making non-violent communication suck less

I’m a huge fan of therapy and most associated things (self-discovery! free tea!) except for non-violent communication, or NVC. Why? Because it seemed to suuuck.

Normal conversation: Stop punching me in the face.

NVC: When you punch me in the face, it makes me feel sad inside. I need you to not punch me in the face anymore, OK?

Basically, you 1. observe what happened, 2. describe emotions, 3. identify needs, and 4. make a request. But it seemed overly complicated and ultimately just semantics. A way of rearranging words to…not make the other person defensive? Sanitize the conversation? Be less straightforward?

When other people have used NVC on me, it felt condescending, like I was a small child and they were emotion-splaining or something. Instead of being normal and human and feeling ugly emotions, NVC felt like a way to distance yourself from things and be high and mighty. Ew. Can’t we just be direct with each other and say something like, “You’re being rude. Don’t do that”?

But I started seeing a new therapist and she’s persuading me to give NVC another chance. Apparently NVC just boils down to 2 things: feelings and needs. Being mindful and self-aware enough to say, “I feel [negative emotion] right now, and I need [something positive] instead.” Like, “I feel belittled, and I need some respect.” Or “I feel worn out, and I need a break.” I GUESS that’s better than saying, “You suck! Stop sucking!” 😉

Since the only way to get myself to like anything is to make it cute and sparkly, I made a lil notecard to carry with me:

nonviolent communication feelings and needs notecard

We’ll see if it actually works. 💫

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