piemancer: (shy)
[personal profile] piemancer posting in [community profile] giraffesanctuary
 I've taken so long to reply to your post about NVC and apologies, elainegrey, that feel regret about it! It's the sort of regret that I can't help but laugh at, because it's rooted in how much I value connection. Still plenty of time for connection, Piemancer. Even connection about apologies.

I suspect it took so long because the answer is, "Yes, but no." Someone might say, "There's no sign for TOOLBOX in ASL! How can it be a useful language?!" The answer to that is "Yes, but no*," too. 

Here's an excerpt from an article from here:

NVC shows us a big difference between mourning and apology. Apology is basically part of our violent language. It implies wrongness - that you should be blamed, that you should be penitent, that you’re a terrible person for what you did. And when you agree that you are a horrible person and when you have become sufficiently penitent, you can be forgiven. Sorry is part of that game, you see. If you hate yourself enough, you can be forgiven.

Now, in contrast, what is really healing for people is not that game where we agree that we’re terrible, but rather going inside yourself and seeing what need of yours was not met by the behavior. And when you are in touch with that, you feel a different kind of suffering. You feel a natural suffering, a kind of suffering that leads to learning and healing, not to hatred of oneself, not to guilt.

From where I'm standing, this NVC mourning is an apology that connects people, rather than sends them to the doghouse. My partner can really tell why I regret so much stepping on his foot, and he really knows what value fueled that regret. I don't get stuck in that place where I cry all the way to work because I got stuck in an "I'm sorry" spiral of lamentation from which I can't escape.

Other people have done the work of writing examples for me, and better than I could. This example is from here, wherein the author is not afraid to use the word "apology" to describe this NVC communication**:

If someone said to me, “What you did really hurt my feelings. You need to say you’re sorry.” I would start with empathy.
It might sound like this: “When you hear me say, ‘I don’t care if you come along’, you feel hurt and sad because you need caring and consideration, is that right?”

I would keep guessing the other’s feelings and needs until I was sure I really heard and connected with them.

Next I would express the feelings and needs that come alive for me when I hear my loved one’s pain:

“When I hear you say you’re hurting, I feel regret and sadness, because it’s so important to me to communicate with caring.Can you tell me what you heard me express?”

After we have both expressed and connected with each other’s feelings and needs we move into requests. I may have thought I did communicate with caring and clarity so I want to know specifically what meets these needs for my loved one. We discuss specific requests and let each other know what we are both willing to do differently in the future so that our needs are met.

A helpful apology isn’t about making someone bad for what they did.It’s about making a space for the hearts of those involved to feel the pain that came up and then connect with what needs weren’t met.With an understanding of needs, you can choose to do something differently rather than just lamenting what you did.

*Sure, there's no single sign for that thing, but Deaf mechanics across the nation have no trouble telling their co workers, "The 5/8" ratchet head is in the third drawer down from the top in the red toolbox by the arc welder." In fact, they have less trouble than their English using co-workers. Heck, the Deaf mechanic will also tell me exactly where in the toolbox drawer it is, and it will take much less time. But I digress.  

**It fills the same societal function as an apology, so i'm cool with calling it the same thing. Like when I put salsa and spicy vegetables in a leaf of romaine lettuce; some object to me calling that a taco, but it's in the ballpark of tacoville.

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