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Nonviolent Communication

(43 Posts)
icanhandthemback Thu 26-Nov-20 11:13:20

Somebody I know has just been in a situation where communication with her children was heading for estrangement. From the outside, I could see that there were problems and a great deal of hurt on both sides. Sometimes when I was listening to reports about their arguments and read the messages they were sending, I was quite shocked about the inflammatory language. It was difficult to tread a path between them that didn't compromise my relationships with them. At one point, a dear friend suggested that the mother attended a Non Violent Communication Course (NVCC) and to my surprise, the mother did. Bear in mind that this was a family who had been in family therapy for over a year and things were getting more explosive with every communication. After attending the NVCC, the next meeting with the children was amazing ending up with a "chat" after it. I don't know how things will continue but the contrast was fantastic. Some of the things the mother had learned about communication seemed quite minor in the scheme of things but just made enough of a difference to her presentation.
There is no magic wand but it occurred to me that if you are in that terrible situation where you feel that everything in your relationship with your child is heading for full blown estrangement, then taking an NVCC might just make the difference.

Lavazza1st Sun 29-Nov-20 18:56:45

Oh wow about those links Smileless2012 Could you PM me them please? I'd be fascinated to understand "the other side" of this, potentially.

I am just going to catch up with the other posts as I've just come on and read your first one.

Lavazza1st Sun 29-Nov-20 19:05:17

Hithere I understand as I also have a parent who, if you give them an inch will take a mile. Fortunately there is a big geographical distance there, so I've not needed to estrange. I'm sorry but I probably let my own pain take over there because I know that there are situations that people do need to separate themselves from.

I'm glad for you that things improved with all your other relationships. If I'm honest, since my son has left the area I am a lot happier and some new opportunities have opened up for me.

But he is my son and it's hard to let go.

I'm sorry to have caused pain. flowers

Also Astral you are probably right. I'm a bit surprised that the post stirred up so many feelings in me.

Again, I'm sorry if I have caused anyone pain. The saying "hurt people , hurt people" springs to mind and I don't want to hurt anyone so will need to find a way of not hurting or not be so honest flowers

Smileless2012 Mon 30-Nov-20 14:16:03

"hurt people, hurt people" yes they do Lavazza. Sometimes the pain is just too much to hold inside isn't it, and this time of the year with Christmas approaching, is particularly difficultflowers.

icanhandthemback Mon 30-Nov-20 15:08:34

Lavazza1st, your post on Fri 27-Nov-20 13:59:12 shows just how quickly we can start to verbalise in an inflammatory style because we are hurt. Having the strength to stop ourselves from doing this is hard work and takes the sort of self control which isn't always possible. However it is also good that you can see that it might have hurt people and you can acknowledge that so that is a step forward.
You say, "I don't want to hurt anyone so will need to find a way of not hurting or not be so honest," but I think the whole point of NVC is how you can be honest but in a way that isn't inflammatory or hurtful. There is no point in repressing how you feel because one day you will explode. Some of the things we do (like being too giving/soft, etc) come from our parents. It is worth reading It didn't Start With You by Mark Wolwyn, it is a real eye opener.
Going No Contact (NC) from damaged parents is a standard message from young people because it is advice given by psychologists when they are dealing with parents with Emotional Dysregulation, Narcissism and similar. We all have the right to protect ourselves from things that make us unhappy and there is no doubt that damaged parents can unwittingly inflict damage but can't see that they do that. I suspect I have been guilty of that and that is why I so desperately want to put it right so it doesn't carry on down the generations.

Lavazza1st Mon 30-Nov-20 15:53:41

When I say "find a way of not hurting" I meant that I need to heal inside. If I have been inflammatory or hurtful, it would help if those affected would have been honest enough to point it out. If they have and do not, there is nothing to work on. I have actually been very self controlled with my son and his wife. When they went quiet, I went quiet as well so as not to chase them. I am not sure why they went quiet, but I think they are still looking for ways to hurt me like they were when they lived with us.

We literally could not have done more for them, but without explaining the situation and how we helped it's hard to say. I can't explain because of anonymity. I feel like for every good and kind thing we did, we got more and more disrespected - and my son also did say he disrespected me. The situation was abusive and that's one of the reasons we asked them to move out (it was only meant to be temporary anyway, but they were trying to manipulate)

I also want to put right anything I might have done, but honestly don't see how I could have done much differently due to the way they were treating us before we asked them to move out. I had hoped that relationships would improve with them having their own space and for a while things seemed to be ok but they have suddenly gone quiet again for no apparent reason.

I said more on Gransnet than I have ever said to either of them. I have felt like they were being manipulative, so I have never reacted to them in any way. I would love things to be resolved, but if I keep making all of the effort I am in a one sided (basically unrequited love) relationship that's abusive because I'm being treated like trash.

Astral Mon 30-Nov-20 18:12:49

Lavazza1st perhaps it would be better for you to either have that conversation with your estranged children and tell them (kindly) how you feel while being open to hear how they feel.

Not really right or fair to throw those feelings out there for innocent bystanders to be hit by.

Or the third option, say what you would like to say to your children somewhere appropriate (support or rant through thread?) or too someone appropriate like a counsellor.

Hope you feel better anyway

Smileless2012 Mon 30-Nov-20 19:59:30

Of course parents can also be on the receiving end of "Emotional Dysregulation, Narcissism and similar" from their AC and/or their AC's partners.

Just as estrangement for an AC from parents exhibiting this behaviour protects them, so parents who are estranged by their AC due to that AC or their partner behaving in this way, can find themselves protected.

You posted Lavazza that you've "said more on Gransnet than I have ever said to either of them" and that's a benefit from any internet site where one has anonymity. As Icanhandthemback posted "There is no point in repressing how you feel because one day you will explode".

TBF Astral I'm sure if Lavazza felt she could "have that conversation" with her son, she would do so. I don't think it was fair of you to post "Not really right or fair to throw those feelings out there for innocent bystanders to be hit by", bearing in mind that Lavazza apologised twice in her post yesterday @ 19.05 for any pain she may have caused.

This is a particularly difficult time of the year for those living with estrangement, and when there was no intention to hurt others and an apology has been made in case any hurt was caused, I think it should be accepted and left at that.

Astral Mon 30-Nov-20 20:17:30

I am aware it is a difficult time of year for those impacted by estrangement. My words were meant with kindness and I can only hope they were taken that way by whom they were meant for.

Smileless2012 Mon 30-Nov-20 20:21:15

I hope so too.

icanhandthemback Tue 01-Dec-20 11:43:56

Astral, I appreciate what you say about speaking directly to the people involved but sometimes it is helpful to speak to other people because it gives you the opportunity to vent or refine. Experience also tells me that sometimes the person you need to hear what you have to say isn't ready to hear it and timing can be incredibly important.
Lavazza1st, I am sorry if you thought I was being critical of you. It is difficult to heal without resolution. With any situation where there is conflict, without being there, it is difficult to know what the dynamics were. We only ever hear it from one person's point of view, never know the history behind it and we always tend to tell the story from our viewpoint. That is probably part of the problem when people seek advice or go for counselling. Sadly, by the time NC takes place, there has been so much history that it is a herculean task to build bridges.
Although I try to avoid being abused, I do try to keep the lines of communication open because without some contact, you cannot put things right. However, I do accept that the boundaries between abuse and conciliation are very hard to negotiate. Knowing when to take a step backwards and when to persevere is sometimes a maze which is difficult to navigate and you can't help wondering if it is worth it.

Astral Tue 01-Dec-20 13:51:57

Oh I agree, I was trying to get out that it is better to rant or vent about the actual people who have hurt us not people in a particular category in general. I've been there myself though

Lavazza1st Wed 02-Dec-20 13:46:59

@Astral I feel like you're saying my honesty is too much because you seem to suggest that my feelings are not appropriate to be shared on this platform. I am still not sure what I have said that "innocent bystanders" were forced to read, but I apologize if I have upset you.
My feelings are perfectly valid and your comment does not invalidate them in any way. I am thankful for those who do get it and who don't judge me.

Therapy. That would be good but not possible at the moment. If I am that much in need of therapy its probably best I avoid talking to anyone and just keep everything bottled.

Thanks @ Smileless2012 yes I would talk to my son if the channels were open. As you so rightly say @Icanhandthemback timing IS everything. I don't want to force anything. If we talk, it will need to happen naturally and I will respond in the best way possible and not react. There might be much tongue biting! Only time will tell.

Smileless2012 Wed 02-Dec-20 14:04:17

Keeping "everything bottled" in IMO is a short term 'fix' that can have long term repercussions Lavazza, which is why I was so thankful to have found a place here on GN to share with others our experiences of estrangement.

"I would talk to my son if the channels were open" of course you would, so would we but that's the problem with estrangement isn't it. They don't want to talk to us and make it impossible for us to talk to them.

Astral Wed 02-Dec-20 14:16:57

I feel I have been misunderstood and I was referring to the generalisation that impacts other estrangenent forum members as I have noticed there are estranged children here. I was not referring to your valid feelings which do need outlet but that's okay, I understand you are upset Lavazza1st. I hope things improve x

Lavazza1st Thu 03-Dec-20 09:13:25

@Smileless2012 Yes I feel that keeping short accounts is a good way to be and I am grateful for those who have supported me. Thanks so much for understanding what it is to be estranged, although I wish you didn't have to. I wish no one had to suffer the pain of being cut off by the very kids they have poured love into all their lives.

@Astral thanks, so do I. Christmas can be a painful thing for many estranged people , but I hope that by being open it may help someone else to. Covid has made everything worse than ever this year and many people's mental health is suffering. If someone can open up, maybe it will save them.

icanhandthemback Thu 03-Dec-20 12:10:33

Estrangement is usually difficult for all concerned unless one of the parties are completely narcissistic. I am an estranged daughter through absolutely no fault of my own. I would normally say that both sides are not entirely blameless but after being abandoned by my father for most of my life, I decided to build a relationship with him about 10 years ago. He seemed like a likeable person, who got on with everybody especially kids so I worked hard to get all the family back together and although my adult children weren't keen to socialise, they were happy to let me take their children to visit. Imagine my horror (and disbelief) then when he was arrested last year for abuse against a very young child. Worse still, there was no remorse and "it was the child's fault! We await sentencing in the New Year for the guilty please. We are now estranged and will remain so forever. You might think it is no great loss and, in a way, it isn't in that it I haven't lost the father I grew up with, but I have lost the dream of actually having a father/daughter relationship. As a child he was always going to ride in on his white charger when the chaotic life with my mother and her various partners were too much to bear. For the years we were building our relationship, there were a lot of similarities with the way we thought so I suddenly felt like I belonged. That is difficult to come to terms with although at my age you'd think I would I'd be past dreams.
I am not sure why I am telling you this except to illustrate how hard it can be for both sides and everybody has a different story of how they got to the point of estrangement no matter whether they are parent or child.

Smileless2012 Thu 03-Dec-20 13:35:15

icanhandthemback that must have been a terrible and devastating shock. We're never too old to dream for better things and happy endings.

I'm truly sorry that the father you imagined and then thought you had found, turned out to be the exact oppositeflowers.