Nonviolent TMCOMMUNICATION A Language of Life Marshall B. Rosenberg, ISBN 13 PDF: Library of Nonviolent Communication connectssoul to soul, creating a lot of healing. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a process of connecting with people in a way that allows everyone's needs to be met through empathizing with the. Nonviolent Communication: book summary and review. here the best takeaways from Marshall Rosenberg best-seller, also available in PDF.
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Nonviolent Communicationsm (NVC), developed by. Marshall Rosenberg, guides us to reframe how we express ourselves, how we hear others and resolve . What I observe (see, hear,. 1. What you observe (see, hear, remember, imagine, free from remember, imagine, free from my evaluations that does or. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a simple method for clear, empathic This material is adapted from Marshall Rosenberg's Non Violent Communication.
Im not one for feelings, and even less for needs. What I am proposing is to explore a hypothesis for genuine relations between human beings who are free and responsible at the same time, a hypothesis that I will characterize by a twofold question that, it seems to me, is so often at the center of the existential difculties many experience: While studying the factors that affect our ability to staycompassionate, I was struck by the crucial role of language andour use of words. The story of my life began on the day I decided not to live it as if I was going up the down-escalator. Often to get out of it we can only blame someone or something:
Mostafa Mahmoud , psycho-motor at smart kids. No Downloads. Views Total views. Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. Nonviolent communication-a-language-of-life-marshall-b-rosenberg 1. Rosenberg, Ph. Nonviolent Communication: No part of this book may be reproduced by any mechanical,photographic, or electronic process, or in the form of a photographic recording, nor mayit be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted or otherwise copied for public or privateuse without the written permission of the publisher.
Requests for permission should beaddressed to: PuddleDancer Press, Permissions Dept. Box , Encinitas, CA Fax: Marshall B. Lucy Leu Project Director: Jeanne Iler Cover and interior design: Lightbourne, www.
Nonviolent communication: Includes bibliographical references and index. Interpersonal communication.
Interpersonal relations. C45R67 This is one ofthe most useful books you will ever read. A Languageof Life, is essential reading for anyone who wants to improve theircommunication skills. Applying the concepts within the book willhelp guide the reader towards a more loving, compassionate, andnonviolent way of understanding and functioning with others, andfoster more compassion in the world. I highly recommend this book. It is precise,disciplined, and enormously compassionate. It shows us how to listen empathically and also communicate ourauthentic feelings and needs.
Marshall Rosenberg has a genius fordeveloping and teaching practical skills urgently needed for a lessviolent, more caring world. Nonviolent Communication connectssoul to soul, creating a lot of healing.
It is the missing element in whatwe do. I cannot recommend ithighly enough. Youll learn simple tools todefuse arguments and create compassionate connections with yourfamily, friends, and other acquaintances. What happens to disconnect usfrom our compassion, leading us to behave violently and exploitively?
Rosenberg makes some challenging points: His distinctionbetween punitive and protective force—and how to discern when forceis necessary—should be required reading for anyone making foreignpolicy or policing our streets. Demanding the ultimate form ofresponsibility—and vulnerability—its no wonder that Rosenberg hasreceived little media and mass attention.
Well-written and laid out thisbook is accessible and easy to read. Nationally, we talkpeace. This book goes far beyond mere talk.
He hascompiled his ideas into an easy-to-read book that clearly explains thiscommunication model. If you want to learn ways of more skillfulspeech, I highly recommend this book.
Marshall Rosenberg offers aradical challenge to centuries of thought and language that createviolence.
If enough people actually learn Nonviolent Communication wemay soon live in a more peaceful and compassionate world. Both my work associates and Iwere unhappy. My life is significantly changed due to practicingNonviolent Communication. I am more settled and relaxed even whenI am busy. I no longer feel the need to discover fault or place blame.
Everyone is happy to be working with me for the first time in my 33years of owning and operating my own businesses. NonviolentCommunication is a very large step toward that goal. Marshall has shown a way tonot only live, speak and act nonviolently, but a way to do so withoutsacrificing or compromising yourself or others. If angels do manifestin physical form here on this earth, then Marshall Rosenberg mustbe one. Thisprocess has impacted every area of my life and continues to unfold.
For me, it unifies the spiritual truths Ive found in all the worldsreligions. It facilitates and strengthens connections to others and itstruths are experientially testable.
Nonviolent Communication allowed me to overcome my toxicconditioning and find the loving parent and person that was lockedinside. Rosenberg has created a way to transform the violence inthe world. This book practiceswhat it preaches, and I found the step-by-step approach, exercises,and examples to be clear and easy to practice.
I have never read a clearer, more straightforward, insightful book oncommunication. After studying and teaching assertiveness since the70s, this book is a breath of fresh air. Rosenberg adds the brilliantinsight into the linkage of feelings and needs and taking responsibilityand creates a true tool.
Amazingly easy to read, great examples, andchallenging to put into practice—this book is a true gift to all of us. It will teach you how to recognize anger before itbecomes violence, and how to understand, deal with, and take controlof the rage you may feel.
Parents remark that they feel heard. Solutions come moreeasily and naturally. Conflicts and misunderstandings with colleaguesnow become opportunities to create deeper connections. Anger,depression, shame and guilt become friends that help me wake tosome vital need that is not being met.
Read the book! I have taught the method to many parents whohave reported having gained a deeper understanding of their children,thus enhancing their relationship and decreasing tension and conflict. Observation or Evaluation? Bring Back the Stigma of Illegitimacy! The results of this research played a key rolein the evolution of the process of communication that I will bedescribing in this book.
I will be forever grateful that Professor Michael Hakeem helpedme to see the scientific limitations and the social and politicaldangers of practicing psychology in the way that I had beentrained: Seeingthe limitations of this model stimulated me to search for ways ofpracticing a different psychology, one based on a growing clarityabout how we human beings were meant to live.
Finally, I would like to express gratitude to my friend AnnieMuller. Her encouragement to be clearer about the spiritualfoundation of my work has strengthened that work and enrichedmy life. Especially not ifyou were brutally reminded of your skin color every moment ofevery day.
And then to be beaten up at the age of 10 by whiteyouths because they consider you too black and then by blackyouths because they consider you too white is a humiliatingexperience that would drive anyone to vengeful violence.
I was so outraged that my parents decided to take me to Indiaand leave me for some time with grandfather, the legendry M. Gandhi, so that I could learn from him how to deal with the anger,the frustration, the discrimination and the humiliation that violentcolor prejudice can evoke in you. In the 18 months I learned morethan I anticipated. My only regret now is that I was just 13 yearsold and a mediocre student at that.
If only I was older, a bit wiserand a bit more thoughtful I could have learned so much more. But,one must be happy with what one has received and not be greedy,a fundamental lesson in nonviolent living.
How can I forget this? To bring this home to me grandfather made me draw a familytree of violence using the same principles as we do a genealogicaltree. His argument was that I would have a better appreciation ofnonviolence if I understood and acknowledged the violence thatexists in the world. He then explained that passiveviolence ultimately generated anger in the victim who, as anindividual or as a member of a collective, responded violently. Inother words it is passive violence that fuels the fire of physicalviolence.
Grandfather always vociferously stressed the need fornonviolence in communications—something that Marshall Rosenberghas been doing admirably for several years through his writings andhis seminars. I read with considerable interest Mr. We areall, unfortunately, waiting for the other person to change first. Nonviolence is not a strategy that can be used today anddiscarded tomorrow; nonviolence is not something that makesyou meek or a pushover; nonviolence is about inculcating positiveattitudes to replace the negative attitudes that dominate us.
More so in an overwhelmingly materialistic society thatthrives on rugged individualism. None of these negative conceptsare conducive to building a homogenous family, community,society or a nation. Nonviolence means allowing the positive within you to emerge. Be dominated by love, respect, understanding, appreciation,compassion and concern for others rather than the self-centeredand selfish, greedy, hateful, prejudiced, suspicious and aggressiveattitudes that dominate our thinking.
We often hear people say: Thisworld is ruthless and if you want to survive you must becomeruthless too. I humbly disagree with this contention.
This world is what we have made of it. If it is ruthless today it isbecause we have made it ruthless by our attitudes. If we changeourselves we can change the world and changing ourselves beginswith changing our language and methods of communication. Ihighly recommend reading this book, and applying the NonviolentCommunication process it teaches.
It is a significant first steptowards changing our communication and creating a compassionateworld. When I speak and when I hear,Let the love light shine through me. What happens to disconnect us fromour compassionate nature, leading us to behave violently andexploitatively?
And conversely, what allows some people to stayconnected to their compassionate nature under even the mosttrying circumstances? My preoccupation with these questions began in childhood,around the summer of , when our family moved to Detroit,Michigan. The second week after we arrived, a race war eruptedover an incident at a public park. More than forty people werekilled in the next few days. Our neighborhood was situated in thecenter of the violence, and we spent three days locked in the house.
When the race riot ended and school began, I discovered thata name could be as dangerous as any skin color. After school, the two were waiting for me: Since that summer in , I have been examining the twoquestions I mentioned. What empowers us, for example, to stayconnected to our compassionate nature even under the worstcircumstances? I am thinking of people like Etty Hillesum, whoremained compassionate even while subjected to the grotesqueconditions of a German concentration camp.
Not because I am brave but I because I know that I am dealing with human beings, and that I must try as hard as I can to understand everything that anyone ever does. And that was the real import of this morning: I should have liked to start treating him there and then, for I know that pitiful young men like that are dangerous as soon as they are let loose on mankind.
A Diary. While studying the factors that affect our ability to staycompassionate, I was struck by the crucial role of language andour use of words. I call this approachNonviolent Communication, using the term nonviolence as Gandhiused it—to refer to our natural state of compassion when violencehas subsided from the heart. A Way To Focus AttentionNVC is founded on language and communication skills thatstrengthen our ability to remain human, even under tryingconditions.
It contains nothing new; all that has been integratedinto NVC has been known for centuries. The intent is to remind usabout what we already know—about how we humans were meantto relate to one another—and to assist us in living in a way thatconcretely manifests this knowledge. NVC guides us in reframing how we express ourselves and hearothers. Instead of being habitual, automatic reactions, our wordsbecome conscious responses based firmly on an awareness of whatwe are perceiving, feeling, and wanting.
We are led to expressourselves with honesty and clarity, while simultaneously payingothers a respectful and empathic attention. In any exchange, wecome to hear our own deeper needs and those of others. NVC trainsus to observe carefully, and to be able to specify behaviors andconditions that are affecting us. We learn to identify and clearlyarticulate what we are concretely wanting in a given situation.
Theform is simple, yet powerfully transformative. As NVC replaces our old patterns of defending, withdrawing, orattacking in the face of judgment and criticism, we come to perceiveourselves and others, as well as ourintentions and relationships, in a new We perceive relationships inlight.
Resistance, defensiveness, and a new light when we useviolent reactions are minimized.
When NVC to hear our own deeperwe focus on clarifying what is being needs and those of others. Through its emphasis on deep listening—to ourselves as well as others—NVC fosters respect, attentiveness, and empathy, and engenders a mutual desire to give from the heart. On a deeper level, it is an ongoing reminder to keep our attention focused on a place where we are more likely to get what we are seeking.
There is a story of a man under a street lamp searching for something on all fours. A policeman passing by asked what he was doing. What I want inwhere we can hope to find my life is compassion, a flow betweenwhat we are seeking. To receive with grace may be the greatest giving. When you give to me, I give you my receiving. When you take from me, I feel so given to. This kindof giving benefits both the giver and the receiver. The receiverenjoys the gift without worrying about the consequences thataccompany gifts given out of fear, guilt, shame, or desire for gain.
The use of NVC does not require that the persons with whomwe are communicating be literate in NVC or even motivated torelate to us compassionately. If we stay with the principles of NVC,motivated solely to give and receive compassionately, and doeverything we can to let others know this is our only motive, theywill join us in the process and eventually we will be able torespond compassionately to one another. The NVC Process To arrive at a mutual desire to give from the heart, we focus the light of consciousness on four areas—referred to as the four components of the NVC model.
First, we observe what is actually happening in a situation: The trick is to be able to articulate this observation without introducing any judgment orFour components of NVC: And thirdly, we say what needs of ours are connected to the feelings we have identified.
An awareness of these three components is present when we use NVC to clearly and honestly express how we are. Thus, part of NVC is to express these four pieces of information very clearly, whether verbally or by other means. The other aspect of this communication consists of receiving the same four pieces of information from others.
As we keep our attention focused on the areas mentioned, andhelp others do likewise, we establish a flow of communication,back and forth, until compassion manifests naturally: NVC Process The concrete actions we are observing that are affecting our well-being How we feel in relation to what we are observing The needs, values, desires, etc.
Although we will learn to listen forand verbally express each of thesecomponents in Chapters 3—6, it is Two parts of NVC: While I 2. The essence of NVC is to be found in our consciousness ofthese four components, not in the actual words that are exchanged.
It is therefore an approach that can be effectively appliedat all levels of communication and in diverse situations: I discovered a very hurting man to whom I had been married for 28 years. He had asked me for a divorce the weekend before the [NVC] workshop.
To make a long story short, we are here today—together, and I appreciate the contribution [it has] made to our happy ending. He is not here to make me happy, nor am I here to create happiness for him. Ateacher writes: It can work even with children who have language delays, learning difficulties, and behavior problems. One student in our classroom spits, swears, screams, and stabs other students with pencils when they get near his desk. Use your giraffe talk. I feel angry when you stand so close to me.
I forgot it bothers you. I realized how much time I had put into lesson planning and how my need for creativity and contribution were being short- circuited in order to manage behavior.
Also, I felt I was not meeting the educational needs of the other students. I Some patients ask me whether I am a psychologist, saying that usually their doctors are not interested in the way they live their lives or deal with their diseases. Recently a woman with AIDS, whom I have been treating for the past five years, told me that what has helped her the most have been my attempts to find ways for her to enjoy her daily life.
My use of NVC helps me a lot in this respect. Often in the past, when I knew that a patient had a fatal disease, I myself would get caught in the prognosis, and it was hard for me to sincerely encourage them to live their lives. With NVC, I have developed a new consciousness as well as a new language.
I am amazed to see how much it fits in with my medical practice. I feel more energy and joy in my work as I become increasingly engaged in the dance of NVC. A French cabinetmember visiting her sister remarked how differently the sister andher husband were communicating and responding to each other.
Thoughtime was limited, we dispatched a French-speaking trainer toParis to work with the cabinet minister. In Jerusalem, during a workshop attended by Israelis of varyingpolitical persuasions, participants used NVC to express themselvesregarding the highly contested issue of the West Bank. Many of theIsraeli settlers who have established themselves on the West Bankbelieve that they are fulfilling a religious mandate by doing so, andthey are locked in conflict not only with Palestinians but also withother Israelis who recognize the Palestinian hope for nationalsovereignty in this region.
After twenty minutes, a settler announced her willingness toconsider relinquishing her land claims and moving out of the WestBank into internationally recognized Israeli territory if her politicalopponents were able to listen to her in the way she had just beenlistened to. Worldwide, NVC now serves as a valuable resource forcommunities facing violent conflicts and severe ethnic, religious,or political tensions. The spread of NVC training and its use inmediation by people in conflict in Israel, the Palestinian Authority,Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and elsewhere have been a sourceof particular gratification for me.
I am driving an old car with no control panel, like a Model T Ford of the early s. Im driving along condently, using up all the reserve gasoline and have no concern for my need for gas since there is nothing to alert my awareness. Sooner or later I run out of gas in the middle of the countrysideno signal, no awareness of the need, no power to act. A more conventional scenario: Im driving a modern-day car that has a fully equipped dashboard.
At some stage, my gas gauge shows me that Im on reserve. So I complain: Who forgot to put gas in this car? Its simply unbelievable; it always happens to me! Isnt there anyone 24 PuddleDancer Press www. I complain and complain, so much so that Im totally absorbed by my complaining and fail to see all the gas stations I drive past.
Sooner or later I run out of gas in the middle of the countryside. There had been a signal, I became aware of the need, but I undertook no actions to remedy the situation. I devoted all my energy to complaining and seeking a guilty party and someone on whom to vent my frustration.
A scenario advocated by Nonviolent Communication: The gas gauge shows that Im on reserve. I identify my need: Aha, Im going to need fuel, but I dont see a gas station right now.
What am I to do? I then take concrete and positive action. I will be alert to the next gas station I come across. Ill go there and take care of my need. I provide the rescue service myself.
Being aware of the need I have voiced, I awaken myself to the possibility of coming up with a solution. The solution does not occur immediately, but as I have become aware of the need, there is a much greater chance I will come up with a solution than if, as in the rst scenario, I have no awareness. If I sorted things out myself by filling up, this doesnt mean Im going to forgo my need for consideration or respect. Back home, I may say to my teenage child or spouse: Im disappointed at having had to ll up after you used the car feelingF.
I have a need for consideration of my time and respect for having loaned you my car needN. In the future, would you agree to lling up the tank yourselves requestR? Indeed, we are often alienated from our feelings through our education or habit.
This is even more so when it comes to our needs. Needs or values Most of us nowadays are to a large extent cut off from our feelings, and we are almost completely alienated from our needs. I sometimes like to say that a concrete slab separates us from our needs. We have been taught to try to understand and meet the needs of others rather than listen to our own. Listening to oneself has long been synonymous with sin, or at least egocentricity or navel-gazing: It is not right to listen to oneself like that.
Oh, another person who listens to himself. The very idea that we might have needs is still very often perceived as problematic. Now its true that the word need has often been misunderstood. It does not mean a passing desire, a momentary impulse, a whim. We are referring here to our basic needs, the ones that: Are required simply to maintain life.
We meet for the sake of balance Relate to our most basic human values: The more I practice NVC principles, the more Im aware of the extent to which better understanding our needs enables us to better understand our values.
I will expand on this issue a bit later. In a workshop I was running, a mother was complaining how she failed to understand her children. A state of war reigned in the household, and she said she was exhausted at having to require them to do a thousand things that either they appeared not to understand or that made them feel like doing exactly the opposite. When I asked her if she could identify her needs relating to this situation, she exploded and said: But it is not here on earth that we are meant to look after 26 PuddleDancer Press www.
If everyone were to listen to their needs, war would break out all over. What you are offering is dreadful selshness! Are you angry F because you would like human beings to be attentive and listen to one another N in order together to come up with solutions to meet their needs?
Is your wish N that there should be understanding and harmony among human beings? But of course. Well, you see, its difcult for me to believe that you will ever be able to listen properly to the needs of your children if you dont begin by listening sufciently to your own.
Its hard for me to believe that you will be able to understand them in all their diversity and contradictions if you dont take the time to understand yourself and love yourself with all your multiple facets and your own contradictions. How do you feel when I say that to you?
She was speechless, on the brink of tears. Then it was as if something clicked in her heart. The group stayed with her in silence, a moment of profound empathy. Then laughing, she observed: Its incredible.
Im just realizing that I never learned to listen to myself. So I dont listen to them either. I just demand that they obey my rules! And of course they rebel. At their age, I rebelled too! Can we genuinely give proper listening attention to others without genuinely giving ourselves proper listening?
Can we be available and compassionate toward others without being so toward ourselves? Can we love others with all their differences and their contradictions without rst of all loving our own differences and contradictions? If we cut ourselves off from our needs, there will be a price to pay by ourselves and others. If we cut ourselves off from our needs, there will be a price to payby ourselves and others. Alienation from our needs generates invoices in various ways.
Here are the most frequent ways: It is difcult for us to make choices that involve us personally. At work we usually manage to. But in our emotional, intimate lives, when it comes to more personal choices, how difcult it is!
We hesitate, not knowing how to choose, hoping that eventually events or people will decide for us. Or we force the choice upon ourselves Thats more reasonable. Thats wiser , helpless as we are to listen and understand our deeper yearnings. We have an addiction: Unable to identify our true needs, those that are personally our own, we become dependent on the opinions of others: What do you think about that?
What would you do if you were in my place? Or, worse, we t perfectly into the mold of their expectations, such as we imagine them to be, without checking them and simply adapting or overadapting to them: Whatever will they think of me?
I absolutely must do this or that. I must behave in such and such a way, otherwise. We wear ourselves out being dependent on others recognition and, at worst, we become fad addicts Everyone does it like that. Im going to behave like everyone else. We become the playthings of various addictions money, power, sex, television, gambling, alcohol, prescription drugs and other drugs, and now the Internet or formal instructions submitting to the authority of a demanding company, a directive political movement, or an authoritarian cult or sect.
I have met many people suffering unconsciously or consciously from addictions recognized as such. In my view, the most widespread and the least recognized is the addiction to how we appear to others. We are not aware of our needs, and for good reason, since we werent taught to recognize them. We therefore expect our needs to be met through drugs, alcohol, people. We 28 PuddleDancer Press www.
We have been taught to meet the needs of others, to be a good boy or good girl , polite, kind, and courteousthe good fellows, as Guy Corneau calls them, listening to everyone except oneself. We then get into the process of violence by aggression or projection referred to earlier, that is, a process where criticism, judgment, insults, and rebukes loom large. Im unhappy because my parents. Im sad because my spouse. Im feeling down because my boss. Im depressed because of the economic situation or all the pollution.
Im in a bad mood because [name sports team] keeps losing. More often than not, we have experienced being subservient to the needs of others or we have feared not being able to have our needs met to such an extent that we bossily impose our needs on othersand no questions asked. Thats how it is. Now, go and clean your roomand at once! Do it because I said so, thats why. We then get into a process of violence through authority.
We are exhausted at trying to get our needs met and forever failing. Finally, we capitulate: I give up! I give up on myself. I close in on myself, or I run away. Here, the violence is directed against ourselves. Yes, I hear you say, but what is the good of being aware of ones needs if it means living in perpetual frustration?
And doubtless you are thinking of persons who have indeed identified their needs for a sense of community or some sort of recognition and who haphazardly spend life seeking to belong and be recognized, going from cocktail parties to meetings, from sports clubs to humanitarian activities, never satisfied.
Others, who so need to find their place, their identity, or their inner security, run to and fro from workshop to therapy, never finding real respite. In the next chapter we will see how the very act of identifying our need, without it even being met, already produces relief and a surprising degree of well-being. In fact, when we are suffering, the rst level of suffering is not knowing what we are suffering from.
If only we could identify the inner cause of our discomfort, we would come through the confusion. Thus, if you do not feel well physically, if you have suspect stomach pains, headaches, or backaches, you get worried: What is happening? Maybe its cancer, a tumor. If you see your doctor and he identies the cause, pointing out that you are suffering from indigestion, that your liver is overloaded, or that you have twisted your back, the pain does not go away.
However, you feel reassured in the knowledge of what is happening, and you cut through the confusion. The same is true of need. Identifying it makes it possible to get out of the confusion that only adds to our misery.
A key reason for us to be interested in identifying needs is that as long as were unaware of our needs we dont know how to meet them. We often then wait for others parents, spouse, child to come along and meet our needs spontaneously, guessing what would please us, whereas we ourselves nd it difcult to name those needs.
A key reason for us to be interested in identifying needs is that as long as were unaware of our needs, we dont know how to meet them. Here are two examples of couples who came to me for consultations to sort out their relationship difculties: But rst, notes on examples quoted 1. The examples from real life quoted in this book are deliberately abridged to avoid the length and detail of storytelling.
I have endeavored to maintain the essence of the interaction because the exchanges took a lot longer than what appears here. Too, the time devoted to silence and inner work cannot be conveyed very well by the text, even though contemplative disciplines constitute a basic component of the work. The tone or the vocabulary might at times seem nave. I do this deliberately in many of my consultations in order to get to the heart of the matter, avoiding as much as possible any thinking or intellectualizing about what is truly at stake that might interfere with listening and inner awakening.
In an atmosphere of openness and profound mutual respect, the simplest words and tone often have the greatest impact. I have observed that simplicity sharpens consciousness, because attention, being required only a little or not at all for intellectual understanding, is available for emotional understanding.
Peoples names have been changed, and sometimes roles have been reversed in order to respect condentiality. In the rst example, a wife is complaining about her husbands inability to understand: He doesnt understand my needs. Could you, I suggested, tell me a need of yours that you would like him to understand. Oh, no! Hes my husband after all! Its up to him to understand my needs! Are you saying that you expect him to guess your needs, whereas you yourself nd it difcult to determine them?
And have you been playing this guessing game for a long time? Weve been married for thirty years. You must feel exhausted. She bursts into tears. Oh, I am! Im at the end of my rope. Are you exhausted because you have a need for understanding and support on the part of your husband, and that is what youve been waiting for so long?
Yes, thats exactly it. Well, I fear you may wait a long time unless you clarify your needs for yourself and then tell him. Then, after a long, tear-lled silence, she said: Youre right.
Im the one who is confused. You see, in my family, we were not allowed to have needs. I know nothing about my needs and, of course, I chide him for usually being wrong, without being able to tell him what I really want. Basically, I think hes doing his best, but in the heat of the moment I seldom tell him that. And then of course he gets angry, and I sulk.
Its hell! With this couple, therefore, we did lengthy work on understanding and clarifying the needs of both. People who have always expected others to take care of them without doing much for themselves nd it difcult to accept responsibility for themselves, and taking that initiative can be painful.
However, its only through work on the relationship with oneself that the relationship with others may improve. In the second example, the husband is the one doing the complaining.
My wife doesnt give me recognition! Are you angry because you need to hear her express recognition? Could you tell me what youd like her to say or do to express the recognition you need? I dont know. Well, she doesnt either! So it seems to me that youre 32 PuddleDancer Press www. It must be exhausting for her to sense on your part that theres a strong request for recognition, yet faced with it, she feels helpless.
I suppose the more recognition you ask of her without saying specically what that means, the more she ees. Yes, thats exactly how it is! Then I suppose youre tired of this never-ending quest. Actually, exhausted. Exhausted because you want to share with her and feel close to her? Then I suggest you tell her how you would like to receive recognition, in concrete terms, and in relation to what.
With this couple, we worked not on the need but on the practical request. This man felt wounded because he was not receiving the approval and recognition he wanted for the efforts he had made for years to provide the household with nancial security, despite physical and professional circumstances of a trying nature.
So he got stuck in complaining to his wife: You fail to take the full measure of the efforts Ive been making. You have no idea how hurtful that has been to me. And she, shutting herself off from each criticism, was incapable of reaching him through all the bitterness. Finally, I suggested the following: Would you like to know if your wife has taken the full measure of the efforts you made and if she appreciated your profound commitment?
Yes, thats exactly what I would like to ask her. Well, I turned to his wife, you have heard that your husband would like recognition for his efforts. In more concrete terms, I would like to know if youre aware of the efforts he has made and whether or not you appreciate them.
But of course Im aware, and of course I appreciate them. I simply no longer know quite how to tell him. In the long run, I fear he cant hear me. Its true, I no longer respond, and I rush away to do something else. Do you mean that, in your turn, you would like him to be able to hear that youre not only aware of his efforts but also touched by them?
But of course, most touched, even moved, but he seems to be so hurt that he can no longer recognize my appreciation. Turning to her husband, I asked, How do you feel when you hear that your wife is touched, even moved, by your efforts?
Very moved, in my turn, and relieved. Im becoming aware that I was actually obsessed with my complaining and feeling I was not receiving the recognition I was expecting, and I was no longer aware of the afrmations that in fact she gave me regularly. I myself am shut away in a cage. This awareness lightened the relationship and removed from it a weight that had, in effect, anesthetized the couple to the caring that each had for the other. This second example makes two things clear: Its as if we were to have the other person carry the full responsibility for this need.
Faced with a threat like that, the other person goes slightly berserk and says, I cannot on my own assume responsibility for this huge need love, recognition, listening, support, etc. This is precisely what Guy Corneau describes with these words: Follow me, I ee; ee me, I follow you. The wife is just as 34 PuddleDancer Press www. And the faster she takes to her heels, the more he chases after her. Of course, this works in the other direction too. For example, a wife deeply wishes for tenderness and intimacy.
Her husband panics when faced with such an expectation and seeks escape in work, sports, his papers. The farther away he goes, the more pressing her request. The more pressing her request, the farther away he moves. What he fears, perhaps even on a subconscious level, is having to meet a need for love unmet since childhood. That is too much for one man on his own. Were the situation reversed, it would be too much for a woman as well.
The lesson from this story: If needs arent followed by a concrete request in an identiable time and space e. Would you agree to thank me for specic efforts Ive been making for thirty years? Would you agree to take me in your arms for ten minutes and gently rock me? The other person wonders if he or she will have the capacity to survive such an expectation and remain themselves, maintain their identity, and not be swallowed up by the other person. Its worth remembering that we are often caught in the binary-thinking trap.
Not knowing either how to listen to anothers need without ceasing listening to our own or how to listen to our own need without ceasing listening to the need of another, we often terminate the relationship. We cut off the listening primarily to protect ourselves. When I perceive listening to anothers need as a threat, I cut myself off from it and ee, or I take refuge in silence.
By expressing our practical request to the other party e. This is no longer a virtual need, apparently insatiable and threatening. Rather, its a concrete request, well-defined in terms of space and time. In relation to a request like that, we are able to position ourselves and adopt a stance. As we are obsessed by the idea of our need not being recognized, we arent open to observing that it is so.
The wife had striven to recognize her husbands efforts. Yet he was so caught up or bogged down in the notion of not being understood, that he couldnt hear her. This is a common phenomenon.
By dint of repeating to ourselves the thought that we arent being understood or recognized, that we are the subject of injustice or rejection, we give ourselves a new identity, to wit: I am the one who is not understood, not recognized; Im the one who is the subject of injustice or rejection. We get caught in the rut of this belief to such an extent that the outside world may well send us messages of warmth, understanding, and belongingbut in vain for we cant hear them or see them.
We will return to this matter in Chapter 3. In these instances, its necessary to work on fundamental needs. The questions we may be asking ourselves, among others, are as follows: Am I able to provide myself with the esteem, the recognition, the warmth, the understanding that Im so fervently expecting others to give me?
Can I begin to nurture these needs myself rather than maintain myself in a dependent position regarding the approving opinions of others?
And above all: Am I able to experience my identity other than in complaints and rebellion? Am I able to feel safe and secure in ways other than leaning on something or someone, other than by justifying myself or objecting? Am I able to feel my inner security, my inner strength of and by myself, outside the domain of power and tension?
Once we have identied our need, we are going to be able to make a concrete, negotiable request designed to meet it. By formulating a request, or making a practical and negotiable proposal for action, we free ourselves from the third concrete slab that hampers us and prevents us from taking steps to meet our needs.
By making a practical request, we release ourselves 37 PuddleDancer Press www. Such an expectation can last a long time and prove very frustrating. Making a request means we assume responsibility for the management of our need and therefore assume responsibility for helping to meet it. Too often, though, we fall into the trap of mistaking our requests for fundamental needs. The following example illustrates the distinction between a basic need, which forms an integral part of ourselves in most circumstances, and a practical request, which will vary according to circumstances.
The example of Terry and Andrea During a workshop, I raise the issue of needs, stating that, in my view, human beings basically have the same needs. Doubtless they do not always express them in the same way, nor do they experience them in the same way at the same time.
That is what lies behind marital, domestic, or school misunderstandings, the day-to-day battleelds of needs, not unlike wars waged with machine guns and missiles. To date, out of all of the behaviors I have observed, even the most frightening and the most appalling, I have been able to detect needs common to the whole of humankind.
Obviously, this is the basic hypothesis of my work, and it is based mainly on experience. In no way am I claiming to put forth a universal, comprehensive truth. A participant, Terry, interrupted me and said: I completely disagree with you.
My wife and I do not have the same needs, and that has been the cause of so much tension that were on the verge of divorcing. Weve come together to attend your workshop just to make sure weve done everything we can. Well be able to say to ourselves that weve left no stone unturned, but its without much conviction, especially when you start out by stating that basically human beings have the same needs.
I suggested he come up with an actual situation where he 38 PuddleDancer Press www. This was his answer: Well, it happened a few months back. Things just exploded between us. You need to know that we both work outside the home, and we have three children. One weekend, the children had been invited to stay with their cousins. I came home on the Friday evening after work, tired and. Do you think she did? Not in the least! She needed to stay at home and watch a movie. I then told her that she had no understanding at all about my needs, and she said it was exactly the same for her.
We both ew into a rage, and in the end I went to bed in the childrens room. Since then, we continually have the impression that we do not share the same needs. When you came home that evening, what feelings were alive in you? Whew another sigh. I was tired. It looks like an unpleasant feeling to be experiencing at that time, and it shows that a need was not being met.
Could you tell us what that need was? Thats easya need for rest, of course. Hence the idea of going out to eat that evening. No meal to get ready; no washing to do!
So your feeling of fatigue shows a need for rest, for relaxation at that time. At the same time, I observe your sighing, a reference to your tiredness.
You twice gave a long sigh. My impression is that the sigh is the expression of another feeling. What lies behind that sigh? If you go down a bit into your well, what other feeling was with you then? Terry stopped for a moment to think. Well, I think that in addition to the fatigue of the week it was Friday, and we had been on the run since Monday , there was an older tiredness.
We have been running around for monthsyearswith work, the children, the house, and we dont see much of each other. A feeling of lassitude, being used up? Yes, lassitude, deep lassitude, and a kind of listlessness. And what unmet need did this unpleasant feeling point to? Once again Terry listened within. I believe I just said it: My wife and I dont see each other anymore. I need time to be with her, to connect. I need time for us to join with each other again and share intimacy. As Terry was expressing his needs, his wife, Andrea, sitting not very far from him in our circle, bursts into tears.
Its crazy, she said. I had exactly the same need! I had gone to buy a prepared dish and a bottle of wine both of us like. I went to the video store to rent a movie we had never had the time to go see and, for once, the children were not at home. I was preparing for us to spend a happy little evening together as lovers, precisely to be able to get together for a few hours and share some intimacy! So what happened? What was it that occurred that led this couple, lucky enough to have the same need at the same time, to declare war on each other?
Well, they mistook their requests for fundamental needs, and the needs became an obsession. Terry mistook his request to go out for a meal for a basic need, and Andrea did not listen. Andrea mistook her request to stay at home for a basic need, and Terry did not understand! Both Andrea and Terry stuck to their gunsand both were unconsciously trapped in their little cage!
It wasnt so much the wife failing to listen to the husband as the husband not having listened to himself before opening his mouth. It wasnt so much the husband not understanding the wife as the wife not having taken the time to understand herself before opening her mouth. I suggested re-enacting the scene.
Terry and Andrea had had some practice and were aware that underlying their request, which was their present wishes, there was a basic need. To facilitate understanding of the example, I have again shown in parentheses the abbreviations for the components of the process: The role-play began.
Darling, Terry began, this evening Im tired F. I just need to rest. I dont feel like cooking or anything else N , and I would like to know if you are in agreement for us to go out for a meal R?
Honey, Im dead beat too. Im happy F that we have the same need for rest N. At the same time I feel sad F that weve both been so busy in recent times. I need to spend some quiet time with you, just the two of us N , and Im so afraid F that if we go out to dinner, well be bothered by the waiter or distracted by friends.
So I prefer to stay quietly at home. Everything is already on the table for the meal. We can dine, just the two of us, and then afterward, if you like, we can watch a movie Ive rented that we havent had time to see yet R. Youre making me aware that I have the same need: At the same time, when I hear your proposal to stay at home, I feel a bit disappointed F because I also need a change of scenery, to get out of the house for once when the children arent here N.
So now that we have set out the criteria of what is at stake for us [formerly that would have been called a conict! During that workshop, once Andrea and Terry had played out their exchange and deciphered it, they found that what would please both of them most that evening would be to go for a walk to the end of a lake in their area, taking a picnic basket with them and a little wine.
In the old days when they were in love, they often went there, arm in arm. And then they got caught up by their working lives to such an extent that they forgot to even think about it. Yet this walk would have truly 41 PuddleDancer Press www. This example sheds light on four main points: We fall into the trap ourselvesand tend to drag the other person in toowhen we dont take care to differentiate our true need from our request.
By seeing what underlies our request and identifying our need, we give ourselves freedom. We note, for example, that we can meet our need for intimacy and getting together with our spouse or our need for rest restaurant, walk, movie in all sorts of different ways.
We escape from the fallacy that there is only one solution. By taking care of our true need instead of haggling over our request, we together free ourselves from the trap, and we give ourselves a space to meet, a space to create!
Andrea and Terry, harassed by the pace of their lives, had not taken time to get together or to be creative to make their evening truly satisfying.
The solution they nally came up with, after looking at their needs together, proved much more innovative and satisfactory than any they had hastily come up with previously on their own. By taking care of our true need instead of haggling over our request, we give ourselves a space to meet, a space to create! In this spirit, it is useful to observe that we often skip to the quickly done, poorly done solution.
For a long time I worked as a legal adviser to an American company where the expression quick and dirty was the common way of describing a quick solution to meet an emergency when there wasnt enough time to look for the best solution.
Thus Terry, coming back tired from the ofce, decided on the quick-and-dirty solution to take his wife out for supper. Andrea, in the same way, coming back 42 PuddleDancer Press www. Both of these initiatives of course have their value.
However, it can be seen that neither he nor she really took the time to ask, Deep down, how am I feeling this evening, and what would truly do me and my partner the most good? What would meet our real needs? This is one of the consequences of our education: Some time ago, I was emptying our dishwasher and putting away the utensils in a kitchen drawer. As I was closing the drawer, it stuck halfway. With a swing of the hip, I tried to close it by force.
But it refused to budge, and I wound up with a painful hip, a damaged drawer, and a bent fork! Quick and dirty indeed. I was bowled over.
What old force to solve pattern was alive in me? I thought I had released myself quite considerably from my own violence, but I still had some way to go when it came to acceptance and listening. Observing that the drawer is stuck, pulling it out, bending over, observing what is blocking the drawer, suggesting to the wayward fork that it lie down quietly among its kin, then simply closing the drawer. Thank you, fork, for having taught me to listen and accept before looking for a solution.
Since that time, I have truly believed ever more deeply that violence is a habit, an old reex we can get rid of if we really want to. Ill cover this in greater detail in the last chapter. Our misunderstandings are often mis-listenings, themselves resulting from mis-expressions, ill-spokens, and unspokens.
We are capable of learning to speak with sensitivity, force, and truth. Remarks 1. Terry and Andrea as a couple were lucky enough to have the same need at the same time. This of course facilitated the negotiation of requests and the adoption of a common satisfactory solution. Having had the opportunity to clarify this misunderstanding in a way that nally pleased them, they went deeper into their training and found pleasure again in joining each other in the life they led together.
To be sure, not all disputes work out like that one. I can quote the example of spouses who had gotten to the stage of throwing plates at each other before they went to a training session together. After some practice they learned to listen to each other. It was even agreed between them that in their drawing room there would be two nonviolent armchairs.
When a tiff occurred in the household, they would cry: As in a game of musical chairs where children chase each other, they placed themselves in a Nonviolent Communication zone where the instruction was Here each takes turns to speak and to listen. After a while they observed that they didnt operate at all at the same pace, that their respective needs were doubtless the same but seldom at the same time, and this made life together very difcult and, nally, unbearable.
So they decided to split, to go arm in arm to see a lawyer and then the judge. They went as friends who loved and respected each other. One day after their divorce they told me they spent at least one evening a week together, and there they nally nurtured the friendship, the trust, and the transparency between them that they had always dreamed of.
Such a relationship, however, had been impossible to achieve living under the same roof. Its often difcult to observe peacefully, with esteem and compassion, that we arent in agreement. Difference and therefore disagreement are frequently perceived as a threat. We tend to be justly proud of our language and its wealth of nuances. However, verbal language represents but a tiny percentage of communication.
Nonverbal language, according to the specialists, is thought to make up some 90 percent of our communication, while a mere 10 percent comprises verbal language! Being aware of that enables us to be attentive to our own body language our tone of voice, our speed of delivery, our facial expressions, our body positions , as well as the body language of other people. To become aware of this, note the impact, the power of a single reproachful look or, on the other hand, a look of approval coming from someone close parent, spouse, child, hierarchical superior, teacher.
In secondary school, we had a Latin and French teacher we liked very much, particularly on account of his humor and volubility. When he would tell us, once a month, that he would start the rst lesson in the afternoon ten minutes late because he had a meeting, each time he told us mischievously, And when I do come, Ill be listening to hear nothing!
We loved the way he used words; he stimulated our young grey matter and made us appreciate the ner points of language. Returning from his meeting we carefully respected his instructions, out of affection and respect for him , he came in from the back of the classroom and went right up to the blackboard without a word.
He looked us up and down approvingly, one hand cupped behind his ear to show he was listening and hearing not a sound, the other hand showing with thumb and index joined that he appreciated the quality of the silence we had respected. When he reached his desk he started teaching at once. We had no need for any other sign of recognition for our efforts to be silent. Although I was highly amused by each of these little rituals, I was astounded at the strength and sobriety of his presence alone, where not a word was spoken.
Nor did it need to be. I do not at all like those who claim that there is merit in having worked painfully. Were it painful, better had they done something else. The joy that one nds in ones work is the sign of owning it. The sincerity of my pleasure, Nathanal, is my most precious guide. Wearing Oneself Out Doing Good man came up to me in a workshop and said: Im not one for feelings, and even less for needs.
Now my wife, she has feelings and needs. So do my children and my bossbut not me, not a thing. Duty, yes. Obligations, yes. Im familiar with them. And what makes you say that? It so saddens me. So you see you can recognize one feeling: Oh, yes! And why does it sadden you? Because I would love to live like that too. It seems to be a more alive way of life. Can you see? You too can identify basic needs: Youre right, he said, tears suddenly welling up in his eyes.
I have so often heard that a man doesnt cry, that a man represses his feelings, that a man does his duty. I couldnt so much as dare think that I might want something, have a personal craving. Although we often are not aware, we cannot be feeling-free. Even if we were to believe that we only listen to the needs of others, we cannot be need-free.
And more than that, we devote the greater part, if not the whole, of our time attempting to meet needs we know so little about. If we think we can listen only to the needs of others and not our own, we are simply unaware that we are acting in the service of one of the strongest and most pervasive needs among human beings: The old and unfortunate habit of binary thinking has made us believe that taking care of ourselves means ceasing to take care of others and then, in order to take care of others properly, one has to forget oneself!
Why should there be this mutual exclusion between care for others and care for ourselves?
When I think of the human beingsso many of them who have forgotten themselves and either pay the price for that themselves or make others pay for it, my own sadness is boundless. My sadness tells me how much I would like human beings to understand that their own joy and well-being are rst and foremost as they care for others. If this isnt the case, it would be better for them and others if they did something else. How many peopleparticularly in welfare and education teachers, social workers, doctors, nurses, therapists have not overextended themselves and worked themselves to the bone, 48 PuddleDancer Press www.
They often do themselves so much damage doing good that theyre no longer capable of doing much of anything. They have so cut themselves off from themselves to such an extent that their energy and vitality have run out; a spring has broken. Sometimes its only through a jolt depression, an accident, grieving, loss of job that life itself brings them back to themselves. Those parts of ourselves that we fail to listen to ultimately have ways of giving us vigorous reminders that they exist.
Thus, violence, often unconsciously directed toward ourselves, causes life to react violently. If we live in violence toward ourselves and toward life demanding, controlling, overworking, feeling guilty , we run the risk of producing a violent reaction from life itself an accident, disease, depression, mourning.
As noted above, some people unconsciously make others pay for this failure to have regard for themselves. How many people in social work are so overloaded that they lose their receptiveness, their humor, their humanity?
Despite their concern to do good, they often wind up doing more harm than good. Thus, in the medical world exhaustion can too often bring about negligence in care or attentionand in the educational world saturation in the wake of too many demands can bring about rejection or closure toward a pupil requiring special attention.
Having been a committed volunteer for some ten years in an association looking after young people with various addictions, delinquency, anorexia, depression, prostitution, and so on, I can state two things: In order to survive, it is a matter of urgency to clearly distinguish between taking care of and taking responsibility for. I will come back to this.
The only sustainable way of taking proper care of anything, in my view, is by deriving deep pleasure from it, feeling great satisfaction for the other person at the accomplishments and steps taken. If even a part of us is acting out of duty, out of sacrice, because I mustand feels such things as obligation, constraint, and guiltthis part eats up our energy and vitality and sooner or later turns on itself by coming through in the form of anger, rebellion, or depression.
On this subject, I remember what someone said about a hike we were organizing for some thirty troubled young people in the Sahara Desert, Basically you have a good time during these trips, so whats the merit in going on them? A dialogue ensued, starting with my reply, Do you feel concerned because you would like to be reassured that we take proper care of the young people who go with us? Yes, because if you do go, its because you have a good time.
Is it difcult for you to imagine that one can both have a good time and please others, take care of your own well-being and the well-being of others at the same time? Ive always seen those two things as mutually exclusive. Either I take care of myself, or I take care of others and disregard myself. And how do you feel when I tell you that what I enjoy about organizing this trip is that Im nurturing both my need for discovery, space, and exploration and my need to share what I love, contributing to the well-being of others by bringing them along for this adventure?
I hadnt seen things like that before.
Thats new for me. In fact, its a relief for me to get out of the middle of the opposition between the two. For me, not only is it a relief, it mobilizes my energies at the same time. My whole being is invested in this adventure, all my vitality.
Theres not a single part of me that says, Whoa, Id just as soon stay at home and read a book by the replace, or Id rather go skiing with friends. Aware that my needs are not mutually exclusive, I am fully into whatever Im doing, and the young people are aware of my availability to them and the joy this inner unity brings about. It awakens in them their own need for unity, vitality, commitment, a taste for life.
But lets come back to needs. We can often cut ourselves off from our feelings and our needs, that is, prohibit ourselves from feeling them and listening to them, then bury them in concrete.
However, were unable to be feeling-free and needfree, even though were often quite unconscious of the fact. Our consciousness is invaluable because to an ever-greater extent I believe that the fact of feeling and sharing is what nurtures human nature at the deepest level. Thus, our most intimate and most essential well-being is born of the quality of the relationship we maintain with ourselves, with others, and with the environment in which we live.
Do we not feel the greatest joys when we are communicating clearly with ourselves and those close to us? Conversely, do we not feel the greatest pain when we fail to see clearly within ourselves?
Thus, our happiness, our well-being, does not come from what we possess, nor from what we do, but from how we live our relationship with others, our activities, and the world around us.
Since I have been seeking to understand and give meaning to the difculty of being, I note that the people who radiate deep well-being, a joy of living in this world, are those who give precedence not to the number of things they do, nor their possessions, but to the quality of the relationships they have with 51 PuddleDancer Press www.
These people dont seek to ll their lives with things to do or people to pass time with, but to ll life with the relationships they nourish and the things they care about doing. So it seems to me that our truest wealth, our heritage, the source of our deepest and most sustainable joys lies in our ability to establish nurturing and meaningful relationships with ourselves, with others, and with the universe around us.
And doubtless that is both the most obvious and the most difcult thing! And small wonder. We are seldom connected to reality, as it actually is. Most of the time we relate to reality as we believe it to be or, more to the point, as we fear it to be.
So we will see how to relate as objectively as possible to reality as it actually is and not just as we see it compare Observing Without Judging or Interpreting, p. Our reactions tend to be based on our impressions, beliefs, and prejudices rather than on what we truly and personally feel. This means frequently we arent listening to ourselves properly. We will therefore see how to listen to our own feelings, the ones that lead us where we go, differentiating them from those that involve blame or criticism toward another compare Feeling Without Judging or Interpreting, p.
We act as a function of outside criteria: We will see how to listen to our fundamental needs, how to identify them, differentiate among them, establish priorities compare Identifying Our Needs Without Projecting Them onto Others, p. Finally, because were unable to understand and process our 52 PuddleDancer Press www. Exasperated at having been nice for so long or anxious at not having our needs recognized, we impose our needs on others, or we expect others to guess the needs we have neither expressed nor even identied.
And if they do not do so, we criticize them for this and judge them. Sometimes this dynamic is termed the martyr complex. We will see how to make clear and precise requests that make it possible for our needs to be met day by day, also taking into account the needs of others compare Formulating a Concrete, Realistic, Positive, Negotiable Request, p.
In this chapter, we will endeavor to develop as much as possible our awareness of what we are experiencing at each of the following stages: We are reacting to something we observe, we hear, or were saying to ourselves. The above observation generates within us one or more feelings.
The feelings guide us to our needs. Aware now of our needs, we can make a request or implement concrete action. These four stages can easily be remembered by using the acronym OFNR. You can see that the idea is not to lose ones head but to put it back in the right place! We need to say to our head, to our mental processes: Thank you for the good services rendered.
I often need you to check the restaurant bill, to le my tax return, to draw up a contract, to analyze a situation, to manage my budget , but not all the time.