Friday, June 28, 2013

NVC Niff Clotes: Chapter Five: Taking Responsibility for our Feelings

 "What others say and do may be the stimulus, but never the cause, of our feelings... Our feelings result from how we choose to receive what others say and do, as well as from our particular needs and expectations in that moment." Some people use guilt as a technique to manipulate others, by trying to make the others feel responsible for the feelings of the manipulators. Acting to avoid guilt can motivate people, but it comes at a cost, it tends to poison the relationship. The person receiving the guilt-trip may be tempted to spend effort in defensiveness or counter attacking.
"Judgements, criticisms, diagnoses and interpretations of others are all alienated expressions of our needs" and these are typically heard as criticism, and inspire hostility. "The more directly we can connect our feelings to our own needs, the easier it is for others to respond to us compassionately."
When we hear a negative message we can accept it, or react against the person who gave it, or we can reflect on our own feelings or on the feelings and needs of the speaker. We can try to translate into OFNR, from jackal to giraffe.
If we accept responsibility for the feelings of others, we become emotional slaves, we must "constantly strive to keep others happy." Emotional slavery is the lowest stage. The next stage is obnoxiousness, where we reject responsibility for others' feelings but still feel "fear and guilt around having our own needs." "At the third stage, emotional liberation, we respond to the needs of others out of compassion, never out of fear, guilt, or shame.[...] We accept full responsibility for our own intentions and actions, but not for the feelings of others. [...] we are aware that we can never meet our own needs at the expense of others."
Does Rosenberg mean that last literally, that if we try to meet our own needs at the expense of others, we will fail? That would seem to be a strong claim, with plenty of counterevidence. Or is he expressing a moral imperative in an exaggerated way, expressing "should" without saying it? Is he describing only persons at the third stage? Or something else? Can he somehow get around the counter-evidence for the literal sense?
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