the whole "I'm seeing x and feeling y about this because I'm needing z. Would you be willing to help me by doing c...." I've let go of the "formula", and just follow the basic rules, and it's become a lot easier for me!

 

 

IdentityCrisisMama:

 

Ex1

I would say it depends on the relationship you have with the person. If I have a close relationship with the person I have no issue saying "I feel I've given all I could at this moment may'be you would benefit from digging in to this issue on your own...." If you don't have a good relationship with the person, or you're not feeling confident I would let them vent about the issue, giving empathy if wanted, and then use the "pass the bean dip method".

 

Ex2

It sounds like you were pretty worn out in that situation. It sounds to me like may'be creating some more time in your schedule for yourself would help you respond more authentically to others on a consistent basis.

 

 

About the anger, I believe I remember now what you're referring to. I believe somewhere in nvc they state that anger is a mental state you experience when another need is going unmet, and to view it as a red flag to go check in with yourself. Thank you for that prompt!

 

Doing nvc is a personal choice I've found. You can use nvc in all situations, but there is no guarantee the other person will want to participate, or even like it, but I think it's important to respect where they are right now even if that means they think this is nuts.

 

I don't think you have to be neutral all the time about things, in fact that would not be acting out of honesty and authenticity to ourselves to do so. I feel the feedback system is important for everyone too.


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#27 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 05:03 PM
 
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Can you elaborate on this?  

I'm thinking more about when we need folks close to us to react to our feelings so we can get some more perspective on how serious things are. For instance, I will often run things by my DC or my mom or a close friend to get a feeling for how they respond to how strongly I feel about this or that. Sometimes, I get the feeling that they can't even relate to why I have gotten myself worked up. Other times the are more shocked or upset than I am. I think this kind of feedback is really helpful. I think it's helpful for my DC.  

 

And I suppose I am having trouble letting go of feeling like (especially in a situation like example #2) that some feedback that someone's feelings may be  out of balance, out of perspective may be a good thing. 

 

All of that said, I think I, too, feel a lot of pressure about other people's feelings. I'm really intrigued by the fact that NVC has allowed you to loosen up in that way. 


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#28 of 38 Old 12-09-2012, 07:58 PM
 
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One of the biggest problems I have using NVC is in working with or just interacting with people with personality disorders. I know Marshall doesn't like labels, but for me a label sometimes helps me organize my thoughts, and among my colleagues I only have to say "borderline" and they immediately draw an accurate mental picture of the person I am talking about, so its useful as a kind of shorthand to describe a cluster of traits. Anyway, there is one person in particular in my NVC group who comes to the group for help with the "horrible, disrespectful, and abusive way" he is treated in all areas of his life. When he relays conversations in which he was supposedly the victim, it seems very clear that he was extremely abusive to another person first and that the other person was simply trying to withdraw as fast as they could. I have a great deal of trouble being empathic to him, and listening over and over and over to yet another victimization story, with no signs of self-awareness increasing or any ability to have any degree of empathy for another person. I get so frustrated that NVC doesn't seem to be having any kind of impact; instead, its providing him with a sounding board for his litany of complaints. And it seems that every time he gets empathy and validation, he re-affirms to himself that its others, not him, that are the problem, and his status as chronic victim is re-affirmed in his mind.

 

How do you use NVC when you are interacting with people who have interpersonal difficulties like this?

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This has been really interesting for me to read!!  I hadn't heard of NVC before this thread, and it sounds like something I could really benefit from.  I'm a big-time conflict avoider, terrible at voicing my grievances, preferring to just simmer and then let it pass (which it does; I'm not a bottle-up-and-explode person).  I know that the biggest reason for this is childhood trauma, fear of abandonment, and always having the underlying fear that conflict, however minor, will result in the termination of that relationship.  I feel like breaking it down into a formula would be really helpful for me, since I freeze up and am totally out of touch with my own feelings in the midst of a conflict.  

 

DS is too young to converse with, but I bet this would be great for DH and me!  Does anyone have any further-reading links/blog posts/online articles I can look at before buying a book? 




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#30 of 38 Old 12-10-2012, 04:43 AM
 
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L, a few posts up Mittsy posted a link to a NVC feelings list from what seemed to be an Aussie NVC group. That site had a lot of links and articles, it seemed. 

 

So happy that this thread and these philosophical discussions are bringing up new ideas for folks!  

 

I truly believe that some of the more radical GD philosophies are really important to flexing our GD muscle, so to speak. Even if a philosophy ends up not resonating well, I think it's good to learn about. I'm not sure how well NVC is resonating with me (I want to read an article or two, myself) but already I'm taking away this idea that we need not feel so responsible for other people's feelings...something I plan to think about the next time I'm faced with a really emotional situation. 

 

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