Differentiating between feelings and evaluations of what others are doing.
An elaboration of our section on Faux Feelings.

“As an example, when I say, ‘I feel criticized by you,’ I am telling you my interpretation of your conduct. And further, I am probably suggesting you are doing something to me with a connotation of wrongness or blame.”  You shouldn’t be doing that to me!
-Adapted from Ike Lasater, “Words at Work

If you haven’t already, read our piece on “Faux Feelings” before continuing. A more powerful and peaceful approach owns my feelings as my own.  Instead of “you did this (feeling) to me,” the sentiment is “this is how I am feeling.”  Speak to one’s own experiences and observations, and not about another’s actions. I own my state, taking full responsibility for it.  Certainly, the actions of others are fodder for what we feel, as a result of a need being met or unmet.

Jackal You?!? Nah, I’ll Jackal Myself

Stupid, ashamed, embarrassed, awkward, worthless, lost, etc.  These are evaluations of oneself, and since by oneself, they are a clever use of “Enemy Images” and “Rackets” applied inward to the self!  In essence, “shoulding” on oneself.  Cool, low self-esteem defined.  What to do?  See “Dancing right along” below followed with this self-frame in mind. Also read the Desiderata.

Through the Looking Glass

Now, flip your perspective; instead of imagining yourself saying/thinking/feeling from an evaluative perspective, imagine that you are on the receiving end of those words . . . what kind of situations might bring on those sentiments?  Such imaginative empathy can fine tune one’s senses for a future conversation.

Three Closely-Related Tricky Word Sets

Power is a “bucket” word, meaning that it holds feelings and needs that are closer to the core of what is happening. Think about it in terms of money (which is a kind of power); money can buy you food, but it isn’t food itself.

Respect . . . on a street, giraffe level, it has use, as does the edgier “disrespected” if heard with giraffe ears.
Use the clarifying question “If you had respect, what else would you have?”  That question unpacks the bucket word. Also, note that “’Respect’ is often a request for obedience.”

4-ish letter words, words like “happy” and even “elated,” are an attempt at sharing what is alive in you, but muffled.

“How come there aren’t positive evaluations as well?”

“Positive” and “Negative” are like alien brain control!  Break free!  How? Evaluations are not beneficial in either case, as the act of evaluating places the control/responsibility/power outside of oneself.  Zap!  Powerless!  It is a very subtle difference . . . expressing how you feel, and that someone made you feel a given way, is a critical nuance that harkens to other philosophies as well, like “Your Storied Life.”  If someone made you feel a given way, you don’t have the power/choice.
Sometimes it is only the intention behind the words that determines whether they are beneficial or evaluative. (“I feel supported”) With an evaluation, something happened to you.  The alternative is to take the data/“story” of “what happened,” and CHOOSE your feeling.

Peace . . . Out.

Once someone has felt heard and understood (through “Reading Minds” for example), that is often as far as the path need be traveled.  “Solutions” and your own self-expression may add water to a glass that is already full and complete, creating a mess.  🙂

When you say

these words:

What might you be feeling? What might you be needing?
Abandoned Terrified, hurt, bewildered, sad, frightened, lonely Nurturing, connection, belonging, support, caring
Abused Angry, frustrated, frightened, physical pain Caring, nurturing, support, emotional or physical wellbeing, consideration, need for all living things to flourish
Attacked Scared, angry, physical pain Safety
Belittled Angry, frustrated, tense, distressed Respect, autonomy, to be seen, acknowledgment, appreciation
Betrayed Angry, hurt, disappointed, enraged Trust, dependability, honesty, honor, commitment, clarity
Blamed Angry, scared, confused, antagonistic, hostile, bewildered, hurt Accountability, causality, fairness, justice, seen for your intentions
Cheated Resentful, hurt, angry Honesty, fairness, justice, trust, reliability
Coerced Angry, frustrated, frightened, thwarted, scared Choice, autonomy, freedom, act freely, choose freely
Cornered Angry, scared, anxious, thwarted Autonomy, freedom
Criticized In pain, scared, anxious, frustrated, humiliated, angry, embarrassed Understanding, acknowledgement, recognition, accountability, non-judgmental communication
Harassed Angry, frustrated, pressured, frightened Respect, space, consideration, peace
Hassled Irritated, distressed, angry, frustrated, Serenity, autonomy, do things at my own pace and in my own way, calm, space
Ignored Lonely, scared, hurt, sad, embarrassed Connection, belonging, inclusion, community, participation, to be heard and seen
Insulted Angry, embarrassed Respect, consideration, acknowledgment, recognition
Intimidated Scared, anxiety Safety, equality, empowerment
Isolated Lonely, afraid, scared Community, inclusion, belonging, contribution
Left out Sad, lonely, anxious Inclusion, belonging, community, connection
Let down Sad, disappointed, frightened Consistency, trust, dependability, consistency (ha ha)
Manipulated Angry, scared, powerless, thwarted, frustrated Autonomy, empowerment, trust, equality, freedom, free choice, connection, genuineness
Misunderstood Upset, angry, frustrated To be heard, understanding, clarity, to be seen for your intentions
Neglected Lonely, scared Connection, inclusion, participation, community, care, mattering, consideration
Pressured Anxious, resentful, overwhelmed Relaxation, clarity, space, consideration
Provoked Angry, frustrated, hostile, antagonistic, resentful Respect, consideration
Put down Angry, sad, embarrassed Respect, acknowledgment, understanding
Rejected Hurt, scared, angry, defiant Belonging, inclusion, closeness, to be seen, acknowledgment, connection
Ripped off! Screwed Anger, resentment, disappointment Consideration, justice, fairness, justice acknowledgement, trust
Smothered/ suffocated Frustrated, fear, desperation Space, freedom, autonomy, authenticity, self-expression
Taken for granted Sad, angry, hurt, disappointment Appreciation, acknowledgment, recognition, consideration
Threatened Scared, frightened, alarmed, agitated, defiant Safety, autonomy
Unappreciated Sad, angry, hurt, frustrated Appreciation, respect, acknowledgment, consideration
Unheard Sad, hostile, frustrated Understanding, consideration, empathy
Unloved Sad, bewildered, frustrated, lonely Love, appreciation, empathy, connection, community
Unsupported Sad, hurt, resentful Support, understanding
Used Sad, angry, resentful Autonomy, equality, consideration, mutuality
Victimized Frightened, helpless Empowerment, mutuality, safety, justice
Violated Sad, agitated, anxiety Privacy, safety, trust, space, respect
Wronged Angry, hurt, resentful, irritated Respect, justice, trust, safety, fairness, to be seen for your intentions

Dancing Right Along

Knowing where you are on the NVC Dance Floor is critical.  Expressing evaluative statements is in the Jackal self-expression square.  When you’re unbalanced (needing empathy), expressions are unlikely to go well . . . perhaps looking to spawn guilt, co-dependency, anger (another bucket word), compliance, acquiescence, or even empathy.

When people need empathy the most, they are likely to ask for it in a way they are least likely to receive it.” – Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.

So what do you do when you receive evaluative remarks?  Reflect, Reframe, and Validate to get at the core of what is going on for the person:

Take the daggers, turn them into flowers, and hand them back a bouquet.

When the appropriate time for requests arrives (if there are any), a simple round of requests may quickly resolve the issue.