Nonviolent Communication Book Discussion, Chapters 10-13
Today is our third and final discussion of Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. If you’re just joining us, you are welcome to read through part one of the discussion first; be sure to get in on the discussion in the comments! Anyone and everyone is invited to participate, all you need is a copy of the book (borrowed or bought1), an hour or so each week to read, and about 20-30 minutes to join in the discussion (see below for details). Be sure to enter to win your own copy of Nonviolent Communication and its accompanying workbook (details at link)!
We will hold a wrap-up phone call for NVC book discussion participants on Monday, August 22nd, 2011 at 7:00p.m. CST (5:00p.m. PST, 8:00p.m. EST). The call will last about an hour. To call in, please follow these instructions:
Participating in a phone conference is easy, just follow these instructions at the time of our call:
Dial: (712) 432-0900
When prompted, input access code: 166096#
The purpose of this call will be to experience and discuss NVC. We will begin the call with an awareness exercise and we’ll check in periodically to notice how we feel.
We would like to work through some current experiences you are having with NVC so we ask that everyone email us with a question or comment for us to discuss during the phone call. Please reply to this email with your question no later than Saturday, August 20.
Nonviolent Communication Chapters 10-13 Summary
NVC does not ask us to ignore or swallow anger, but rather to express the core of our anger fully. The first step to expressing anger in NVC is to relieve others from responsibility for our anger. The behavior of others may be a stimulus for our feelings, but not the cause. So to express anger, we must first stop and breathe, then identify any judgmental thoughts we are having. Next, we focus on our needs, which are the true cause of our feelings (anger is the result of thinking that is disconnected from needs). Finally, we express our needs and feelings. By expressing our own needs and feelings – and empathizing with the needs and feelings of others – we can make emotional connections that can meet those needs.
The idea of nonviolent communication often sparks the question of using protective force to prevent harm. The intention behind the use of force determines whether it is punitive or protective. Punishment seeks to make someone suffer to see they have done wrong, repent or apologize, and change. Punitive force includes spanking or other physical methods, blaming, shaming, labeling, and withholding of gratification or respect. Punishment teaches others to act the way we want when we are around, rather than to do it because of the values we are attempting to uphold and instill. An example of protective use of force may be gently and firmly moving two children who are fighting away from each other so you can encourage them to work it out verbally while holding the intention inside of yourself to see them as able to resolve this nonviolently.
We can liberate ourselves from cultural, familial, and educational conditioning through hearing our own feelings and needs. As we empathize with them we free ourselves from depression and other ways of thinking that do not serve our well-being. We can choose to notice what went wrong and shift our focus to what we want. Instead of diagnosing problems or people we can use NVC to create genuine, open, and mutual relationships.
The book closes with a very important part of NVC: expressing appreciation. Many compliments we give others are judgments, even if they are positive. Sometimes appreciation is even used to manipulate others to do what we want. Instead, we can express appreciation to celebrate and share the way we feel with another with no strings attached. Rosenberg highlights appreciation with NVC as “This is what you did; this is what I feel; this is the need of mine that was met.”
Expressing and receiving appreciation may not initially be easy. We are encouraged to start with the same empathy we would use when listening to other communication. Often we receive with either feelings of superiority or false humility and we can choose to simply accept appreciation for what it is – gratitude for who we are or something we have done. Sharing appreciation with others helps those we interact with to know how we value them in ways they may not realize. Consider incorporating more of it to enrich your life and the life of others.
Chapter 10 Questions
For all of our Chapter 10 questions, recall a time when you felt angry. Recapture the scenario by bringing to mind the details of that moment (what the place looked and felt like, your physical posture, how the other person appeared to you, the sounds around you, etc.).
- Identify the stiumulus (or stimuli) of your anger in the form of observation(s).
- What were the “should-thoughts” in your head? Translate your “should-thinking” into needs.
- Allowing yourself ample time, sit quietly with the awareness of your unmet needs in that situation. “When I realize the deep need I had for _____, and I realize these needs were not being fulfilled, I feel ______.” Now go inside yourself and see what you find. Verbally identify the feelings associated with your unmet needs in that situation.
- Using the four components of the NVC process, “express your anger fully” as if you were addressing the other party in the present moment: a) observations (stimuli); b) feelings (underneath the anger); c) needs; d) requests.
- Do you think the other party would be able to fully hear your feelings and needs as you expressed them above? If not, write how you might express empathy for what they might be feeling and needing.
Chapter 11 Questions
- Think of some situations that would warrant the use of protective force. How would you make sure you are acting protectively instead of punitively?
- What forms of punishment have you experienced and what did it teach you?
- Notice if you respond punitively to anyone you are close to (even if in your head). How can you transform it using nonviolent communication?
- Describe a situation where protective use of force has helped or can help resolve a conflict. You can make up a scenario or use one from your own life.
Chapter 12 Questions
- Have you ever been considered needy or labeled someone else in that way? What are you doing to liberate yourself from conditioning that says needs and wants are negative?
- Notice any repetitive negative thoughts that you have about yourself. Transform them with “When A, I feel B, because I am needing C, and Therefore, now I would like to D.”
- Pay attention to stress in your life. Look into the stress for needs and wants. How does it feel to focus on what you need and want instead of the stress?
- Notice if you diagnose others (it’s more common than we often realize). Describe how you can or do use NVC in place of diagnosis and how it changes your communication.
Chapter 13 Questions
- Notice when you hold back appreciation – either because you think someone will not be affected by it or because you have heard it’s not good to praise others for fear it will create dependency. Choose to share it using the three components of NVC – what the person did, how you felt, and what need it fulfilled.
- Practice receiving appreciation with no strings attached. Notice how it feels and share your observations.
- Who can you share your appreciation with today? Describe your experience.
Thank you for participating in our book discussion of Nonviolent Communication! Be sure to join us for our wrap-up phone call on Monday, August 22nd, 2011 at 7:00p.m. CST.
- Code Name: Mama readers will receive a 20% discount on any order through PuddleDancer Press from now through the end of August, 2011. This is 20% off in addition to any bulk order discount you are eligible to receive. After you have clicked on the “Checkout” button, enter codemama in the coupon code box (underneath the credit card information). PuddleDancer strongly recommends a traceable shipping method such as USPS Priority Mail or UPS Ground for any order. ↩
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