canyon sunbeam.jpg

COMMUNICATION ESSENTIALS & GUIDELINES

                

This is A LOT of dense information - a whole course really.  It will take time to learn, digest, comprehend and integrate all of it.  Try pieces of it at a time.  If you work with me, we practice all of this & much more:)   

 

COMMUNICATION ESSENTIALS GUIDELINES – TRRIUUNF (like triumph)    

 

TIMING - ESSENTIAL GUIDELINE #1:  Ask the other person if s/he is willing to process something and if this is a good time.  If s/he says it’s not, then agree to a good time. The right timing is important AND it’s not healthy to let things go unresolved for very long – no more than 24 hours is a good guideline.  

 

REGULATE – ESSENTIAL GUIDELINE #2:  Are both of us calm?  Nervous systems regulated?  Whenever there's stress/activation/nervous system dysregulation, I recommend getting calm first, movement, physical contact with partner, walk, being in water, deep breathing, self-holding, meditation, calming music - you can google more. 

 

REFRAIN - ESSENTIAL GUIDELINE #3:  For this entire process:  Aim to refrain from toxic communication - using words, tone, volume of voice, facial expressions, gestures or body language that is angry, defensive, reactive, blaming, shaming, critical or judging.  These things only inflame and escalate the conflict and derail the process of coming back into connection.

 

INDIVIDUAL – ESSENTIAL GUIDELINE #4:  Aim to focus on the feelings & needs of one individual at a time.  It is difficult to find resolution when both people are trying to be heard at once.  If you’re listener, aim to be patient and gently “hold” you’re stuff until it’s your turn to be heard. 

 

UTILIZE – ESSENTIAL GUIDELINE #5:  Utilize soft, kind, even vulnerable language – I feel sad, worried, afraid, concerned, lonely, alone.  You’re important to me.  You matter.  I accept, allow.  I need help.  Utilize warm, friendly facial expressions, gestures and body language. 

 

UNDERSTAND - ESSENTIALS GUIDELINE #6:  Understand that when you have an emotional response to something that someone did or didn’t do, keep in mind that s/he may have done something that felt hurtful to you and crossed a boundary in terms of how want to be treated OR you may have a childhood wound or adult habit, pattern or belief that is creating your feelings.  If we can develop awareness of our wounds, habits, patterns or beliefs that may be behind our feelings, then we can own and take responsibility for our experience, instead of being in a mindset of, “They caused my feelings.”  This helps us refrain from directing our painful feelings at others, it prevents conflict and contributes to healthy relating.  

If we come to understand that they really WERE hurtful to you, notice if you believe they deserve your harsh communication.  We can then aspire to shift this belief to something like, “I am upset and I can use compassionate communication to resolve the situation - make an observation, express feelings & needs, make a request, set a boundary and/or ask for the other person to take responsibility & apologize.”  We can simultaneously recognize that using the harsh communication generally only inflames the situation and its ongoing use will move a relationship in the direction of separation.  

 

NEEDS – ESSENTIAL GUIDELINE #7:  Communicate by expressing a need after expressing a feeling. Start with, “I have a need for . . .” but not, “I need you to . . .”  Aim to utilize words from the NVC needs inventory – google this. 

 

FEELINGS - ESSENTIAL GUIDELINE #8:  Communicate with "I feel" statements, but not "I feel like you . . . .".  Aim to only utilize words from the NVC feelings inventory – google this.  

 

COMMUNICATION ESSENTIALS EXERCISES

Brief bullet points of the following exercises:

 

Part A:

-Review harmony guidelines

-Get calm

-Partner #1 expresses observation, feeling & need

-Partner #2 reflects partner #1 and asks if s/he got it right.

-Switch roles

 

Part B:

-Review harmony guidelines

-Get calm

-Partner #1 owns, apologizes, takes responsibility and asks if there’s anything else s/he can own.

-Switch Roles

-Both partners express gratitude or admiration for the other. 

 

Part C:

-Do something enjoyable together

 

PART A:

 

Review Essential Guidelines If You Haven’t Done So 

 

STEP 1:  Be sure both people are calm and have regulated nervous systems – if not, take time out, walk, breathe, touch or hold each other to get to this place FIRST.

 

          Note:  If either person becomes stressed, angry, agitated, dysregulated

          at any point in the process, go back to step 1 – getting calm.   Remember

          that humans can not think & act clearly and rationally when stressed. 

 

STEP 2:  When calm, choose one person to begin.  You will be focusing on this person first – processing their feelings & meeting their KUSH needs BEFORE you bring up the feelings & needs of the other person. 

 

KUSH is K - knowing or being known, U - understanding or being understood, S - seeing or being seen and H - hearing or being heard

 

          Note:  You can switch to the other person when the first person feels

          KUSH needs are met enough

 

          Note:  Step 2 often requires one person to “hold” their own stuff

          patiently, while focusing on the first person. 

 

STEP 3:  Partner #1 uses NVC:

- Share an observation “When you . . .” (exactly what happened – Refrain from creating a story that isn’t accurate, is evaluating, interpreting, exaggerating or distorting the truth)

- Express a feeling, “I felt . . .” (use only an emotion here like sad, frustrated, angry, afraid – not, “I feel like you . . . “

- Express a need, “I had/have a need for . .” 

See feelings & needs inventories at NVC.org.   NVC doesn’t always capture the whole story, so you may go in and out of using it in ways that are still healthy.

 

           Note:  Partner #1 – Aim to share only an amount that your partner can repeat back to you 

           accurately.  Probably no more than 5 sentences/30 seconds at a time.  

 

STEP 4:  Reflective Listening:  Partner #2 repeats back what Partner #1 said as close to exactly as possible – ideally done with a warm, friendly, loving tone and facial expressions.  Utilize empathy and understanding “I understand that . . “It makes sense that . . .” “I hear that . . .”

 

STEP 5:  Partner #2 asks if s/he got it right or missed a piece that Partner #1 still needs to have reflected.

 

STEP 6:  Repeat steps #3 through #5 until Partner #1 feels heard, seen and understood.   

 

STEP 7:  Switch partners and repeat steps 1 through 7 until each person feels sufficiently known, understood, seen & heard. 

 

 

 

PART B: 

 

Review Essential Guidelines If You Haven’t Done So 

 

Repeat STEP 1:  Be sure both people are calm and have regulated nervous systems – if not, take time out, walk, breathe, touch or hold each other to get to this place FIRST.

 

          Note:  If either person becomes stressed, angry, agitated, dysregulated

          at any point in the process, go back to step 1 – getting calm.   Remember

          that humans can not think & act clearly and rationally when stressed. 

 

STEP 2:  When calm, choose one person to begin.  You will be focusing on this person first, BEFORE the second person brings up something s/he wants to share. 

 

           Note:  Again, step 2 often requires one person to “hold” their own stuff

           patiently, while focusing on the first person. 

 

STEP 3:  Partner #1 takes responsibility for, owns, acknowledges anything that s/he did that impacted person #2.  This can include patterns and past relationship (including family of origin) issues that are contributing to the present conflict.  Ideally this is done with a warm, friendly, loving tone and facial expressions. 

 

Use phrases such as:

“I’m sorry that I . . .”

“I apologize for/that . . .”

“I want to own/take responsibility for . . . “

 

          Note:  This is similar to reflective listening, but in this step person #1 is

          emphasizing an apology, taking responsibility or owning something. 

 

STEP 4:  Partner #1 asks partner #2:

          -How did that land/feel?

          -Is there anything else related to this topic you would like me to own?

 

STEP 5:  Partner #2 answers the former questions.

 

STEP 6:  Partners repeat steps 3 to 5 until both partners feel the apology really sinks in.

 

STEP 7:  Switch roles and partner #2 does steps 3 to 5 and repeat until both partners feel the apology really sinks in. 

 

STEP 8:  Partner #1 expresses appreciation, gratitude and/or fondness/admiration for partner #2.  This should be related to this essential practice you just did and could also include another expression of gratitude or admiration.

 

STEP 9:  Switch roles and partner #2 does step 8 for partner #1.

 

STEP 10:  Both people check in with each other to see if anything else is needed to feel complete.

 

 

PART C: 

 

If possible, do something enjoyable together now, cuddle, make a nice dinner, go out to eat, watch a movie, exercise together, etc. 

GREAT EXAMPLE OF NOT SO GREAT TIMING ON LISA'S PART & AN UNHELPFUL RESPONSE ON VINNY'S PART - How could they each do this differently?