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
|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.