There is a thing called non-violent communication, a technique developed by Marshall Rosenberg, and there is now even a Center for Nonviolent Communication, and it is really a nice set of techniques for how to communicate with someone in a compassionate and responsible way. So for example, the techniques involve:
- Differentiating observation from evaluation, so as to carefully observe what is happening free of evaluation, and to specify behaviors and conditions that are affecting us;
- Differentiating feeling from thinking, so as to identify and express internal feeling states in a way that does not imply judgment, criticism, or blame/punishment;
- Connecting with the universal human needs like sustenance, trust, and understanding, and which are being met or not met in relation to what is happening and how we are feeling; and,
- Requesting what we would like in a way that clearly and specifically states what we do want, rather than what we don’t want.
I learned about this technique from my former partner (let’s call her Isabella for the purposes of this post). The irony is that Isabella could not engage in nonviolent communication when it mattered most. When it mattered most, she was mostly capable of engaging in violent communication.
Isabella would say outrageous things, or just scream and yell, and after a period of trying to reason with her I would just scream and yell back. Yes, there were profanities involved. Eventually, the storm would subside and we could try to reason through the argument, and sometimes that took many hours. But whenever I caved in to the urge to yell back at Isabella, I always felt disappointed in myself. Really, I should have done better.
And so it is with the rhetoric that has been showing up in this blog. Consider that just this week:
- I called Antonin Scalia a first class prick;
- I called Ann Coulter a hate-monger;
- I called Bill O’Reilly a bully;
- I called Glenn Beck a phony;
- I called Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh assholes;
- I called Chris Harper Mercer an insecure narcissistic young twerp;
- And I called us all chicken-shit for our response to Umpqua and similar massacres.
Not that some of this name-calling isn’t deserved; some of it most certainly is. But I’m always disappointed in myself when I can’t find a more constructive way to express myself.
 I learned with time to stay in an argument for many hours, which is not a natural thing for a man to do. As some of you who know psychology can attest to, men as a group tend to get more easily “flooded” than women in an argument. That’s why men like to keep it short, and sometimes just end up walking out. Women – although this is not universally true, of course – tend to be able to hang in an argument much longer.
I agree with all of your rhetoric of this past week ….. 😉 Each and every one of them.
I also agree that I don’t want to let them get to me, so I’n watching this all from a distance. Keep sharing. There’s a lot of us out there that feel this way.
Pleasure to read!
I think too its important to know your self and not try to control anger but work around it. Like if I hate Walmart on Saturdays, and the fact that my wife wants to look at everything in the store, when we went there for olives, I try to figure out ways that I can avoid exploding. So I either don’t go, go on my own, or we go another night that isn’t so busy. Also knowing when someone is thinking the same as you, and someone is like you and knowing the difference is important. Anyone can act like you i.e.: you both like going to a gym. That does not mean there will be supreme understanding and harmony. I think people in relationships go from being fascinated by finding someone they are attracted to, and find this person has a lot of things in common, to actually taking the time to consider who that person is at first.