Piece by piece, I want people to be exposed to Marshall Rosenberg's book NonViolent Communication. Personally and professionally, it has helped me and I have witnessed it helping many people. Please buy the book!
"Her plaintive request elicits resistance rather than compassion from her listeners ; they have difficulty hearing and valuing the needs behind her pleas."
"I was angry with your father for not meeting my needs, and now I realize that I never once clearly told him what I needed." She had grown to fear that asking for what she needed would only need to disapproval and judgment. This story reveals how painful it can be when people do not openly acknowledge their own needs!
There are three stages in the way we relate to others:
1 emotional slavery
We believe ourselves responsible for the feelings of others. We think we must constantly strive to keep everyone happy. If they don't appear happy, we feel responsible and compelled to do something about it. This can easily lead us to see the very people who are closest to us as burdens. ( this response is common among those who experience love as a denial of one's own needs in order to attend to the needs of the beloved. )
If I were a partner who is conscious of doing this, I might acknowledge the situation by explaining, "I can't bear it when I lose myself in relationships. When I see my partner's pain, I lose me, and then I just have to break free."
I might say "my partner is so needy and dependent it is really stressing out our relationship. " If you were the receiver of these two messages, which would you prefer?
Can you respond "so you find yourself in a panic. It's very hard for you to hold onto the deep caring and love we have had without turning it into responsibility, duty, obligation... you sense your freedom closing down because you think you have to constantly take care of me. "
2 We become aware of the high costs of assuming responsibility for other peoples' feelings and trying to accommodate them at our own expense. We feel angry and no longer want to be responsible for other people's feelings. We are clear we are not responsible for -we have not yet learned how to be responsible to others in a way that is not emotionally enslaving.
To encourage her to sort out what she wanted, I asked, "Do you want to do something else even if that conflicts with my needs? "
She had yet to grasp that emotional liberation entails more than simply our starting our own needs.
You do not have to deny your own needs to comply with the wishes of others. You do not have to worry about disappointing people
"Your honesty would be a gift more precious to others than accommodating them to prevent their upset. I also clarified ways she could empathize with people when they were upset without taking responsibility for their feelings.
She was learning to express her needs and risk dealing with the displeasure of others she had yet to assert her needs comfortably and in the way the respect of the needs of others, I trusted this what occurred in time. "
At the third stage, emotional liberation, we respond to the needs of others out of compassion, never out of fear, guilt, or shame. At this stage, we are aware that we can never meet our own needs at the expense of others. Emotional liberation involves stating clearly what we need , in a way that communicates we are equally concerned that the needs of others be fulfilled.
She expressed herself in non-violent communication and used all four parts of the process: observation, feeling, needy, request.
"You know, when you first said that we should bring back the stigma of illegitimacy, I got really scared, because it really matters to me that all of us here share a deep caring for people needing help. Some of the people coming here for food are teenage parents, and I want to make sure they feel welcome. Would you mind telling me how you feel when you see your clients and the boyfriend, walking in?"