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Non-violent Communication notes [Oct. 12th, 2013|10:43 am]

So, a funny thing happened: I've been relying more and more heavily on HabitRPG, my calendar, and other external aids to tell me what to do and when to do it. As part of that, I've ended up joining a bunch of guilds on HabitRPG and been posting most of my NVC notes to the 'chronic illness guild' there. But, I still want to post them here too, since I think it's really useful stuff that should be shared with as many people as possible.

Takeaway 1: trying to frame communication (including and especially communication to yourself) in the form of "When A, I feel B because I need C. Therefore, I would like D" (where D is a positive action, doing a thing, rather than not doing a thing. eg. "I would like you to refer to me by my name" rather than "I would like you to stop referring to me as 'that-idiot-Ivan") An example from my life: "when I think about going back to grad school, I feel scared and worried because I need to know that I'm making the right decision for my mental health. Therefore, before I make any final decision, I would like to talk it over with a therapist to make sure there are no angles that I might have missed". the benefits of this are that you don't conflate the stimulus for your feeling with the cause of it (which is your unmet needs), and that by identifying and stating your needs you're much more likely to be able to get them met

Takeaway 2:  Along with communicating your needs and feelings, the other big thing you're meant to be doing in conversations is empathising with the other person by reflecting back any emotionally charged statements they make. So let's say a few weeks ago I stormed up to you complaining loudly about how annoying Habit is to use. The 'reflecting' response here might be something like "so, you're frustrated because Habit is taking a long time to load?". Then if you guessed wrong I would most likely correct you ("no, I'm pissed off because my data didn't save and now I've lost all my streaks!"), and if you'd guessed right you'd get something like "yes! I waste more time trying to use the damn thing than on my actual tasks!". The idea is meant to be that when a person feels like they have been heard and understood, the negative emotion tends to dissipate on its own and the person will no longer be carrying that pain around and be amenable to getting on with things. But, it's entirely possible that a person will be carrying a whole lot of emotions around about a particular topic, so you need to be prepared to keep empathising with them until they're done, after which they'll stop ranting/crying/etc on their own

Takeaway 3: One of the exercises the author says he did in his own life was to write down all the stuff he does because he felt he 'had to' do it, like writing reports and carpooling to get his kids to school. Then for each of those items, reframe in the form "I choose to do X because Y", where Y should be as explicit as possible. Then with this list of reframings, you go through each of these tasks again and determine whether you really want to do them or whether there is a better way to fulfil the need that they are addressing (eg. he realised that he would rather eat from dumjpsters than write reports for the extra income, so he stopped those). If you do really want to do them, you can now remind yourself of those reasons when you do them instead of feeling obligated and resentful