From helpless and hopeless to empowered and confident: What is Connected Communication?
[This post is the first in a 5 part series about Connected Communication, as taught in 4 Steps to Connection, the upcoming 6 Week Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Series for Relationships and Parenting.]
You know when you are feeling connected and confident and the usual disruptions come up like the dishes or a little quarrel?
And there’s a feeling of “We are working on it. We all make mistakes.” Sure, there’s annoyance and irritation, yet no real, heart-wrenching ache and anger to keep you up at night conflict. There’s a hopeful feeling. A feeling of togetherness.
When there is disharmony or disconnection or distance in communication, however, there is a feeling of hopelessness.
A helplessness and powerlessness. There is a feeling of not enough and never going to get better. It feels like a battle. Not a partnership. The connection is withered and communication is strained, full of pain. I may be having a simple conversation with my husband about the details of his plans to be away and begin feeling insecure and anxious and agitated.
I used to have a huge trigger when my partner would go on tour for music or when he didn’t do something around the house that I wanted him to do. I would find myself telling myself how he is leaving me with the kids and the house and he isn’t there for me and I am not safe relying on him and I can’t rely on anyone but myself. I would find myself spending my energy figuring out how I was going to figure it all out myself and handle everything myself and do everything myself.
Of course this story of woe would send me from fear into anger…
A brain scientist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, found that the physiological experience of emotion, such as anger, lasts only 90 seconds. That means that after 90 seconds when the chemicals of anger have left your bloodstream, you are keeping the circuit running with your own thoughts and story. And this is not out of our full conscious choice.
If you hear yourself saying things like: “You always….” “You never….” “You make me….” “I can’t ever….” “You just need to….” “I really should” “I have to”…
If you find your communication with your partner includes judgment or criticism or that you think you are getting clear and yet are still in conflict….
Then you could use some connected communication. With connected communication, couples are consciously able to be with each other through hard conversations and hard feelings. The clarity and compassion come through and build the foundation of trust, understanding and appreciation.
Clear, connected, compassionate…confident.
[Up Next: Part 2 of 5: “The 4 Step NVC Process for Cultivating Connection, Compassion and Passion in Your Life and Relationships”]
- About Nonviolent Communication (NVC), a 4 step process for connected communication
- 4 Steps to Connection: NVC Workshop Series for Relationships and Parenting
- Download printable resources in my Communication Quick Guide
- NVC articles and posts on the blog