MUST BE 18 OR OLDER - MUST READ TERMS OF SERVICE

Have any of you ever considered walking away from this?

45 posts / 0 new
Last post
Atemwende
Atemwende's picture
Have any of you ever considered walking away from this?

If you have, what brought you back from that edge? What kept you?

Though soon 10 months in, I find myself newly exhausted and half in that mind. Half wanting to stop, to go. To return to simple. And half knowing better.

ShadeyBiz89
ShadeyBiz89's picture

I'm 8 and a half years in, and I've never had the inkling to stop writing altogether. I've had to stop writing a couple individuals along the way, but I've never considered not being a penpal. Writing is a huge commitment, it's not just about pen and paper, it's about friendships with other human beings, so I don't take that lightly, my connections have been so solid and good that to stop is to abandon that, and never would I do so. I reached out to them, I sought them as a part of my life, so I can't walk away from that without a legitimate reason to do so. What has kept me around all these years is an interest in growing and building meaningful friendships and in order to have anything meaningful over time, you can't quit or give up on people. What we do writing prisoners can not only empower people, it can help change lives and I guess I have that level of commitment to those I write to do so longterm. 

Atemwende
Atemwende's picture

I can grasp that. I suppose the root of the problem for me may be that I just might need to let go of the penpals I have at the present time. I do begin to feel that if I had different penpals, penpals of different character, it would be feeling less like I'm giving so much, putting so much in, and only getting so much back. Right now I'm starting to feel like this isn't growing me, and if I'm not growing, if I don't have that opportunity for growth in anything that I do, I'm of the sort that then loses sight of the purpose of even doing it.

But it isn't a light thing to consider, I know. And I won't be rash.

 

 

ST4s
ST4s's picture

Nope. But maybe I’ve been lucky. Most of the folks I write have become essential. I’d walk through fire for them, and have, and they’d do the same for me, and have. I didn’t expect this or even imagine this going in, but it wasn’t an instant thing either. It took time. Now, some have fallen by the wayside, which I think is to be expected. Not everyone clicks like that.

What @Shadey said is very true. Lives can change. I’ve seen this unfold before my very eyes. But what they don’t tell you is the life you change just might be your own.

GalapagosDiver2
GalapagosDiver2's picture

I came very close to giving it away in the initial stages of writing to inmates.  I just had so many false starts to begin with - no replies, and then the occasional reply which would be simply asking me for money.  The whole thing just left a sour taste in my mouth and I began wondering whether it was even a good idea.  I even began wondering if I was the wrong gender to even be writing inmates - as so many of the forums, resources and ads themselves, were predominantly male inmates with female penpals.

I'm glad I stuck with it though, because I have had some wonderful experiences along the way and met people I'm incredibly grateful to have in my life and call my friend.

FrankieBones
FrankieBones's picture

@Galagapagos Like everything, you have to go through quite a few lemons to make lemonade. You also have to learn how to sort out the wheat from the chaft. It can be a bit random at first. There was one quite atractive young woman I wrote to here. She was Japanese/Mexican. She came from a rich family, was involved in a hit and run, killed someone, then pretended to be someone else at the hospital. She used her status in life to manipulate people and she still does try to in jail. She came from an afluent area in California. I guess she was one of those people who is given everything in life growing up as a child and never shown how to be a healthy individual, who learned to take advantage of others and manipulate people in the process. 

It's kind of scary but it's not unusual that rich families breed sociopath daughters I see it all the time with a lot of young women who just have a really bad attitude. It happens with private school boys also. One of my career paths was a teacher, I got to work in an afluent school and some of the society views of some of the young males in that school were quite dysfunctional also.

Opally
Opally's picture

Sometimes. It’s a little disheartening when you have a good correspondence with someone and they just stop responding out of nowhere. I’m powering through it, though. Why am I still writing? No idea.

Cleo95
Cleo95's picture

I’m taking a break currently from writing, just a short one (2 weeks or so) because I just feel like right now I can’t be the best pen pal I want to be.

@Frankie I do think a lot of teens grow out of that stage though? I went to an all girls private school and I’ll admit that I was somewhat of a brat, and I knew plenty of boys from the all boys equivalent of our school who were also entitled brats, but now that we’re all at uni or graduated, most of them are not that way anymore! Some of them have not grown out of that stage and are as entitled as ever, but I think for the most part, everyone has grown up :). Just my 2 cents 

LotusBlossom
LotusBlossom's picture

No, personally I haven’t and I wouldn’t stop unless there was a major long term illness issue and I was too sick to write.  I’m just too invested in it, and whatever happens, happens.  I don’t feel exhausted from it, but I can balance it all with my life.  

FrankieBones
FrankieBones's picture

@Cleo Some of them don't grow out of it. Some of them just become self entitled prats that vote for the Liberal party and think everyone else should suffer their entitlement. Unfortunately it breeds these kinds of things. It's kind of one of the reasons why I don't like private schools. Have you ever noticed the amount of green P platers speeding down the road without a care in the world in the car that their parents bought them for graduating? Yeah that... Hopefully by the time you get to university you will have realised if you're a prat they will just show you the door, and tell you to grow up. There's those ones that sit up the back of lecture theatres making noise and playing games on their iphone/ipad.

Thankfully by second year most of these people have realised that they're not mature enough, and either drop out, or they get suspended/expelled for poor grades/behavior. Some people will grow up, some peoople won't. Some people will drop out and then use their parents "influence" to make various complaints about universities in Australia being "too left wing" or "too politically correct..."

I certainly hope however that they do reach a point where they realise their behavior is unnaceptable.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgzD3qMZIWs

Cleo95
Cleo95's picture

@Frankie Unfortunately a large chunk of my family down here and family friends are liberal party voters :(. I’ve got friends to or people I know and hang with whose ideology swing that way too (one who’s convinced he’s going to be PM one day LOL) but for the most part, all my close friends are all very progressive in their thinking and do some form of activism work! So I guess Ive just had a relatively positive experience! 

 

 

 

FrankieBones
FrankieBones's picture

I've always thought of you as being kind, and progressive in your thinking and I value your contribution here and your perspective as a fellow Australian. I do know what you mean, I love my extended family but they grew up around Towoomba and further afield and so they are rusted on conservatives. I don't mind so much that people are conservatives but some of them don't even entertain the idea of decorum or the have ability to hold a sensible conversation about their beliefs without yelling at people or blaming others for their choices. I'm kind of straight down the middle and am willing to build a bridge, you could probably tell I wouldn't be here otherwise lol. I'm glad you have some friends who are progressive it just makes things easier to accept and get along.

Mateo
Mateo's picture

Neverrrrrrrrrr my PP is part of my life and forever will be

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

No, I didn't. I had one guy I exchanged only one letter with and didn't go on from there, but that was no leaving, it hadn't even just begun.

No, I'm not thinking of leaving. In fact, I sent a first letter out last Sunday, that's the complete opposite of leaving.

Quote:
I suppose the root of the problem for me may be that I just might need to let go of the penpals I have at the present time. I do begin to feel that if I had different penpals, penpals of different character, it would be feeling less like I'm giving so much, putting so much in, and only getting so much back.

Well, then maybe you'll have to find other ones, BUT: If you do, get clear first on what kind of penpal you want and second: People aren't there to fulfill your needs and expectations (that's your own job). And the solution for this isn't to try to have no needs anymore, but to look into them and after yourself fulfilling them, i.e. self-empowerment, that's not anytthing anybody else will be able to do for you, be it a penpal or anyone else. 

Quote:
Right now I'm starting to feel like this isn't growing me,

So, what would you need to grow? And what would you need to grow? Both questions are important.

Sometimes, growing means to grow out of situations and not staying in them. At other times, growing means to commit at a deeper level and that can cause a lot of fear and feel stagnant as well, so, sometimes it's hard to decide which is which.

Atemwende
Atemwende's picture

Powerful, transcendent thought process, especially here in these last lines, Kirsten. "Sometimes, growing means to grow out of situations and not staying in them. At other times, growing means to commit at a deeper level and that can cause a lot of fear and feel stagnant as well, so, sometimes it's hard to decide which is which." Wonderfully said! Thank you, immensely, for sharing it with me. 

 

 

The noble philosopher Seneca the Younger (whose philosophy I must forget I aspire to) does say,

"The wise man, self-sufficient as he is, still desires to have a friend if only for the purpose of practising friendship and ensuring that those talents are not idle. Not, as Epicurus put it in the same letter, 'for the purpose of having someone to come and sit beside his bed when he is ill or come to his rescue when he is hard up or thrown into chains,' but so that on the contrary he may have someone by whose sickbed he himself may sit or whom he may himself release when that person is held prisoner by hostile hands. Anyone thinking of his own interests and seeking out friendship with this in view is making a great mistake. [...] A person adopted as a friend for the sake of his usefulness will be cultivated only for so long as he is useful. [...] If there is anything in a particular friendship that attracts a man other than the friendship itself, the attraction of some reward or other will counterbalance that of the friendship."

And he begs the question, how can the nobler stimulus of friendship be associated with any ignoble desire?

 

 

Kirsten writes"and second: People aren't there to fulfill your needs and expectations (that's your own job). And the solution for this isn't to try to have no needs anymore, but to look into them and after yourself fulfilling them, i.e. self-empowerment, that's not anything anybody else will be able to do for you, be it a penpal or anyone else."

 

Right. Right, and (bear with me) the problem is that I don't yet feel self-sufficient (referring to Seneca, who started that passage, "The wise man, self-sufficient as he is..."). I don't—as you mention to me here—feel that I am fulfilling my own needs and getting to a place of self-empowerment. I also feel that I'm not really getting to do that right now, with this (I feel that my correspondences are beginning to act, unintentionally, as hindrances to that). And I feel that this is contributing to my not being able to be the best penpal that I can be—or that it will, in time, cause me to not be and create a lot of issues in my correspondences. Unless I step back, step away, to go and fulfill what I need to fulfill in order to get there. In order to be able to have these penpals in my life without looking to them in a way that questions "So, how will you help grow me?" Which is what I'm doing at present, right? And that's not how it should be. My personal growth is my responsibility, you're right.

Does that make sense?

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

Then it's your time to find out what your needs are and what your feelings are and what strategies you know/have to fulfill these needs. The Center for Nonviolent Communication in Albuquerque (sp?) offers wonderful feelingsand needs lists that can be freely used if the source is given stated (to not infringe any CR). I used these lists with two of my pps and a translated version of them even with clients in my job. My penpals and I found them really useful, one of them even asked me to send another one in as he wanted to keep his copy (I'd printed them for him and send them together with a letter) but also give the lists to a friend he'd made inside.

Here's the links:https://www.cnvc.org/training/resource/feelings-inventory and https://www.cnvc.org/training/resource/needs-inventory 

I hope they'll help you as much or more as they helped me several times in my life and while dealing with writing to inmates.

If you want to speak privately, feel free to shoot me an email: g e s p e n s t e r k n u d d e l n @ g m x . d e (just remove the spaces)  

lamorena
lamorena's picture

I had to walk away from a few penpals.

I started writing to five different inmates, and was able to keep up regular correspondence with all five for two years. I didn't regret writing, not then and not now. Up until that two year mark I never thought I would stop writing my penpals. Then I experienced real tragedy, tragedy that correlated with the crimes most of these men were convicted of. I didn't expect what happened next, but my image of a few of them changed. I couldn't write them any longer. I couldn't disassociate my tragedy from their victims. I had to walk away because I no longer was a positive presence in their lives. 

Northernyank
Northernyank's picture

I'm so sorry Lamorena, for the tragedy you experienced, and then the changes in your feelings afterwards. It must have been a difficult decision to make. 

lamorena
lamorena's picture

@Northern- It was hard. The question is asked here often- Would you correspond with inmates convicted of xx crime? I considered this and had my answers set before I started corresponding. But those answers were based on my outlook from the outside looking in. Once I was no longer on the outside, my outlook changed completely. It was hard to tell some of my pals that I just couldn't accept their crimes anymore and I was not a suitable penpal. 

Atemwende
Atemwende's picture

Kirsten

Thank you, once more.

I enjoy these lists, and I find the first one especially useful. If it's not too personal, could you share how you personally utilized these lists with your penpals? When you sent them in, how did you want your penpals to engage with the lists? Or how did you have in mind for them to engage with the lists?

Anne marie HH
Anne marie HH's picture

@ lamorena...sorry for whatever happened to you I can understand that changed your outlook and made continuing difficult...I hope you are on the road to recovery now

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

@ Lamorena: Sorry for what happened to you. I somewhat can relate to that, though not fully. I said on another thread I cannot write to men whose crime has anything to do wth stalking. That comes from a friend having had to suffer this and as her friend I knew what was going on. I doubt that I can put enough distance between what happened back then and between some guy stalking or getting violent towards a woman after ending a relationship. Though it didn't happen to myself, but to a friend, I still think I couldn't do it because of I noticed what it did to her. I don't think I could write to a stalker and not think of my friend (or the unknown person he's been stalking). So, though different, I think I get what you mean. 

I hope you're doing well now. My friend is, but it has been years ago and it took her a while to get better.

@ Atemwende: These lists go together, as the feelings can show you whether you deal with met or unmet needs and the second list can help you explore which ones. ;-)

I can tell you why/when I sent them in. I mean, I'm not a missionary, it's not like I'm going to bother any- and everyone with these lists and the ideas of nonviolent communication that go with it. But personally I've had some pretty good experience with nonviolent communication, both in conflict management and personal healing processes.( It's not that I never had any of these, I'm not anyone who never faced a problem or difficult feelings).

With the first one I sent it to when he started to tell me more about himself and how his lifestyle led him into prison. He iknew he did wrong he wasn't trying to  whitewash himself. And then I said sth. like: "Well, you know, there are people who say that everything we do we do to fulfill a need or different needs." And he was like: "Everything? Even you writing to me or even me doing x (committing his crime)?" That was when we talked about this and he could identify for himself how needs like belonging, safety (in a hard violent neighborhood), acceptance, respect and friendship contributed to belonging to a gang and to his crime. Next step was to see that these needs in itself are valid ones, but that it was the strategy he picked (i.e. belonging to a gang to fulfill them) that was harmful. So we discussed whether everyone has the same needs and feelings or not and if so, what causes the trouble then? And so on and so forth... these feelings and needs lit created a whole lot of thinking and discussing and talking for both of us. he even discussed them with at least one other guy inside, that much he told me about. But the most cutest thing was when he started telling me about his feelings about our correspondence and which needs were met through it. I did it vice versa and it was quite moving - or as he put it: " I didn't think that writing in could meet so many needs for someone from the outside." And it really connected us deeper because we realized that despite our different cultures, languages, gender, age, religion, skin color, education and upbringing (all this stuff many ppl consider to be so uttterly important and him and I differ in each and every single one of them) we still had so much in common because we could relate to each other's feelings and needs.

That was a real revelation, for me as well, to see how little these categories mean really if we concentrate on what we and another person might really feel and need. It changes the way you look at someone at least it did for me. I can not relate to being a boy in a bad neighborhood wearing a gun (I never was/ did any of it) but I can relate to feeling insecure, feeling anxious because of a lack of safety, because these are things I know. And the needs of belonging, safety and acceptance I know as well.

Yeah, and the second time, well, someone told me about a conflict he had with someone else. So I tried to emphasize, tried to find out what each of them might feel and need in that specific situation. A kind of mediation, if you wish. Which it wasn't as none of the two were physically present. But it helped and it increased my pps awareness of what was going on. And he asked me:"What did you do? That's because you're a psychologist, that's why!" And I said: "No, it isn't. I just tried to find out what you might feel and need." "But how can you find out about this with an ocean in between?" That's when I sent the lists in and we started talking. And again, it transformed the way we can relate to one another.

That's how it came about.

       

 

Opally
Opally's picture

I posted in here earlier saying I've thought about it, but I've decided I will be taking a break until late August / early September. It makes it easier since all of the people I was writing ended up ghosting me. Oh well, I need the break anyway so I'm not that bothered. I already have a few new people on my mind that I cannot wait to send (gasp) a handwritten letter to (thanks to you guys encouraging me)! 

Cleo95
Cleo95's picture

@Opally how do you know if someone has ghosted you? Good for you though for doing what’s best for you! I hope you find the types of pen pals that deserve to have you in their lives :)

Opally
Opally's picture

@Cleo I don't know 100% but I have a feeling, you know? I know the lifer didn't ghost me, but he still hasn't responded which is still worrying, so I'll have to send him a letter soon. Or he could've ghosted me after he found out I unknowingly messaged his childhood friend and he was told we got into a little argument... which makes me nervous thinking about that since I really liked talking to the lifer. Out of all the people in the prison system, I would be the one to message two childhood friends and argue with one. Jeez. I'm a mess.

Northernyank
Northernyank's picture

The wonderful thing about writing @Opally is it's not a race. It's something you do at your own pace and enjoyment. When and if you're ready, paper and pen will always be ready. 

LotusBlossom
LotusBlossom's picture

We’re all human, Opally!  Just do you and what works best!  I hope you hear from your PP soon.

Atemwende
Atemwende's picture

Kirsten, I am going to print off each of the lists to utilize in my next letter. I feel I can use them to help me (more efficiently) communicate what I am beginning to feel and see as an imbalance in my correspondences. I aim to use them to try to help me alleviate those imbalances.

 

Also, I have to say, I love your wording of "a boy in a bad neighborhood wearing a gun." I love the use of 'to wear' here, as if a gun were an article of clothing. And in many of these bad neighborhoods you speak of, guns do become like articles of clothings. You find guns on boys and men as easily as you might find an undershirt were you to lift up the hems of their shirts, or as easily as you might find boxers or briefs were you to lift the waistband of their pants.

To wear a gun. I love this language. I would never have thought to put it that way.

Atemwende
Atemwende's picture

articles of clothing*

Cleo95
Cleo95's picture

@Opally I think maybe just keep your fingers crossed that you get a letter soon. But it might be worth it to send a letter? Trust your gut though. The argument might not be enough to drive him away though, or it might be. I did actually go through something similar with one of my pen pals and we ended up talking about it and sorting it out, so maybe it’ll all work out. If not, there’s plenty of good people out there :). Good luck!! 

ShadeyBiz89
ShadeyBiz89's picture

Cleo... I've noticed you're alot more assertive around this forum lately and I love it girl! Before, your posts were always good, but you second guessed yourself on EVERYTHING... now, you're popping up everywhere giving great advice and words of support and encouragement, you've found your niche here and it's great to see! I look forward to seeing what you have to say about everything, between you starting threads asking us about whatever and supporting others here, you're on a good groove there, love it!

Opally... about those people who stopped replying... ghosting is never a fun thing to experience, but alot of times when they want to stop, they'll do it that way, it's rare that an inmate will actually reach out and tell you either that they're stopping or give you an explanation as to why... unfortunately, when they let people go they usually fade away... but don't let that deter you, there are a ton of prisoners on here whose day and life you could make so much better and who are interested in you and your friendship, you'll find someone! This is one of the pitfalls of writing, finding people who will reply is only half the battle, finding people who are wanting to sustain a long term correspondence can be difficult, but perseverance is how you overcome it, so keep writing until you find people who are the right fit friendshipwise for you! They're out there!

 

 

Anne marie HH
Anne marie HH's picture

Hi Shadey...all good with you? Your guy is in AZ if I remember right..have you ( or he) heard any more about the tablets? The delays and put backs are going on my nerves

lamorena
lamorena's picture

@Anne Marie- Thank you for your kind words. This is the first year that I feel like myself again and I know some form of recovery is underway.

@Kirsten- It's hard to separate an individual from their crime when you know what the aftermath and effect of their crime looks like. I think it's great that you didn't let that dissuade you from reaching out to inmates altogether. 

Atemwende
Atemwende's picture

I went through and find myself now needing to print out all the pages on this site. Now want to become the missionary, lol.
 

If anyone else is interested in what Kirsten is saying and has shared, I found this, in addition, very helpful and will include this link in addition to the ones shared by her—https://www.cnvc.org/training/resource/book-chapter-1 (on learning how to communicate nonviolently)

 

 

Here is a video also (but fair warning, it's rather long): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF6kMJxOpvI

Cleo95
Cleo95's picture

@Shadey Aw thanks girl! I’ve been trying to give better advice and to trust in myself and my pen pals more lol. I’ve been writing now for 7 months so I feel like I’m starting to have some weight to stand on, if that makes sense? But thank girl, i appreciate it xx

ShadeyBiz89
ShadeyBiz89's picture

Hey AnneMarie... I'm doing good thanks, how are you guys??? All is well with us. He got moved out of Bachman CDU back to Rast Max, which is where he was before all the shit hit the fan. I just got a letter from him on Friday, he's returning back to his normal self... yes he's in AZ, he has mentioned nothing of tablets, but to be honest, neither of us are into email really, we like letters, so it doesn't matter as much to us. We write 4-5 times a month already anyway so it's not like there's a lack of mail. LOL

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

@Lamorena: Both yes and no, I guess... Yes in that it IS indeed harder if you're a victim of crime yourself or know someone who has been deeply affected by (a) crime.

No, because for one, none of the guys I wrote to or write to did commit that particular sort of crime, neither to my friend, nor at all, plus (how do I say this in English? Hm...) well, you know... I do not think that it is linked as much as I was taught to believe. I mean, there are ppl I like and ppl I donÄ't like. And there are actions/behavior I like and some I don't like. And it isn't linked as much as I was taught.  There are peiople I don't like (as a person) who still say or do things I find true. And there are ppl I like who say or do things I strongly disagree with. It's possible to dislike a person and still know he or she does sth. good. And I can like or even love a person and despise sth. he or she did or said. 

I love my mother. But for all of my life my mother struggles with an issue she never sought help for and I can assure you at times this made and makes her act in a way I despise. I love my mother, but I've also had moments I was deeply ashamed or angered or both by some of her actions. The difference between my Mom and the guys I write to is: None of these actions were dangerous enough to put her into prison. But the principle that good ppl can do bad things (especially when troubled) was sth. I realized from a very early age on, without ever anyone saying it to me. And from the very same age on it sent me on a ongoing quest of trying to understand why humans act the way they act. And that led to many things in my life, including writing to inmates. I guess, I'm just pretty aware and tolerant of ambiguity, of  "x as well as y", of seemingly contradictory things at the same time. Because I literally grew up with it.

@Atemwende: Glad, I could help you with introducing you to marshall Rosenberg and his concept of nonviolent communication. I came across it in 2006 while a friend of mine used it to help resolve a conflict. Fascinated by the result and the effectiveness I dug deeper and much of what other ppl called "levelheadedness" (*lol* me... yeah, truth is, I can have quite a bit of a temper)  I'd attribute to having studied and practicing the principles of nonviolent communication as far as I understand them. And my way of understanding it is developping always, to me it's not a tool, a technique or a process anymore, in the last 13 yrs it has more and more become a way of looking at things and of how I'd like to treat myself and others.

Rosenberg was American, so I thought he'd be more widely known especially among those interested in social change. As far as prison goes, as far as I know there's a prison project based in the state of Washington and one in Oregon, but have no pps in these states (let alone facilities) I can't testify on that.

Anyway, to me NVC has become a huge enrichment, especially for emotional healing and for clarity and healing in relationships and families, both of my own and workwise. For me, it's been a great way to be real and empathetic at the same time. So, take what you can use for yourself from it and leave the rest to itself. Some things just tend to unfold with time.

As for the language flip: "Carry a gun", "wear a gun", I realy didn't do that one intentionally. I guess that the "wear a gun" term came because of context, as I rember of of my pps once writing to me he felt "naked" when he didn't have a gun. I guess it was that which caused the mistake.

The interesting thing for me about this is the following: He said he felt "naked on the streets without a gun" and he linked it to a nned of safety, as well as I came across various ads where some of these who were younger men on the streets referred to themselves as "warriors" which of course insinuates to weapons/guns as well. But while in their context a gun means safety & protection, in my world it would not. The men in my world carry a car key, a wallet and their cell phone when they leave the house, but not a gun. No one ever. So, to me, if I was on the outside with a man and I knew he carried a gun, it would make me nervous, as I'd hope others would perceive him as aggressive or a potential threat. But by no means would being around someone with a gun make me feel safer. There you go about using different strategies for the same need.

Anyway, Atemwende, I hope you can identify your needs and find ways to fulfill them. Btw, "balance" is a need, too. ;-)

 

Atemwende
Atemwende's picture

I have printed out about 30 pages of NVC material, Kirsten, that I am hoping to mail in to the penpal I communicate best with but who I also feel is quite inconsiderate towards me and my own needs (check out that diagnosis ;) I am not utilizing my Giraffe language here).

(I also, I'll admit, went to Facebook and joined every community on nonviolent communication I could find.) 

 

I am a bit worried that some of the material won't go through because it is copyrighted (I'm meaning to make a thread asking about this here in a moment), even with their legal page showing that I'm free to use and redistribute the material as I see fit (I printed this out also, to be safe). Fingers crossed on this, as I'm really hoping to be able to introduce this to my penpal who, despite making me feel that my needs are not being considered (turned it around! Changed it from a diagnosis), values healthy communication as much as I.

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

30 pages all at once is a lot of stuff, girl. But if he's into reading, he'll probably like it, I suppose.

If he isn't fully clear about his own feelings/needs, it'll be more probable for him to be inconsiderate of the feelings/needs of other.

No one needing empathy can give it at the same time (to the same other person pushing the buttons to make the feelings and unmet needs appear).

I noticed the jackals here. ;) But hey, enjoy the jackal show. As long as you know they don't have the last word and you translate what they got to say instead of acting them out, you gotta be alright. I sometimes watch "the jackal show", too. (Did I mention I got somewhat of a temper?) Trust me, I do, so be sure, I know this analytical, diagnostic way of speech, too. All too well, given how I've been trained to use it. But I try my to de-condition myself in that regard. Not always successful, but sometimes the giraffes do get their dance. If you ever got the chance of "doing a dancefloor" which is a specific way technique of learning NVC, I'd highly recommend it. To me it was inspiring - and a lot of FUN!     

Quote:
despite making me feel that my needs are not being considered (turned it around! Changed it from a diagnosis),

May I politely choose to differ? ;) That way it isn't a diagnosis (of him) any more, that much is true. But he isn#t "making you feel" anything. Your interpretation of what he's doing is making you feel...

So it might be sth. like: When I see you doing /hear you saying x (fill in the observation), I feel frustrated (would be my guess here, as "not being considered" is the intretation of a feeling, not the feeling itself) because I need (what? mutuality? growth? balance? What?) and coming from there some concrete, do-able request. So what could he do to make you think /get the impression he cares about you/your needs and takes them into consideration?

You needn't answer me on that, if you don't like to do, it's just meant to be a suggestion.

Quote:
values healthy communication as much as I.

Hm... I think, I know what you mean or might mean by this. But I'd love to gain more security on this, because I could connect in another way to you, if I knew what I could do to provide a conversation in which you feel safe, appreciated, respected and recognized. 

(I exaggerate a bit on here, I know ppl don't talk that way and it sure sounds more "technical" than it actually is, I just wanted to clarify the steps here and wanted to show you how you help me if you addressed this wish at me, cause written that way you did, I might have guesses, but I'm still insecure what you'd like me to do or stop doing. So, you could help me by giving me more clarity there.

Best of luck,

Kirsten 

 

Atemwende
Atemwende's picture

Kirsten, you are right, it is we who are responsible for our feelings, never the other person or never anyone outside of ourselves. There's blame in saying "you make me feel [...]" and in addition, it's me not taking responsibility for my own feelings. It's me saying to them that they must take all the responsibility for my feelings/what is alive in me, as well as what is alive in them on top of that.

Before learning of nonviolent communication, I once said to my penpal in one encounter, "It's embarrassing how foolish you made me act in my concern for you." (Laughing) I did apologize for this later, because I realized that it was a foolish thing to say even before learning about Rosenberg's work. A tragic expression of an unmet need.

I will look into doing the 'dancefloor.' I haven't encountered mention of the dancefloor yet.

 

Kirsten says, "So it might be sth. like: When I see you doing /hear you saying x (fill in the observation), I feel frustrated (would be my guess here, as "not being considered" is the intretation of a feeling, not the feeling itself) because I need (what? mutuality? growth? balance? What?) and coming from there some concrete, do-able request. So what could he do to make you think /get the impression he cares about you/your needs and takes them into consideration?"

Oh, hey! Guess what, the pdf I found has a section that outlines this in much the same way you just did here. So now I'm definitely convinced I found a gem.

 

 

In this part where I say 'values healthy communication as much as I,' what I mean to say is that this particular penpal has directly told me that they value healthy communication, that they are always working to dismantle the poor communication habits which were instilled in them throughout their childhood. To this, I can relate, and I also find myself doing a lot of personal work with this within my life.

 

The tangible and doable request part is what I'm still working on. Because there are things I want them to stop doing that I am aware serve their own needs, but now I must find an alternative that is better for them and better for me. I may have to put this question to them directly. "How can we better serve this need in you while fulfilling this [separate, conflicting] need in myself?"

Atemwende
Atemwende's picture

Well, it doesn't say that first part of what I said exactly, it says that we should take responsibility for our feelings, and that we take responsibility for our own feelings by connecting them to the need within us that is either being met or not met.

And then it goes on to read, specifically,

When we blame others for our feelings we tend to stimulate feelings of guilt in the other person. If we express our needs we have a better chance of getting them met.

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

 

 

Hi Atemwende,

Here are two links to the dancefloors to you:

http://ginalawrie.co.uk/userfiles/File//Dance%20Your%20Way%20Empathic%20...

http://www.nvcdancefloors.com/info/all/nvc-dance-floors-intro.pdf

Quote:
In this part where I say 'values healthy communication as much as I,' what I mean to say is that this particular penpal has directly told me that they value healthy communication, that they are always working to dismantle the poor communication habits which were instilled in them throughout their childhood.

Well, I guess, most (if not all) of us have been raised and educated with rewardand punishment, right/wrong, good/bad and with "being bad" if we weren't able to fulfill expectations set up in advance.

Which in itself is weird enough. It would be the same as if I'd expect a dog to fly or a fish to bark. It's inhumane to expect the same from each and everyone, as we all are different.

Therefore the whole ideal of perfectionism is obsolete in itself, for... "perfect" could just mean the best personal being one might be and not an overall generalized perfect being for everyone.

And each ideology I know of which proposed a certain "perfect" way of being human ended up in totalitarism. I know not of a single one which didn't.  

Quote:
To this, I can relate

Me too. The funny thing is, most ppl CAN relate to other ppl's feelings and needs once they know them, because most ppl did experience those feelings and needs themselves in their lives. So, yes, it can be a great place to start and gain a better understanding. 

Quote:
and I also find myself doing a lot of personal work with this within my life.

So do I and the more I learn the more I tend to think it's gonna be a lifelong process.

Quote:
The tangible and doable request part is what I'm still working on.

It's sometimes the hardest part to phrase. I don't find it easy at times to find words for requests (neither to myself, nor to others) and it brings me to looking deep into myself to try to discover whether it is a request or a demand (which makes a whole lot of a difference).

Quote:
Because there are things I want them to stop doing that I am aware serve their own needs, but now I must find an alternative that is better for them and better for me.

That's one of the key things, yes. To stop getting one's needs met at the expense of another, that's the key. And to find ways that meet both needs. But usually I found such ways to emerge (sometimes all odf a sudden) when every need and feeling is on the table.

I find it important for myself to refrain from the typical trained psychological impulse to try and find solutions. I do not have to repair things and situations nor ppl, the situations and solutions unfold if I am with myself, the situation and the person. You don't have to finds a solution all by yourself. You don't even have to come up with one and bring it with you to your pal. Be honest about you own feelings and needs and then wait. Let them tell about what they feel and need. You may offer an empathetic guess if you're able and have one, but there's no need to have a solution at this point.

It will come if everyone's feelings and needs are on the table and being heard/reflected/paraphrased by the other.

Quote:
I may have to put this question to them directly. "How can we better serve this need in you while fulfilling this [separate, conflicting] need in myself?"

I like this because it is an open question that allows some space and to take a breath. If you asked me this, I'd at first look if I really have this need you assume me to have in this situation. I'd probably trust you that you know about yours, but I'd go and examine whether I felt recognized with mine. So you might want to keep in mind that when we're talking about other ppl's needs we're just having guesses. (Unless we paraphrase sth. they previously said to make sure we understood what they were saying).

 

Atemwende
Atemwende's picture

Kirsten says,

"

I find it important for myself to refrain from the typical trained psychological impulse to try and find solutions. I do not have to repair things and situations nor ppl, the situations and solutions unfold if I am with myself, the situation and the person. You don't have to finds a solution all by yourself. You don't even have to come up with one and bring it with you to your pal. Be honest about you own feelings and needs and then wait. Let them tell about what they feel and need. You may offer an empathetic guess if you're able and have one, but there's no need to have a solution at this point.

It will come if everyone's feelings and needs are on the table and being heard/reflected/paraphrased by the other."

 

Did you read this article, Kirsten? Read if you haven't, very beautiful read which agrees with this point of view you have shared.

An excerpt, 

The movement to the heart invites us to hold NVC lightly - essentially, to hold observations as directional points of reference, to allow feelings to evolve as touch points for authentic recognition of underlying needs (as associated sensations in the body are noticed and acknowledged), and especially to create lots of space to be fully present to the particular energetic qualities of human needs as they reveal themselves and are experienced. As this occurs, the mind is quieted, the need is invited into the stillness of the heart and time is suspended. As NVC is held in this way, it becomes apparent that consciousness does not concern itself as to whether or not needs are met or unmet.  Instead consciousness is concerned only with how the need is lived.  From this place, strategies and requests evolve naturally, intuitively flowing from this very full place of experience, recognition and presence.

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

No, I did not read it before. @Atemwende. Will do it with thoughtfulness and time when I'm home this afternoon, as I'm preparing to leave for work right now.

But in the last 13 years I've seen a lot of situations dissolve that very way.

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

Read it now and it sums up how it flows when it is really flowing. It's really true that it takes this second shift, but if you practice it over time you'll probably find it'll become easier. At first, it was a process and the steps somewhat "technically" used (at times it still is now, I'm far from perfect) but in general, it will become easier with time.