Can communication be a form of violence? According to communication expert Marshall Rosenberg, it can if you consider "violence" to include attempts at cutting others down to size and/or coercing them into doing what we want. Tony discusses "Nonviolent Communication," and the importance of separating an observation from a judgment, something narcissists or highly emotionally immature people struggle to do to manage their own anxiety.
Tony references Pamela Hobart's review of Marshall Rosenberg’s book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life https://fourminutebooks.com/nonviolent-communication-summary/
If you are interested in being coached in Tony's upcoming "Magnetic Marriage Podcast," please email him for more information. You will receive free marriage coaching and remain anonymous when the episode airs.
Go to http://tonyoverbay.com/workshop to sign up for Tony's "Magnetize Your Marriage" virtual workshop. The cost is only $19, and you'll learn the top 3 things you can do NOW to create a Magnetic Marriage.
You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program, The Path Back, by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs and podcasts.
Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript, click here https://descript.com?lmref=bSWcEQ
Hey, everybody. Welcome to Waking Up to Narcissism. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and host of the Virtual Couch podcast, and also host of the very soon to be released Magnetic Marriage podcast, which is going to be a subscription based podcast. The cost per year is going to be far, far less than one session of therapy, but this is real couples, real coaching/therapy. And I have about 15 to 20 episodes in the can.
And we are going to come out with one every week and you're going to hear me coach and do therapy with real life couples. And if you want to know more about that, just go to Tonyoverbay.com and sign up for the newsletter. And you will be the first to know when it is going to launch. It looks like it's probably going to be around the first week of December, and I am going to run a special or two between now and then. So go to Tonyoverbay.com and sign up for my newsletter and you'll be one of the first to know more about that. I'm very excited about it because I feel like, especially my Waking Up to Narcissism audiences, a lot of people have not been in a position to get their spouse, or their partner, to go to counseling. Or they've possibly had bad experiences in counseling. So this is really like being able to just watch what, I feel like, a productive couple session can look like, and we've been able to cover everything from emotional immaturity to navigating a faith journey or a faith deconstruction, to parenting, to just arguing, ineffective communication, blended families, and everything that you can imagine up to this point. So I can't wait, if you can tell by my voice, for people to find this podcast and hopefully it will help in their relationships. And speaking of relationships, you can also go to Tonyoverbay.com/workshop. And I am leaving the $19 workshop up there, which does a lot of what I just like to say, we don't know that we don't know about how to have a good relationship and how to communicate effectively. I lay out my four pillars in more detail, as well as a lot of the other challenges that I see as a couples therapist. So that's $19 money back guarantee. Tonyoverbay.com/workshop. But let's get to the topic today. And this one has been a bit of a therapeutic whirlwind for me.
I had heard about a concept called “nonviolent communication” a few years ago from a listener. And I had Googled the concept a little bit. Not enough to really understand what the concept was about. And at one point I even had an audible book of the day or deal of the day come up that was about a review of a book about nonviolent communication. That was a little over an hour.
And I listened and I really appreciated that. But for some reason it didn't really click until a couple of weeks ago when someone was talking about the concepts around nonviolent communication in my office. And it really got me thinking, and I did a little bit of a deep dive on the author or the person who came up with the concepts around nonviolent communication. Marshall Rosenberg. And now it's one of those things where I just feel like it's another puzzle piece that helps make sense of things that really don't make sense. So, let me take you on my train of thought here. First let's talk about what nonviolent communication is. And the best place to talk about this, I found, was a four minute book review on a site called fourminutebooks.com. And the person who wrote the article is Pamela Hobart. And it is, “nonviolent communication summary”. So Pamela gives a one sentence summary, “Nonviolent communication explains how focusing on people's underlying needs and making observations instead of judgments can revolutionize the way you interact with anybody.”
She says, “even your worst enemies.” And I think one of the reasons I shied away from digging deeper in the past, into the topic in general non-violent communication, Pamela sums it up perfectly. She said, “Free speech advocates commonly argue that speech is the opposite of violence. Words can offend us, but they don't actually do harm.” So she said, “From this point of view, nonviolent communication is practically an oxymoron.” And I think that maybe in my subconscious, I felt the same. But communications expert Marshall Rosenberg begs to differ. Now, according to him, and I think you'll see where this really starts to fit into the things we talk about on waking up the narcissism, whether we're talking about full blown narcissistic personality disorder, or extreme emotional immaturity, Marshall Rosenberg says, “Most people's default manner of speaking to others is highly violent. That is if you consider violence to include attempts at cutting others down to size. And coercing them into doing what we want.” Now, I did an episode about this a couple of weeks ago, over on the Virtual Couch.
And I really feel like it helps in the context of if you are someone who is self-aware. I think that we will often recognize after you hear what I'm going to talk about next, our role in certain things. And I think the difference in somebody that has narcissistic traits, tendencies, personality disorder, or extreme emotional immaturity is, they're not the one that is listening to this podcast most likely, or if they are, they may be listening with their elbow, meaning, okay, I'm poking my partner saying, yeah, you really need to listen to this. And I feel like most of the people that I think are tuning in are people that are wanting to figure out things, figure out, okay, what is off in my relationship? And again, is it me? And am I the narcissist, which I will maintain if you are listening to this and asking the question. No. Because you have enough self-awareness and curiosity and concern to ask that question and to go seeking help.
Now, if you are handed this podcast and you're listening and at first you thought, how dare somebody send me this podcast? They think I'm a narcissist? But then slowly but surely over time, you've started to recognize, oh my goodness. I do a lot of these things. Maybe I'm just on that emotionally immature spectrum. Then you are waking up to perhaps your own narcissism or your own emotional immaturity, which is absolutely what I have done, which is why I titled the podcast “Waking Up to Narcissism”. Yet I digress. In this book review, Pamela says, “Whether or not most ordinary speakers are constantly committing literal acts of violence or not, most of us can see the potential benefit of learning to communicate more effectively.” And Marshall Rosenberg's book, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life provides one provocative lens for seeing what's morally and pragmatically wrong with many of the things that we tend to say in our everyday lives. Nonviolent communication, then digs a little bit deeper into what we could say instead. Now, the reason that I read that paragraph is because that leads nicely into the first lesson that Pamela pulled out of the book, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. And this has been the game changer over the last couple of weeks.
“Separating observation from judgment is the first step toward reducing needless conflict.” So if you are on your journey of self-improvement, separating observation from judgment can be a really powerful tool. Now, the example I gave on the Virtual Couch podcast is if you say to yourself about, let's just say your son, you have a son and your son's struggling in school. If you say well, he doesn't do his homework or he fails that test because he's lazy. So, what do we do? There's an observation that he doesn't do his homework, and then we immediately fill in the gap with a judgment. Now that judgment, I believe strongly, is there to ease or manage our own anxiety. Now, let me tell you where I'm going with this.
So if he doesn't do his homework and we just throw that judgment in there, that it's because he's lazy. Oh, look what we get to not do. We don't have to take ownership or accountability of, well, what if it's because I did not spend much time, even when he has asked me for help with his homework.
Because, I mean, if it's like me, I couldn't do my kids' math homework after they hit about fifth grade, I'm a therapist. I took one math class in college. That's not my strong suit. And so if I feel emotionally insecure, if I feel immature or insecure about my ability to help my kid, then am I saying, oh, accountability, my bad. I have no idea what that math problem is. Or instead if I just say, oh, I'm too busy. I don't have time to help you with your homework.
So then down the road, if he is not doing well in math and I say, yeah, it's because he's lazy. He doesn't do his homework. What do I not have to deal with is, oh, I probably could have spent more time. Or that means that I might've had to get off of candy crush on my phone and actually learn sixth grade math, which would probably not have been as difficult as I would have thought it would have been.
But if you're really talking about emotional immaturity or narcissism, and as I'm talking this through well, but I also don't want to feel uncomfortable. So I'm just going to say, yeah, I don't have time champ. And so now it results in if he's not doing his homework again, I just say, well, it's because he's lazy. So I don't have to deal with my own potential role in how I could have helped. I don't have to deal with the fact that I may have just passed on some good old genetic genes and DNA that the boy is not very good, maybe he has some nice stunted neuro-transmitters and a heavy dose of ADHD. Like his dad, and so therefore that isn't his strong suit. So I don't want to deal with that either. I would rather throw that judgment card in there and say well, it’s because he's lazy. Or, I deal so much with people that are struggling with faith, faith journeys, faith transitions, faith deconstructions, all of these formerly known as a faith crisis. And so let's just say, if you are in a religion, in a church and a faith community and someone leaves, it's much easier to say well yeah, they left because they wanted to sin.
So, what am I doing there? The observation truly is that they left. My judgment comes in to say, well it's because they want to sin because, why? And this is where I feel like this is so applicable on this podcast. Waking up to narcissism. Let's take that one in particular. And even if you're not a religious person or in a faith community, I think that you'll see where I'm going here.
So if I can just throw that judgment out, it will manage my anxiety. It's obvious they left because they want to go do bad. Because, when we're being incredibly emotionally immature or narcissistic in our thoughts, then we maintain this all or nothing attitude, this black or white thinking. So if they left and it's because, well, they didn't like going to my church.
Then in our mind, we're subconsciously or just reactively what feels like to be me is, well, then what if I'm wrong? What if they're right? What if they can be happy? And they can be happy outside of my faith community. Well, it's not black or white. It's not all or nothing. So emotional maturity is me being able to say, well, they left because maybe it didn't work for them or better yet they left, period. Now I can ask them with curiosity. Hey, tell me about your journey. Tell me more about that. How are you doing now?
So when we separate observation and judgment, now we're going to give that person an opportunity to really communicate effectively. And it's not about easing or managing my anxiety. It's about the other person's experience. So if I'm again throwing these judgements in there, what else am I not having to deal with?
The fact that, what if my particular faith community is judgemental? And so someone left because they didn't feel like they fit in, and they maybe are different from me. And so then again, I go back to this all or nothing, black or white thinking where I need to throw a judgment in there, because what if I am not truly aware of what it's like to be somebody else and what their experience is in the faith community? So again, I have to put this judgment in there. Well no, it's probably because they want to go sin. It's probably because they want to go do all of these crazy behaviors. It can't be because they have a different experience.
And their different experience might be okay. Because that doesn't invalidate my experience in this example with my faith community. What if we both can have good experiences, one within the faith community and one outside of the faith community. That would be absolutely okay. Nonviolent communication, I think now we can start to see where that concept of violence comes in. Because if I am immediately throwing that judgment on there, now if I'm going to have that conversation with that person, I've already judged the fact that they left the faith community because they want to sin.
So now if I'm saying, hey, how are things going? And if they're saying, oh, it's great. I'm doing well. Then I'm already looking through this lens of, sure you are. I've already made the judgment. I know why you left. You left because you want to go and shoot heroin between your toes. I mean, it's not because you wanted to have a different experience. So if you're telling me it's okay, sure it’s okay.
And boy, talk about then a violent communication tactic. Because I'm already putting that person on the defensive and now it's up to them to prove to me that I am wrong when I'm already thinking I'm right. So there is a no win situation there. So that person is absolutely going to feel unheard.
And they're going to feel like you know, you don't even really want to know about why I left the faith community. You've already got your judgment and we can see that on your face. Or I feel that energy. So one of the beautiful things I’ve noticed, the more I learn about this concept of nonviolent communication, is separating observation from judgment. That is going to lead us to curiosity. And curiosity is our best chance at actually having a true connection, a connected conversation where we can both have our own experiences and someone else's experience doesn't invalidate my experience.
So one of the things that also had me looking more into nonviolent communication was something that someone shared with me from a book called The Yamas and the Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice by a woman named Deborah Adele. Now, how does that fit in? Deborah Adele is not quoting Marshall Rosenberg's nonviolent communication book, but listen to this page. And I think this fits so nicely into what we've already talked about so far.
She says, “Thinking that we know what is better for others becomes a subtle way that we do violence. When we take it upon ourselves to ‘help the other’, we whittle away at their sense of autonomy. Non-violence assets to trust the other's ability to find the answer that they are seeking. It asks us to have faith in the other, not feel sorry for them. Non-violence asks us to trust the other's journey and love and support others to their highest image of themselves. Not our highest image of them. It asks that we stop managing ourselves, our experience, others and others' experiences of us. Leave the other person free of our needs, free to be themselves, and free to see us as they choose.”
Now on the Virtual Couch, I just blasted right past that. I thought it fit in nicely with the episode. And I was talking more about the concepts around healthy ego and finding what really matters to you versus pathological defensive ego or narcissism. But why I think this is more applicable on Waking Up to Narcissism, and I want to do a little bit of a deep dive here, is I want you to listen. If you can, if right now you're thinking, okay, but I'm then doing violence to my children or but I'm the one, me, I am the problem.
I want you to take a breath. Square up those shoulders, in through the nose, out through the mouth. And I'm encouraging you to put your pathologically kind shield down. And now lean into the concepts of what this is like in your relationship, because we could do an entirely different episode on yeah, we're probably by definition doing a little bit more of that violent communication with our children, because I'm going to maintain that our job as a parent starts as we are a coach when they are young. I heard this a long time ago. And so we are calling a lot of the plays. We're doing a lot of the guidance when they're young. And then as they get older, we move into more of a managerial role. If you're familiar with that sports analogy, we're no longer the coach on the field, but we're the general manager. So we can get some funding together. We can raise money from the boosters. We can maybe work a couple of trades.
We can even have you maybe move to a different location and I can help with that. But ultimately you're the one that is playing, talking about my kid. So what I'm really talking about with that quote is what is happening to you. So if your partner is thinking that they know what is better for you, that is a subtle way that they do violence. When that person takes it upon themselves to help you, they whittle away at your sense of autonomy. And I can't even keep track of the amount of emails that come in now of people saying that they have lost their sense of self. That they've whittled it, this sense of autonomy is absolutely it's not been whittled away, it's been chopped away with an ax.
So at that point, I feel like the concepts around violent communication become even more powerful or clear because if you are constantly having to defend yourself or try to figure out the other person, and meanwhile being told that most everything that you do is not the right thing to do, which leaves you feeling like you're not enough, then you are operating from such a deep hole that you can't get out of that you don't even have a moment to try to find your sense of self. And so absolutely your autonomy has just been destroyed. So that is because you have been communicated to violently. Because everything you've had to say, I know that's an all or nothing statement, most everything that you've had to say then has come from a place of defense. And then when you are trying to defend, and the other person has been making judgements to manage their anxiety. Let's go back to their own childhood abandonment and trauma wounds. And again, narcissism. If we really take a step back, one of the definitions I think is so good is from Eleanor Greenberg from her Psychology Today article, “The Truth About Narcissistic Personality Disorder”. “Narcissistic personality disorder is the name for a series of coping strategies that began as an adaptation to a childhood family situation that left the person with unstable self-esteem, the inability to regulate their self-esteem without external validation, and low empathy.” So now go back to when you are communicating with your narcissistic partner or a narcissistic adult parent or narcissistic older child or narcissistic leader or boss or entity of any kind. And they are coming at every situation that they're looking at. And they’re coming in there with unstable self-esteem and the inability to regulate that self-esteem without external validation and lower empathy, then they are throwing huge judgements on with their observation of you. They already know why you're doing the things that you're doing because that helps them try to make sense of their own life.
And they lack that true sense of self or a sense of purpose. So then what that sense of self or purpose becomes is all about managing their anxiety through judgment statements. So everything that they see, they know they understand, this is why you're doing that. And that's why, at the core gaslighting is, then if you try to defend yourself because you have to defend yourself because they've already thrown you into this quagmire of judgment with whatever you're doing. Now as you try to defend yourself, you're actually giving them more fire, more juice, more power, because it can't be that way. This is that concept of confabulation. They're creating a narrative in real time so anything that you say, then that goes against the judgment statement that they've already crafted in their mind is invalidating their experience and causing them to have more stress and anxiety, and they need to manage that anxiety, not with curiosity, not with self confrontation, not with accountability, but with control. So now I have to think of you in this negative light, says the narcissist or the emotionally immature person, or else it's going to cause me a lot of anxiety and it's going to cause me to have to take a look inward and own my own crap. And I'm not willing to do that.
So I have now judged what you are doing. And as a matter of fact, it has to be that way. So now if you try to argue against me, I get to even say, you don't even understand yourself. I do. Which is why arguing with someone that truly is on that highly emotionally immature scale or narcissistic personality disorder scale is going to actually leave you feeling worse. Which brings us into the next part of today's podcast on Marshall Rosenberg's site, it's the NVC, it's nonviolent communication. Okay on nonviolentcommunication.com, you can find a lot of resources and he has a lot of free resources and there is an email that is on there that I found when I was searching for some resources on nonviolent communication and narcissism. So I'm going to claim the, hey, it's on the internet. And so I'm going to read it. So giving full attribution, this is at nonviolentcommunication.com/email. And then it says “non-violent communication and narcissist”, and it's a PDF email. I don't know any other context. And I really tried to find it. But it's by a gentleman named Tim Buckley and it looks like it's an email that they received that Tim must have written or sent. And I'm going to go through this because I think that he does such a nice, amazing job at laying out what nonviolent communication would look like for the person, the pathologically kind person attempting to communicate with a narcissist. So Tim says, “Covid didn't create narcissism, but the isolation created by the pandemic may have increased the challenges we face trying to meet the needs of a shared reality and meaningful connection with others.” He said, “Recently, a friend asked whether there is an antidote to ‘dealing with a narcissist’. He said that providing empathy for that person had become emotionally taxing. And that more empathy seemed only to encourage the other person to go on and on. Inviting more empathy and thus creating compassion fatigue for me.” Boy, we could do a whole episode on that paragraph. “Compassion fatigue”. And this person who was saying, hey, I listened and I gave empathy and all that did was cause the person to want to go on and on and more and more until I felt this compassion fatigue.
So Tim said, “Before I answered his email, I did a bit of research.” So this first one is just kind of fun. There's a couple of things here. He said, “Narcissist was a mythical Greek character developed as a morality lesson. The young man was classically beautiful and he fell deeply in love with his reflection in a pool. Obvious to us, and eventually to him, the relationship was not destined for satisfaction. Narcissist became sad, then despairing that his love could not be reciprocated.” Boy that resonates. “So he ultimately killed himself and after his death, the flower of great beauty was born bearing his name.” So there's the history or the mythology around narcissism. Then he says, “A foundational premise of nonviolent communication is that moral judgements proceed all acts of violence.” So what we've been talking about here, that a moral judgment on an observation is kind of hardwired, until we're aware and we try not to. So again, he says, “A foundational premise of nonviolent communication is that moral judgments precede all acts of violence. Narcissism, nonviolent communication founder Marshall Rosenberg would say, is a diagnosis.” So the thought, and again stick with me here because I, again, I know I'm dealing with the pathologically kind audience for the most part. And so I worry you'll hear this next sentence and then say, oh my gosh, I need to stop doing this. But, hang on.
So he says, “Marshall Rosenberg would say that narcissism is a diagnosis. So the thought he's a narcissist creates separation between me, the judge, and you, the object. As soon as those thoughts enter our minds, that he's a narcissist, so whether they are good and bad right and wrong,” now he says, “we're knocking at moral judgments front door.”
So instead of labeling the other person as a narcissist, Tim Buckley is saying that this is what he understands about nonviolent communication, that it is possible with practice to refrain from knocking on that door altogether. So that door of judgment, instead as nonviolent communication teaches us, he says, “Form an observation. So every time I spoke to my brother-in-law last weekend, he talked about his accomplishments and didn't ask me once about what I think, how I am, or what I've been doing.” So I really do like the premise where Tim is setting this up. So from a nonviolent communication standpoint, and that's why I tried to spend the first half of this email on, when you are being communicated at violently, you're already in a one, two or I won't say a three down position. And you are trying to defend yourself like crazy. And you're trying to defend something that if we really step back, I don't need to defend. That's the other person's judgment on their observation of me.
And now we can realize that and that judgment is there to manage their anxiety. So if I'm dealing with a narcissist or someone that's extremely emotionally immature, they are not looking at me with curiosity. They're looking to validate their judgment of me because that will ease their anxiety and make them feel better about themselves. And that is the air that they breathe.
So back Tim Buckley saying, “Instead of labeling the other person as a narcissist, then it's possible with practice to refrain from knocking on that door of judgment altogether. So form an observation. Again, every time I spoke to my brother-in-law last weekend, he talked about his accomplishment and didn't ask me once about what I think, how I am, or what I've been doing.” So that's the observation. And it can be really hard to separate that judgment for ourselves, especially if we have been in a pattern of narcissistic or emotional abuse, especially in conversation for a long period of time, because like we've talked about the body keeps the score. My visceral reaction is going to lead the way my emotions are going to travel faster than my logic.
So that's why I want to set the table and say, this is great, what we're talking about, from an awareness standpoint. But I know that for the population that I'm talking to right now for most, your body is already heading toward fight or flight, even when you get around the person. So, what he says then is the observation is that my brother-in-law only talked about his accomplishments. Didn't ask me once about what I was thinking, how I'm doing or what I've been doing. And I feel like most people listening can probably resonate with that. That is the observation. Then he says self empathy, identifying the feelings I have about that. Well, I felt irritated. I felt hopeless. I felt unseen. I felt unheard. I felt unloved.
So self empathy, identify the needs not met. Well, I would like a real conversation. I would like to be heard. I would like to be acknowledged. I would like to know that I matter. So then here's the part where I feel like, I don't know where I'm at yet, as far as nonviolent communication, when communicating with the narcissist, because in nonviolent communication, he says, then request at this point.
So the request, you now have a choice. You can interrupt your brother-in-law and lay out your observations, your feelings, and needs. So this is what I love. If you are in an emotionally healthy relationship, then separating your observation from your emotion will then allow you to give them space and have more curiosity to have a truly connected conversation. And then, at that point, then you can even start to express your needs. I would love a connection. I would love to be heard and understood.
But, I feel like if you're, if you see where I'm going with this, if you're in a relationship with a narcissist, then that is adorable to think that I'm going to express that. And they're going to say, oh my gosh, am I doing that? I did not know that. Which boy, quick plug, please, if you don't go follow me on Instagram @ virtual couch.
I have an amazing social media team that is now starting to put a lot of content out there. And I've been recording reels, and I feel like an old man, reels as the kids say, but, I just always wanted to do something with, in my mind when I have a narcissist, maybe in my office, I maybe will ask a question and then, you know, I've identified my ADHD on numerous occasions and my secondary emotion of humor, which leads the way. So my internal dialogue often is jokes. I can't help it.
So oftentimes when I set the table for an emotionally immature narcissistic person, during a conversation to really show up with empathy or curiosity. And then oftentimes I think, oh, here's something that a narcissist will never say. Things like, oh, I hadn't thought of that or my bad, or, tell me more about how you feel. So go follow me on Instagram or Facebook at Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist, or on Instagram @ virtual couch.
And we're starting to get more and more of that content, reels and trying to, you know, use some humor there as well about a situation that maybe isn't feeling as humorous. So if we identify those needs not met, I'd like a real conversation to be heard and acknowledged. Two, the request. You have a choice, you can interrupt your brother-in-law and lay out your observations, your feelings and your needs.
Or you could decide to empathize with them so that you meet other important needs of yours, like kindness, consideration, respect, and empathy. But in this email, and I think this is where I think this is so applicable. Tim says, “But as in my friend's case, the unmet needs continue to come up and the choice to listen empathetically to his brother-in-law became emotionally burdensome. So then what? So Rosenberg teaches us to notice the moment we're no longer enjoying the choice we made.” I know that sounds simple, but I love the simplicity. So notice the moment that we're no longer enjoying the choice we made, the choice that I've made to continue to listen to the narcissistic person who never reciprocates in the conversation.
So at some point I noticed I'm no longer enjoying this. And he said, “And then make another choice to better meet our own need. When we can no longer be present to the other in a state of empathy, it's important to say what has become more important. Not doing so can rapidly give rise to thoughts, like he's a narcissist or he's so self-centered.” So, Tim said, “Here's how that might sound.” So he says, “Me. ‘Excuse me a minute, Rob, I'd like to check with you on something. I've been listening to you for a while and asking questions about what you've been saying. I wonder if you can say how my listening and my questions have landed for you. Has it been pleasurable for you to have me be present with what's going on for you.’ and Rob,” who I think in this scenario is the emotionally immature or narcissistic person, “says, ‘Yeah, thanks. I really have enjoyed talking with you and it's rare to have somebody express interest in what's going on for me.’” Now let's pause. This is why I feel like, if you are the pathologically kind person and you are continuing to talk to the narcissist and they continually tell them about all their amazing accomplishments over and over again, and they don't ask you anything about you.
When you leave that conversation, they say, man, this was great. I mean, I feel like we have a real connection. Because you just listened and validated. So, this Rob in this scenario says, yeah, I enjoyed talking with you. It's rare to have somebody express interest in what's going on for me. Expressing interest to the narcissist can simply be saying, oh man, really. What was that like? Oh, okay. Instead of trying to combat or leave the conversation. Because again, that narcissist is a very emotionally insecure person at their core. So then in this scenario, the person speaking says, “‘Okay, I'm glad you're saying you long to be heard. And that doesn't happen as much as you would like. So when that happens, like with me just now, do you get the sense that you are appreciated and respected?’ To which then Rob says, ‘Yes, very much.’” So then the person says, “‘I understand, and I feel the same way. So this last year being isolated because of COVID has been hard for me and I long for the same things that you spoke about. So would you be willing to listen to me for a while so that I can be heard and appreciated for what's going on for me?’, Rob says, ‘sure.’” So then he says, “Before I get more than a couple of sentences into my list of things, however, Rob cuts in and begins to talk about himself. Often something we say stimulates a thought in the other and rather than hanging onto the thought. They interrupt with oh yeah, that happened to me too. And then they continue to dominate the conversation.”
And in my imagination, probably also one-upping the conversation. So then he says, “Me internally, oh boy, here we go. Again, me internally, self empathy, I'm irritated because he said he would listen. And now it appears that he's not interested. I'd really like to keep my relationship with him solid. So I want to be understood for this point. I think I'm going to say something now.”
So, you know where this is going, right. “Me. ‘Rob’, I say, interrupting him. ‘I noticed this, now that you jumped in, when I was talking about my life and just after you said you were willing to listen to me, like I listened to you.’ Rob says, ‘Oh yeah, but I was just, I was just saying, I was just saying how I'm having some of those same issues.’
And then me, I say, ‘Well, yeah, I get that. And I want to make sure that you're still okay with your agreement to listen to me. So it's important for me to finish what's on my mind, you know, it helps me get grounded in my need for respect to mattering.’” Okay. And I would imagine Rob, at this point, it looks like you just took his puppy and you just popped the tires of his bike. Okay.
And he says, “Perhaps the speaker now is thinking Rob may be better able to stay focused on listening. If so, I would certainly end our conversation with a sincere thanks for his willingness to be present and attentive. And to say that his doing so met my need for mutual respect.
However, perhaps he's unable or unwilling to abide with that agreement. So if Rob continues to interrupt and bring the subject back to himself, then I might end the conversation this way.” He says, “‘ Rob. I'm interrupting again, only to say that I'm tired and I want to talk to other people right now. I'm disappointed that my need to be heard, like I wanted, wasn't met.
And I noticed I was getting fidgety and frustrated when you continued to talk about yourself, my relationship with you is important. And I'd like to talk to you about this some more at some point.’ Me, now internally formulating a request, I'm hesitant to ask him if he'd be willing to tell me what he heard me say fearing that he would be defensive and would eat up another five minutes about himself.” And that is absolutely the case. So that's why I, again, I love this concept of nonviolent communication, but more from just a standpoint of awareness, as you are waking up to the narcissism around you, I think it's important to recognize when someone is communicating at you violently, because they have put a judgment onto an observation about you to manage their anxiety or their experience. They can't make room that you also have an experience. So then you are being violently communicated with, and you have to defend yourself. Now in nonviolent communication, as the listener you're now encouraged to separate your judgment, he's a narcissist, from the actual observation, he will not stop talking about himself. He doesn't ask me about anything. And, he just will continue on and on and on. And the observation, he will also tell me I'm wrong. He will also cut me off. So those are all observations. So the judgment is that he's a narcissist. I appreciate where this is going, because then, what nonviolent communication says is once I recognize that now I have to acknowledge the fact that this is not helpful, it's not reciprocal. It's not something that I am interested in continuing with.
The part that I struggle with that I think there maybe needs to be a whole other branch of in this world of nonviolent communication with narcissists, is that just becomes more data for me. It's more research. It's more of what will eventually play into the rule outs of whether or not this is a healthy relationship.
Because then if I express exactly the way that Tim wrote in this email that, hey, I have been listening and I would also like to be listened to. Then I feel like we're going to watch the narcissist, then take great offense because, go back to some of the stuff that I've talked about in earlier episodes. Narcissism comes from a place of severe childhood wounding, abandonment, neglect, emotional abuse, or lack of validation. So when you disagree with the narcissist, it can literally be just saying, hey, you had said you were going to do this a minute ago and you didn't.
When you do that, and I go back to the article by Eleanor Greenberg, she talks about “whole object relations, the capacity to see oneself and others in stable and integrated ways and acknowledge both a person's good and bad qualities and object constancy, the ability to maintain a positive, emotional connection to somebody that you like while you're angry, hurt, frustrated, or disappointed by her behavior.” So without these things, without whole object relations and without object constancy, people on the narcissistic spectrum can only see themselves and other people in one of two ways. And this is, we were alluding to this earlier, all or nothing, black or white. They see the people as special, unique, omnipotent, perfect, and entitled to what she calls “high status”. “Or they're defective, worthless, garbage, low status. This means that the person struggling with narcissistic issues cannot hold onto his or her good opinion and good feelings about someone once he or she notices the other person has a flaw.” The other person goes from being special and put on a pedestal, which is where I think in this example of the email Tim's reading is where the person is just listening to the narcissist. So at that point, now the narcissist feels like this is good. We've got a good thing happening here. We're vibing. We're having conversations. Not reciprocal conversations, not back and forth conversations, not empathetic conversations, but this person is listening to me and they are nodding their head and they are smiling and they're not leaving. They're not running away.
This is good. We got a thing. But then if they notice that the other person has a flaw, the person goes from being special and put on a pedestal to being devalued as nothing special. Now, what can that flaw be? Eleanor says, “Narcissists often seesaw back and forth between these things, whole object relations and object constancy. So when they're feeling good about you or more accurately”, and here we go, “you are making them feel good about themselves, then they see you as special.” We're vibing. We got a good thing going on, I feel like we have a connection. Then you do something that they do not like, such as say no to a request. Or dare I make a request myself. I would love a mutually reciprocal conversation. Suddenly you are now all bad and worthless.
Now later you might do something that makes them feel good again. And they're back to seeing you as special. But when you say no to a request or when you make your own request, here's where the narcissist, their core, their core is shame. Because shame happens in our childhood, shame is a default mechanism. Unfortunately.
Unfortunately, this goes to our abandonment and our attachment issues. And I know this is a. silly example, but, if I'm six years old and I want a pony for my birthday and we live in an apartment. I'm six years old, I don't even know what that means to live in an apartment. I just want to pony.
And the whole world is all, I see things through my lens and I lack empathy. Again, I'm six. So I want a pony, so my parents don't have a pony in the kitchen on my birthday, they don't like me. It's not that we're in an apartment that we can't afford a pony. I don't know what that is, you know, but as if I'm six, I wanted a pony. You did not deliver the pony.
It can't be because of anything else. Because I don't even know what that means. Anything else? It means that something must be wrong with me. You don't care about me. And so shame, guilt, guilt says you did something bad. Shame says you are bad. So shame is where we default to, especially when we had an unhealthy childhood.
Or, we did not have a secure attachment in childhood, so then we were continually trying to seek this validation. We wanted external validation and if we didn't get it, it must be because something is wrong with us. We are damaged. We are bad. So when you go back into the scenario of saying no to the narcissist request or expressing your own, then they immediately default to criticism and shame. So therefore, if you are saying, hey, I would like something else in our relationship. Or if I disagree with you, then they immediately think I'm a bad husband and a bad father. Now I will lash out and defend my fragile ego, whole object relations. I will go whole object relations on you.
And in that scenario, you are now all bad. I am taking my ball and I'm leaving. That's it. We're done, game over. Now five minutes later, Mr. And Mrs. pathologically kind person comes back and says, hey, I'm sorry. Are we cool? Well now they're saying yeah, actually. Yeah, we're good.
And I call that the, do you want to go ride bikes? So the narcissist can have defended their fragile ego, through shutdown, through anger, through gaslighting, through, I mean, tirades, calling you the most horrific names, but then five minutes later, do you want to go ride bikes? Hey, what are we doing for dinner?
And literally he just called me, you know, think of your worst name that you'd never want to hear. So that can be so difficult because that emotional seesaw back and forth to somebody that does have empathy and does have concern, it can break your heart and it can break your will and it can break your spirit. It can put you in this defensive place where again, I'm being attacked. It's violent communication.
So, let me finish up with this email because I really, I hope you can see why I appreciate this email so much. Back to the dialogue. So the person, I believe it's Tim then says, “If he is internally formulating his request,” and he says, I'm hesitant to ask him if he'd be willing to tell me what he heard me say, fearing he'd be defensive and would eat up another five minutes about himself. But then here we go. Tim says, “Request. ‘So would you be willing to exchange emails now and then make an arrangement to talk by phone next week?’ And then Rob says, ‘Yeah, but I wish you weren't so sensitive about being heard. It's kind of needy, you know.’
Me. ‘Okay. I think I understand what you're saying and Rob and I hope we can discuss that more when we talk next week. Okay?’ Rob, ‘Uh, yeah, sure.’” And so then Tim goes on to say, before he makes the phone call, he would do a preparatory check-in with himself. “What's my motivation for connection, connecting with Rob? What would I like in the outcome? Empathy for Rob? What needs is he trying to meet in his behavior with me in dominating the conversation? But more importantly, empathy for myself. What needs am I hoping to meet in a relationship with Rob? Is that even realistic? Is it possible?” Because if Rob isn't interested or available, or I would then add in there or capable, and bless his heart, for that kind of a relationship, then I need to get those needs met elsewhere. I don't need to keep continuing to beat my head against the wall to say, can you love me now? Instead, because that will cause me to feel unloved or unlovable or broken or what's wrong with me. And I will go to my own shame cave.
Because here's the deal. Nothing is wrong with you. It is absolutely human and normal and okay to want a mutually reciprocal relationship where we both feel heard and understood and seen. And so that's why I feel like this concept of nonviolent communication, I hope it starts to resonate and it starts to make sense. And it's just yet another piece of a puzzle.
That ,yeah, you can take this tool and use it beautifully. Your son doesn't do his homework instead of me saying he's probably lazy. It's like, oh man, observation. And the judgment I'm going to put on there is going to now put him in a defensive stance. Hey champ, tell me more about what's going on with your homework.
And I can listen and I can be there and I can start to change the way I communicate with others. If someone is communicating with you and they're letting you know what they know about you as if they know you better. Violence, how dare they? . It's ridiculous. And that isn't something that you need to try to figure out a way to get them to understand that it's ridiculous, because if you are two adult human beings that have been in a relationship for quite a while now, then that may be the air that they breathe and it's because of their own experiences that they've had. So that's where again, I'm saying, oh, it gives me great empathy for that person, because I want people to wake up to their own narcissism and their own narcissistic traits and tendencies and their emotional immaturity.
Because let me just end by painting a picture that I understand doesn't even make sense for so many people, because I don't think many people, if any, had a really healthy relationship modeled in their childhood, just because our parents didn't know what they didn't know. So we're really slowly starting to change a dynamic, which is all the more important that we need to do what's best for ourselves, so we can show up better for our kids so we can continue to help change the dynamics or what it feels like to be in a relationship.
That it doesn't mean I have to continually try to figure out how we can get this person to want to know me and to want to be with me. I need to just be and do and be the best version of myself and that's okay. And the more I do that, if I watch my partner beside me, make judgements about it. Oh, you think you are, or I liked you better when. Then that is them trying to manage their own insecurities, their own anxiety. And that is emotionally stunting and it's emotionally unhealthy and it's emotionally abusive.
Because the things that we all don't know that we don't know, is that part of the maturation process of growing up and getting into relationships is an amazing opportunity to now recognize that even if we met and we were emotionally immature, that as we grow together and as we go through experiences together, and as we have kids together, and as we go through financial setbacks and losses, and celebrations, deaths, moves, and all of these changes, of course we're going to have different experiences. So instead of me trying to manage my partner's experience so that it will make me feel more in control, I need to start to learn how to sit with some discomfort. I need to learn how to live in a world that has some tension and not be so afraid it's going to grow to contention, because tension is where some real growth occurs. Now, if it's continually going to contention, you need to start making a plan to get out because that is going to cause you a tremendous amount of emotional abuse and damage.
And eventually your blood pressure is going to rise. You're gonna blow out your adrenal system. You're going to stop producing cortisol. You're going to get a flat affect. Your body is going to have a conversion disorder. Suddenly, you’re going to have back pain or you're going to have irritable bowel syndrome. Or you’re going to have Crohn's disease or, you know, all these things that your body's going to say, I don't know what else to do to get your attention, but every time you go back in there trying to make sense of this thing, that makes absolutely no sense, it makes you worse and your brain is saying, this is not the way to live. And I'm a brain, I want to live forever. So I would really rather you not do this.
If you need help, you're on the right path and it is a path of awakening and growth. And unfortunately it has a slow moving ship. I know it is. You go from, I don't know what I don't know. To now, I'm learning about things I can do, but unfortunately it's still gonna be really hard to do them and know that that is normal.
And that's a really tough place to be for a while, but know that you're in the right place. And then slowly. So you go from, I didn't know what I didn't know to now, I know, and I'm starting to understand more, but I'm still unable to do. To now, I know, I understand quite a bit more and I'm starting to do, and unfortunately, I'm going to get more pushback.
Because I'm now starting to change the dynamic of the relationship, which is going to cause my emotionally mature partner to have more anxiety, more stress. And they want to manage that by controlling you and your narrative to make them feel better about themselves. So that's a difficult place to be as well, but eventually you start to learn, oh my gosh, I am okay. I am lovable. I am of worth, I have unique gifts and talents and abilities. And the more I step into those, then either that person that I'm in the relationship with can then say, oh my gosh, this is amazing and incredible, or I need to just know that this is amazing and incredible. And if they don't want to participate anymore in the relationship, then that's not on me because I am now becoming the best version of me, which is going to help change the world. And it's going to help change the dynamic of what the future of my kids' lives will be in the relationships that they see.
And over time, what it feels like to be you is this incredible dynamic, interdependent differentiated person with a unique set of gifts and talents and skills. And all of a sudden, you radiate, you don't waste emotional calories trying to figure out how can I get this person to love me? You love yourself. And it is not from an arrogant standpoint. It is a healthy ego because you've done the work and that light will shine and it will lift others around you.
And if there are others that feel insecure because of that light shining, I wanted to say screw them, but then that didn't really play into the whole motivational speech there that I was saying. But in essence, that's kind of where I'm going. No, bless their heart because that's no longer your burden. Thanks for joining me today. If you like what you hear, feel free to pass this along to somebody that you think might be in need.
And if you're still listening, first of all, thank you. And if you do, I don't like making these pleas, I feel a little bit needy or that sort of thing, but the more that you do review the podcast wherever you listen to it, or the more that you rate it, it really does start to get into the algorithm, I guess, as the kids say, and with this one in particular, I love doing podcasts. I love when the Virtual Couch is growing and people share it.
But this Waking Up to Narcissism one is one that people are just finding because they start to Google things. And so I feel like I recognize even more so I think that algorithm is important because there are going to be people that are going to be down. And the first thing they're going to do is start searching.
And so they need to start finding tools and resources. So if you could rate and review and all those things, it will help get this podcast out into the algorithm and then we can help more people. Have a great week. And I will see you next time on Waking Up to Narcissism.
How do you know what you don’t know? Tony shares an example of what it feels like to speak to a group of people when you seek validation versus speaking because you care deeply about the topic you are presenting. Often we hear people talk about being authentic, but what does that look like in real life, and what additional benefits come when you live and operate from a place of authenticity? Tony also discusses what it means to stand in your “healthy ego” vs. “pathological defensive narcissism,” and finally, he discusses Marshall Rosenberg’s book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life from a summary by Pamela Hobart https://fourminutebooks.com/nonviolent-communication-summary/
If you are interested in being coached in Tony's upcoming "Magnetic Marriage Podcast," please email him for more information. You will receive free marriage coaching and remain anonymous when the episode airs.
Go to http://tonyoverbay.com/workshop to sign up for Tony's "Magnetize Your Marriage" virtual workshop. The cost is only $19, and you'll learn the top 3 things you can do NOW to create a Magnetic Marriage.
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Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript, click here https://descript.com?lmref=bSWcEQ
Hey, everybody. Welcome to episode 345 of “The Virtual Couch”. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. Certified mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, and creator The Path Back, an online pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from turning to the unhealthy coping mechanisms of pornography, go to pathbackrecovery.com and the rest you'll find out all the information you need there. It's an incredible program and I'm very excited about that.
And the “Magnetic Marriage” paid subscription podcast that is going to cost less than less than even a half of one session with me. And you're going to get access to a year's worth of these coaching calls. It is going to launch in the first week of December. So please go to tonyoverbay.com and go to my contact page. And reach out and say, I want to know when this launches or better yet sign up for my newsletter, go to tonyoverbay.com and just find the little place there that says “sign up” because it is good. It is really good. We're going to try to get some samples out soon. So you'll get a feel for what that is going to sound like, but I have a lot of episodes recorded and even a couple of second episodes with people, follow up episodes, and it's phenomenal. It really is phenomenal. And I really cannot wait until you get to see what it looks like to be couples therapy or couples coached.
So sign up and find out about that right now. Let's start. Story time. So I have changed some of the finer details and timeframes to protect the innocent and that alone sounds very dramatic because I simply want to tell a story that will show probably more of my own emotional immaturity, as much as anything else. And this starts with a speaking opportunity I had with a group of youth just this past Sunday.
And, okay, so quick side note. If you are listening to this episode the first week of November in real time, I think I'm recording this on November 1st and you happen to be single and over 30 and live in the Phoenix or Gilbert or Queen Creek area of Arizona. I'm going to be speaking this Sunday, November 6th at the Casa Grande's state center in Casa Grande, Arizona, and the topic of my talk is nothing less than the secrets of life. Now I joke, but honestly, I feel like I'm putting together a big old package of what we really didn't know that we didn't know about life and relationships and how we show up. And that is going to include bonus content of what to do with that information, once you have the information of what you didn't know that you didn't know, and then how to slowly but surely change your inner landscape or what it truly feels like to be you.
So if you're in the area, it is free and I would love for you to stick around and say, hi afterward. All right. So this gig, this past weekend, I did not know the youth. I had not presented at this particular church congregation. And typically I'm asked to speak and standing in my healthy ego, we're going to talk about that a little bit more and a bit, I'm almost exclusively asked to speak these days by people who listen to the podcast or who've taken a course of mine or who have read my book. So a couple of weeks ago, a fellow therapist said that this particular congregation was looking for a speaker. And they couldn't do it. So they asked if I could step in and my family was for the most part, all out of town. So I said, no problem. I would love to. So I was contacted by somebody in leadership for this congregation and the person was incredibly nice. And they asked me if I could give them a call.
So they could see if I would be a good fit. Now, emotionally immature response. I am taking ownership of this. Emotionally immature. Response number oh, uh, wondering if I'm a great fit, we'll I am a great fit. All right. And I will send you, let me individually send you 450 links to podcast episodes and interviews. And did I mention that we are talking in an airport right now as I wait to board my plane back home from speaking to an entire state full of marriage and family therapists.
But yeah, let's jump on the horn and see if I have what you're looking for. And I thought, oh my goodness. Okay. That was incredibly emotionally immature. Thank goodness I did not say those things, but I thought, where did that come from? And it was my ego, that is on me. If this guy does not know me, then he does not know me. How dare he ask me if I'm a good fit to talk to, the future people of the world, the youth who attend his congregation. Oh, the horror. Instead I texted back and I said, yeah, no problem. And we ended up talking in that airport that day and he was incredibly nice and caring and we had a really good chat and he had asked if I had any examples of some of the talks I've done with youth. And I literally the week before, just on a digital virtual fireside talk to an amazing group of youth in Ririe, Idaho of all places. And I had the video to prove it. So I uploaded it to my YouTube channel. And I sent him the link and thought, okay, we're done with it. He'll see that. And he'll say, okay, this guy's fine. But he texted a few days before the event and then asked if we could go over the content.
So here's where things get interesting. And what is really framed where we're going to go today. I still wanted to essentially tell him to Google me. Which is, how immature is that? So I noticed that thought and I did not express it. But he said that he would love for me to address the dangers of social media and how the youth need to curb the need for social media and that they're on their phones too much and could I make sure and let them know that, in not so many words.
And while I absolutely can see where he's coming from. And I agree with the message he is sharing with me. And the father in me thinks those things often, but that's not the message that I personally can deliver authentically. The, hey, how about you get off your phones and go outside? And because while I'm at it, I might as well tell them that it would be easier if they did what I asked them to do with their chores for the first time. And if they could not take food into their rooms for the thousandth time, and maybe I can even throw a bit of, hey and all your online friends aren't actually your age. They are men in their sixties in Velour sweatsuits, trying to lure you into their layer via two years of daily interactions playing call of duty with you.
But every, I feel like most, every youth under the age of 20 or 25 has grown up with an incredibly steady diet of being reminded that us older folks played outside and we didn't have phones. And I really don't know if I've ever met somebody under that age who has heard someone like me tell them that, and then have them say, man, you know what, tell me more about that old man, you know, I think I'm going to get rid of my phone. And I think I'm going to try to call my friends on a rotary phone. But what I can do is talk about how the brain is a don't get killed device. It is a comparison making machine. And how the need to fit in is so hardwired into us as a survival mechanism. So comparisons are natural.
But when we don't feel good about ourselves, we naturally want others to validate us. We want external validation. And we think that will happen through posts and likes. And I can ask the youth how they feel when they check their number of likes or posts. But if I'm being asked to tell kids to get off their phones, then oh, no, I won't be saying that.
But an interesting thing occurred. We traded some messages and I made myself available. He ended up having to go out of town and we didn't even have that conversation. But what that caused me to reflect on was, again, another experience just, it was a few years ago and I have been speaking to groups and youth groups and adults and training for literally about 25 years before I was a therapist. I spoke in the computer industry. And then before that I wrote a humor column in a newspaper. And so I would find myself in situations where I would speak often. And I thought about this and it was really fascinating to me.
That I would often say, okay, well, what would you like for me to say? What would you like for me to say to your crowd, your audience, your people. And I would be told what to say, and then I would do my best to say it. Now I am oversimplifying this, but I think you'll get the point because I would say what they wanted me to say. In essence, I was just the vessel, the delivery vessel.
And then I would want validation. I would say things like, oh, I hope that's what you wanted me to say. Or I hope that things came out the way you were hoping for. I hope that was okay. Did I do good? Or then I would find myself saying, man, not many of the people came up to me afterward and told me I did a good job. And then the ones that did say you did a good job. Well, what else were they supposed to say? They had to say that.
So there was no winning there because I was just repeating words that I wanted people to validate. And then if they validated me, I thought, well, of course they have to say that. And if they didn't validate me, I got to say, man, I must not have done well. And they must be really disappointed with me.
So, because at the core of that entire situation, is the fact that I was not speaking from a place of authenticity. From a place of real, like a passion or a connection. I was being told what to do and what to say by somebody else. Now, again, I'm not saying that that is one of the number one problems in society. No, I feel like that's what we do.
We do that until we don't do that, especially if we're in jobs that we don't necessarily feel connected to, or we don't feel confident in our marriages, we don't feel like we have tools or the opportunity to really speak what matters to us. Or it might be our church where we feel like, okay, if I express my opinion, that I'm going to be banned from the group. I'm going to be kicked out of the tribe. So if we're struggling with our faith or with any of these things, are we still just placing our happiness so often in the hands of others? Saying, well, what do you think about me or what I'm doing or what I just said?
And if the other person invalidates us, then over time, what it feels like to be us is we don't express ourselves, because we feel like I can't even believe I'm thinking that, nobody else is talking about this, or when people do talk about the things that I probably want to talk about, then other people say bad things about them. So when we're still coming from this place of just desperately needing that external validation, we are not going to feel connected or happy or authentic, or any of those things.
But when you're coming from a place of authenticity, when you are talking about the things that you know and that you care about, and you don't have to be an expert, but it's things that you care about. It's the things that line up with your values. It's the things that you've always been interested in because they are the things that you are interested in. And you are the only version of you that has ever walked the face of the earth. Your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions, all those things, are absolutely valid because they're your thoughts and feelings and emotions. So, when you are really living from this place of authenticity, or in alignment with all the things that matter, you are far less likely to be swayed by or to feel bad about other people's opinions.
I still have people say, oh, hey, I think something different. But when you're coming from a place of authenticity, really feeling like you're living your best life, then the answer to somebody saying I disagree is, oh, thank you. Tell me more about that. Not, oh yeah. Well, you don't know what you're talking about.
Earlier I had stated that I was going to stand in my healthy ego, so I really do. I jotted down a few notes. I think I want to go back and take a second and explain. Because I really feel like this concept cannot be shared enough. I say it so often that I assume that people know what I'm talking about, but here's what I mean when I'm talking about a healthy ego. So in the article, the truth about narcissistic personality disorder, we didn't know we were going down the narcissist path today, did we?
But in the article, “The Truth About Narcissistic Personality Disorder'' by Eleanor Greenberg from Psychology Today, she is addressing the question that I have been asked on several occasions and it's somewhere around the concept that a four time leading Virtual Couch guest, Jennifer Finlayson-Fife shared with me on one of her appearances where we were talking about narcissism and she said, “Well, you know, we're all a little bit narcissistic though. Aren't we?” And I remember at first I thought. She called me a narcissist. But are we? But I know, I know where she's coming from when she first shared that, I thought that that was pretty interesting. Then I went on my “Waking Up to Narcissism” podcast, I think it was 8, 9, 10 episodes in, to record an episode called Am I the Narcissist?
Where I shared, first of all, that, if you're asking yourself that, the answer is no. But I shared that the actual narcissistic personality disorder really only applies to somewhere around 2 to 3% of the population. But when we're talking about emotional immaturity, well, I think that we are all emotionally immature until we, I don't know until we become more emotionally mature and it's a process.
You are not aware of the things that you're unaware of. How often are we just wanting to control someone to manage our own anxiety? Or we want to feel like we are special, so that people need to do the things that we ask them to do. So, again, that's all coming from a place of emotional immaturity.
And the growth process from that takes awareness and takes being aware that that's even a thing. Am I being emotionally immature? Then it takes introspection. It takes self confrontation. And it takes being able and willing to self-sooth. Not to rely on others to manage your ego or manage your anxiety.
Or to continually validate you. So at the heart of a simple phrase, like, well, you know what I want you to do? As the assumption that you know, better than I do. And that I would do incredibly well to listen to you, to abide by what you are telling me to do all the while without the person first coming from a place of curiosity. First checking in and asking me about what my experience is. So in the earlier example, rather than starting with, hey, what are your thoughts about social media and what direction would you go with this topic? It was presented as, hey, here's what I need you to say.
And speaking to aren't, we all, a little narcissistic, Eleanor Greenberg shares the concepts of healthy and unhealthy narcissism. And because narcissism is an incredibly charged word, I made the decision in that episode, and have done so since, of replacing the word narcissism with the word ego. When talking about the healthy version.
So in this article, “The Truth About Narcissistic Personality Disorder”, Eleanor says “normal versus pathological narcissism”. She says, “unfortunately, in the English language, the word narcissism has come to mean two entirely different things. Depending on whether it's being used formally as a diagnosis, as in narcissistic personality disorder.
Or informally as a synonym for positive self regard”. So often, do we hear it used as a synonym for positive self regard? I don't even know if that would be possible in this day and age with the way that the word narcissism is thrown around. And that is coming from a person who hosts a podcast, literally called waking up to narcissism.
So she said, “I am often asked, isn't a little bit of narcissism healthy and normal?” And so Eleanor says, “I would like to clarify that distinction.” So normal, healthy narcissism, and I am now taking ownership of Eleanor's words. They're wonderful. What you're about to hear, but I'm going to say normal, healthy ego.
So she says, “this is a realistic sense of positive self regard that is based on the person's actual accomplishments. It is relatively stable because the person has assimilated into their self image. The successes that came as a result of their actual hard work to overcome real life obstacles. Because it is based on real achievements, normal, healthy ego is relatively impervious to the minor slights and setbacks that we all experience as we go through life. Normal ego causes us to care about ourselves. Do things that are in our real self-interest and is associated with genuine self-respect. One can think of it as something that is inside of us.”
When you find those things that make you tick, those things that you are passionate about, now you can start to step into that healthy ego because it is going to be relatively stable because. This is because it's been assimilated into your self image by the successes that came as a result of your actual hard work.
So the more that I learn about mental health, the more that I talk about helping somebody navigate a faith journey, using the stages of faith. The more I use my four pillars to connect a couple and help them be able to communicate like they've never communicated before. And the more that I learn as the brain is a don't get killed device. And the reason that anxiety is there and how we all fear this abandonment, we have these attachment issues and these things that I just feel such a passion about. Then I'm going to stand in my healthy ego and I'm going to answer questions based on the things that I know, because I have gathered those things as a result of my actual hard work to overcome real life obstacles. Because those things are based on real achievements, my normal, healthy ego is relatively, not completely impervious, but relatively impervious to the slights and setbacks that we all experience as we go through life.
So, a normal healthy ego causes us to care about ourselves and do things that are in our real self-interest. Not being self-centered, but in our real self-interest and is associated with self-respect. So one can think of it as something that is inside of us. So when I say that I am standing in a place of my healthy ego, it is that I'm about to communicate something that I feel confident about and that I feel passionate about.
Now I have come to learn the things that I have learned from things that I did not know. So one of the most amazing things I feel like when you really find you are working in a place of alignment with the things that matter to you is of course you don't have the full story. Of course you don't know everything that you don't know. So that gets exciting. So here's what I know now.
And I'm going to continue to explore. When I go back two or three years ago, I wasn't talking about differentiation. I was talking about my four pillars. But I wasn't talking about differentiation. I didn't have my big abandonment and attachment speech all down. I didn't really understand the concepts of external validation and boy coming up over the next two, three months, I've been learning more about just being able to hold this frame, this presence, to an unhealthy radiance. And I'll talk more about that in the coming episodes. But so that is a normal, healthy ego. Now let's talk about what Eleanor says is pathological defensive narcissism. So maybe we could call it, I've never actually done this, but pathological defensive ego, because again, the narcissism word is so triggering.
But she says, this is a defense against feelings of inferiority. This is why when you see somebody that is just throwing a fit, an adult tantrum, or they need control over everybody around them. That is a defense against feelings of inferiority. The person dawns a mask of arrogant superiority in an attempt to convince the world that he or she is special. Inside, the person feels very insecure about their actual self-worth.
And this facade of superiority is so thin that it's like a helium balloon. One small pinprick will deflate it. So this makes that person hyper sensitive to minor slights that somebody with a healthy ego would not even notice. Instead, somebody with this type of defensive ego or defensive narcissism is easily wounded.
I think the kids call it butt-hurt these days. Or probably a decade ago. But they frequently take any form of disagreement as a serious criticism. And then they are likely to lash out and devalue anybody who they think is disagreeing with them. They're constantly on guard trying to protect their status. So pathological narcissism or pathological defensive ego can be thought of as a protective armor that is on the outside of us.
Protecting people from really seeing inside and seeing who we are. When I was living my life in that computer industry, I absolutely was working out of a defensive, pathological, ego where I needed people to think that I was special because I felt so insecure. Because I was in this job that I did not feel a connection with. Yet, I was on the hook to provide a living for my family. And at that point it was my ever-growing family and trying to buy a house and living in California and my wife wanting to be a stay-at-home mom.
So I needed people to think that I was something special because my fear was that if they saw inside of me, then everything would crumble. Everything would fall apart. And then I would be a failure. But little did I know that I didn't even understand what a healthy ego could look like when one truly finds the things that matter to them.
And you find the things that matter to you, because again, you're the only version of you. So things are going to matter to you that may not matter to other people. So, why do I bring that up? Let me talk a little bit more about my days working in the computer software industry.
So I was in that industry for over 10 years and I did okay. I mean as a career, financially, that sort of thing. I spoke at conferences. I gave a lot of presentations. I spoke in Europe and Japan and Russia and China. And many places where I talked about the technology that we were selling. But honestly, I didn't know what I didn't know about speaking from a place of authenticity. So I learned about my product. We did device drivers. And if you're not familiar with device drivers, they are not exciting at all. So I had to be excited to talk about code that helped move data. Data on CD's, data across hard drives. And then we branched out a bit from there, but I was basically memorizing our feature set.
I was learning the selling points. And then if I was asked detailed questions, I would have a programmer with me, and then he would either baffle the crowd with insanely low level programming talk or worst case, we would just say that we couldn't answer that question because that would be sharing proprietary information.
So in essence, we had an out. So I was absolutely operating from a place by definition of pathological defensive narcissism or defensive ego. I wanted people to think that I knew what I was talking about. And I absolutely was insecure about people thinking that I didn't know what I was talking about, which is so fascinating now, as I speak from the heart, I share what I'm passionate about, which gets me less in the mindset of, well, what do you think about what I said or how did I do? And you can see how it's borderline me sounding like a jerk is I think one of the biggest worries when you start acting in alignment with your values or your true sense of self. Or you find these passions. That then you, when you speak confidently, there's always that fear of, oh, am I being prideful? But if you are letting your light so shine, so that others around you will be lifted, then I feel like that is truly stepping into who you really are as a person. And maybe what your purpose is here upon the earth to, to spread light and knowledge, the things that you know, and truly understand, and not from a place of, so that people will like me, but from a place of, oh my gosh, this I am so grateful to know the things that I know, and I want to share those things. And then if people have a different opinion, then I can say, tell me more about that. We're differentiated. I want to hear more because obviously I don't know what I don't know. And what a chance to grow, but if I'm coming from a place of pathological defensive ego or defensive narcissism, then I'm going to lash back out and try to attack you about the things that you don't know, what you're talking about.
Because I'm so afraid that you will see through me and see that I'm not being my authentic self.
So again, this little side note here is that I didn't even realize again, that when you find your passion or when you find things you're truly interested in, you are more curious about those things. So then you live in a way where you read more about the things you care about. You talk more about them, you find yourself around more people who also care about those things that you care about.
And here then is the interesting bonus. Just standing in your healthy ego. That as you lean into the things that you actually do care about, the things that matter to you, I personally have found it far easier to acknowledge the things that I don't know. It seems so much easier when you have a healthier ego or a sense of self to simply say, oh, I don't know.
I brought on a social media team and I'm so excited about them and it's so easy to say, oh, I don't have a clue how any of that works. I even went back two or three years ago, and I thought, oh, I know what I want to do with my social media presence. While that really hasn't worked, has it? So in that scenario, I don't know what I don't know. So at times they'll say, well, are you okay if we do this? Or what do you think about this? And I say, oh, I have no idea.
But I know that that's what you guys do, and I know that that's what you know, and I'm excited. I'm excited about that. Being able to step into the things that you really care about and are acting in more alignment with really the, your passions have allowed me to give up on a lot of things that I used to pretend that I thought I needed to know. At one point I went to a quick book seminar because I thought, well, I better know how to do QuickBooks, but I made it through a few hours and then I was starting to nod off and I left and I think I called my wife and we ended up having a fantastic weekend because it was it was in a whole different city that was within driving distance of where we live. But, oh, I know nothing about that, but why should I, that's not something that is a passion of mine. And I'm grateful that there are people that like numbers and math and all of those kinds of things. So then that is not something that I feel is in alignment with my values or something that really speaks to me.
As well as I went on forever trying to do my own website on the various plug and play, build your own websites. But I don't know that stuff either. Not a big fan. So the more that you find the things that really matter to you, the easier it is to let go of that idea that you need to know everything, because that knowing everything is coming from a place, that I feel, of pathological defensive ego, where if people think that I don't know things, then they might not think I'm cool and they might not like me. And they might boot me out of the tribe and I'm going to be devoured by a saber tooth tiger and die.
So I have found myself, far far more often saying, oh, I don't know. Because I know the things that I do know. So let me give you a quick example. And pay attention to how often people around you are saying, well, you know what I think, I think that this person really does know, I think they know what they're doing and I think they just don't want to admit it. To which I used to say a lot of things like, yeah or maybe they're just forgetting, or maybe they think this, or maybe they think that, because I want the person I'm talking to to value my opinion.
But now, because I absolutely feel confident about the things that I do know, it is far easier to simply reply to the person and say, oh, yeah. I don't know. We'll probably have to ask that person. Let me give you a hypothetical example. This one came to mind. We're doing a little bit of traveling again, going to Arizona to speak over the weekend. So let's say that my wife asked me, oh, do you think that we'll be able to make the connecting flight in Vegas? The time between flights is only 55 minutes and I don't know how far away the next gate is. So I feel like in the past, I would definitely want to manage her anxiety. I would want to reassure her and I might say things like, yeah, I'm sure they wouldn't let us book a connecting flight if it was going to be that close, or I might say, yeah, that's not something you really need to worry about right now.
Or I might say, you know, we can change the second flight, if that will make you happy. And although that may be true, is she looking for me to fix it or does she simply want validation? Is she needing me to help manage her anxiety? So remember when we don't often feel good about anything and I'm talking about ourselves, or a situation like this one about whether or not we'll be able to make a connecting flight, that causes us to have anxiety. Anxiety comes from uncertainty. And if we aren't operating from a place of a healthier ego, then we are most likely looking for someone else to make us feel better or to manage our anxiety. We're looking for that external validation.
But we aren't exactly sure what it will take for us to feel better. So there is a good chance, actually, an almost certain chance that whatever I say in that scenario about the flights is not going to be exactly the right thing. And then again, in this situation, my wife will most likely then feel like I just don't understand her.
Because she may not be wanting me to fix it. She just wants for me to hear her, to validate her, to say, man, that sounds hard. Or if I don't hear, she might even go to the place of, you know, he must not care about me. So, coming from a healthy ego and feeling more authentic in life allows us to show up differently in those situations, it allows our partners to start operating more from a place of trust because we feel more confident in the things that we do feel confident in.
Because now we're doing things that we care about, that we feel connected to. So in those areas, we're going to speak from a place of confidence and healthy ego, not requiring or relying on external validation. So when you come to the table, feeling more confident and connected because you feel like you are living in alignment with your values and what matters to you, then you speak with authority and confidence of the things that you know and you believe, and therefore, of course, you say, I don't know, do the things that I'm not certain of or that I'm not connected to. And that doesn't make me less than, that doesn't mean that my wife is going to think that I am less than, as a matter of fact, it's quite the opposite.
I've had people literally say in my office that man, no I literally find it attractive if he says, yeah, I'm not really sure about that. But we can discover that together or let's find somebody who does know. Rather than the guy saying, don't worry about it. Right. Or you shouldn't worry about that or, well, I'm sure that this is the answer because that does not give us a sense of safety or certainty in our relationships.
It's the opposite. So I may frame the conversation differently, like in this scenario about the airport, I may say, you know, I really don't know how that works with gate changes or time between flights. But I wonder if there's a system that keeps track of that and hopes that people won't miss their flights or, let's Google that together. I don't know. I'll ask Siri a question.
And now we're having a conversation based on curiosity. Off of, oh yeah, I don't know the things that I don't know, but I'm here with you. Let's go through this together. If there was something that I do know, you can be certain I'll share it. Oh, I know this thing. But on the flip side. Yeah, I don't know what I don't know because how could I? Because in that world of emotional immaturity or unhealthy ego, you hear a lot of things like, I'm sure the doctor's just going to tell me it's not a big deal. Okay. How do you? Or you find from a place of emotional immaturity, a conversation I heard recently where someone said, yeah you know, my spouse says that they're not going to go into the doctor because they know more than 90% of all doctors do. Says the person who's never been in medical school or never practiced medicine. Or here's one I hear, you're just going to tell me to start up a mindfulness practice, says the person who has never regularly meditated to the person, me in this scenario, who also spent an entire life well into my forties, also never meditating, until I did. And then I didn't again, and then I did regularly and many, many years later now I just can't believe that I didn't know what I didn't know. I didn't know what that could feel like to have a built-in pause to allow you to then tap into that prefrontal cortex, those frontal lobes and access my tools instead of just sitting around in a fight or flight response all the time. And that has been because of a mindfulness practice. I didn't know what I didn't know. And so now when people are letting me know the reasons why that won't work they tell me that as they haven't tried that over a sustained period of time. Then that can be difficult because I know that they can feel like I am not hearing them. Yeah, no, I don't think that will work. I don't think that will work, says the person who hasn't tried it regularly to the person who did, and it has changed their life.
Let me change gears just a tiny bit. And I think that this will actually resonate or make more sense. It's along these lines because it goes along with needing somebody else to manage your anxiety or telling someone else what to do or how they're supposed to think or feel. Quite a while ago, I had someone reach out to me and they had asked me if I would take a look at a gentleman named Marshall Rosenberg's work around what's called nonviolent communication.
And I remember just not really understanding the term nonviolent communication. And just in that context, that just seemed like those words didn't necessarily go together. Because I think of violence as physical violence, that sort of thing. And I want to turn to a site called four minute books. And this is a summary of Marshall Rosenberg's book about nonviolent communication by Pamela Hobart.
So I, but I really feel like this is a really fascinating concept. And before I even read this, I also saw someone had shared with me and I thought this was just really, really interesting. They shared a quote and this is from a book called, The Yamas and Niyamas, which is about exploring the ethical practices of yoga, which is a really interesting principle or concept. If you really look into it.
And they had shared a page of a book that I thought was so well said, and this is around why I wanted to go down this path of nonviolent communication. In this chapter of this book, it says, “thinking that we know what is better for others becomes a subtle way we do violence. When we take it upon ourselves to ‘help the other’ we whittle away their sense of autonomy. Nonviolence asks us to trust the other's ability to find the answer that they are seeking. And asks us to have faith in the other, not feel sorry for them. Nonviolence asks us to trust the other's journey. And love and support others to their highest image of themselves. Not our highest image of them. It asks that we stop managing ourselves, our experience, others, and other’s experiences of us. Leave the other person free of our needs, free to be themselves, and free to see us as they choose.” So they go on to say, “the violence we do to others by thinking we know what is best for them is dramatically illustrated and they tell a story.”
But nonviolent communication, and the reason I hope you can see why I think this fits, is maybe a nice way to end today's episode is the way to find that true sense of passion, sense of self to be able to actually act in alignment with the values that are important to you. And they're important to you because of all of the tiny little things that you've been through your entire life. The nature, the nurture, the birth order, the DNA, the abandonment, the rejection, the hopes, the dreams, the loss, the growth, the people that have moved, the people that have passed. All of those things that make you who you are, are the things that also guide your values. So when someone else is telling us what they think that we need to do, thinking that they know what is better for us.
I can understand or appreciate this concept of nonviolent communication because it is not allowing the trust, the other person's journey, love and support. It is supporting them and helping them view themselves as the highest image of themselves, not our highest image of them. In the world of parenting, I know it's a balance because we are the ones that are guiding our kids when they're young, but as they start to mature and grow and start to become them, then doesn't that phrase just fit so well. Nonviolent communication means allowing us to trust our children’s journey, and love and support them to their highest image of themselves, not our highest image of them. When we're trying to manage our highest images of them, I feel like what we're doing is we want them to manage our anxiety.
We are worried that we won't be viewed as a good parent. We're worried that someone will think that we didn't do our job, or we didn't do enough if our kid isn't living the life that we think that they should live. But in reality, we need to help them find the highest image of themselves. And so we need to stop managing our experience of others and let them start to figure out what matters to them. The sooner that we can help our kids do that and the sooner you do that, I promise you the better place that you're going to be operating from. And you are going to be able to do more good for yourself, for your family, for the world, not to sound overly dramatic but when you find what really matters and you act in alignment with the things that matter to you, you are going to be speaking from this place of healthy ego. And it is relatively impervious to the slights and setbacks that we all go through on a day-to-day basis. So I'm going to blast through this four minute books on nonviolent communication, and maybe we can tackle this in a completely separate episode.
So, Pamela Hobart. She's the one that wrote this summary. So she says, “Free speech advocates commonly argue that speech is the opposite of violence. Words can offend us, but they don't actually do harm. So from this point of view, nonviolent communication is practically an oxymoron.” Exactly what I was feeling. So thank you, Pamela.
But then she goes on to say “Communications expert Marshall Rosenberg, begs to differ. According to Marshall, most people's default manner of speaking to others is highly violent. Because he says that is if you consider violence to include attempts at cutting others down to size and coercing them into doing what we want. So that that would fit more in that concept of violence. So whether or not most ordinary speakers are constantly committing literal acts of violence or not, most of us can see the potential benefit in learning to communicate more effectively. Nonviolent Communication, A Language of Life provides one provocative lens per seeing what's morally and pragmatically wrong with many of the things we tend to say in our everyday lives. Nonviolent communication also helps us to figure out what we can say instead.” So Pamela says, here are the three lessons that she's learned from the book, Nonviolent Communications, A Language of Life.
Number one is, “separating observation from judgment is the first step toward reducing needless conflict.” The second thing she says is “connecting actions and requests to people's specific needs points the way towards solutions to any problems.” And number three, she says “you can use nonviolent communication to improve how you talk with yourself too.”
She talks about these nonviolent communication touch points. Lesson one, and I think this one is so, so good. “Keep your observations and your judgments separate in order to keep others from feeling defensive.” She said, “often our brains leap to label somebody, ‘that student is lazy. My husband is careless,’ and so often our mouths rush to speak judgment too,” but she says, “does it really work to go around judging people? How do they tend to respond when you judge them? How do you respond when other people judge you? A person who's feeling judged typically goes on the defensive or just shuts down.” Again, I feel like that's the psychological reactance or that instant negative reaction of being told what to do, being judged. She said, “judging someone is about the worst thing you can do i f what you want is for them to listen to you or admittedly, if you would like to change something about their behavior.”
So I think I could kind of step away and take exception with me wanting to change something about their behavior, but, She makes a good point here. So, Rosenberg suggests a foundational habit for nonviolent communication that we learned to separate observations about what happened from our judgments about them and observation is objective, it's concrete and neutral.
Instead of a lazy student, learn to think that student did not complete their homework. Instead of a careless husband, think he left toothpaste in the sink. Because if you can start from a place of, he didn't complete his homework or he left toothpaste in the sink and we removed the judgment statement. Now we're going to go in there with curiosity. Perhaps he received a dollar every time he left his toothpaste in the sink as a kid. Because his dad worked for Colgate and the more toothpaste they could buy the more his yearly bonus would be. Oh, that was good. Made that one up on the spot. But instead, if we just say, we love this toothpaste in the sink, he must not care about me. He thinks that I'm the toothpaste cleaner.
So in order to separate judgment from what an observation is, then we can get to the conversation. So, she said, “straightforward observations leave much more space for potentially understanding the reasons why people did what they did, rather than making a lot of assumptions. Others' actions might provide a stimulus for us feeling the way we do, but they don't literally cause our emotions. We must distinguish between our own stuff and what happened in the world.” I had a couple recently where someone said, well you’re the one that makes me do this. That old chestnut. But in the world of nonviolent communication, if the person is staring at their phone, if they just say, okay I'm noticing that you're looking at your phone while we're talking.
That is a statement. That's an observation. But if they say you obviously don't care about me because you're staring at your phone, that's a judgment and that's going to put somebody on the defensive. So lesson two in this book, connecting actions and requests to people's specific needs can diffuse tension and point toward possible resolution.
She says, “Why are we so judgmental if it's not usually productive?” Rosenberg explains that analyses of others are actually expressions of our own needs and values. In other words, when a teacher labels a student lazy, perhaps she's stressed because she doesn't know how to motivate them. Or the wife of that careless husband values neatness much more than he does, but she doesn't see a way to resolve their preferences. So this is why I thought this would be a perfect cap to this episode where I was talking about managing someone else's anxiety. So if we aren't even looking at things as observations, if we're making judgments about them. Then when we make a judgment, we're typically judging that this is about me. That they must not care or the student isn't listening. So that must mean I'm a bad teacher or my husband must not care about me because he obviously leaves his toothpaste in the sink and he should know that I care that I really want everything neat and orderly. So, she said, “people's needs are more alike than different. We have physical needs as well as needs for autonomy, positive, emotional experiences, positive social experiences, spiritual experiences of some kind and the need to play. So the teacher who judges her student, maybe trying to fulfill her need to feel competent at her job. The wife who leaps to judgment of her husband needs to feel comfortable in her own home. So understanding others' frustrating behaviors as manifestations of their genuine needs helps the humanized conflict.” It goes back to my pillar one of my four pillars. Assuming good intentions or there's a reason why someone shows up or does the things they do.
She goes on to say, “people mostly aren't just wandering around trying to cause problems,” validation galore for my four pillars. “They're trying to take care of themselves and they deserve empathy. So if you first find a way to show others that you truly understand their needs, you're likely to receive a respectful response to your request of them whether it's exactly what you wanted or not.” And then lesson three from this book, “using non-violent communication on yourself can alleviate feelings of regret and anxiety. Since all people have needs and deserve empathy, that includes your past and current selves too. So perhaps you're harboring painful, longstanding regrets about something you did a long time ago. Can you find a way to empathize with who you were back then. Which needs were little you trying to get met, however, mistakenly. How were you trying to fulfill the things that mattered to you at that time when you made maybe it was a regrettable decision. Or maybe you're facing a difficult decision right now. And by setting aside what you think you ‘should do’ and focusing on the needs of people involved. You'll enable a comfortable resolution. So nonviolent communication even provides a better way of giving compliments after all even positive judgements are still judgments. And they remind people that you're critiquing them instead of just giving a conventional compliment, try explaining to somebody how something specific they did met one of your needs.”
I really appreciate you cleaning up the house because it really helped me come home and feel more calm in my home. So that was all about me and thanking them for what they do. These kinds of compliments are much clearer and more meaningful than hey, you finally cleaned up. I mean that one has judgment written all over it.
So she said, “a review and some of the ways of speaking endorsed and nonviolent communication,” she said,” do sound a little bit stilted.” But she said, “as she read it, she had a hard time imagining herself saying some of the things. However, the nonviolent communications core lesson seemed sound. It's really about people judging less and then being able to understand people's needs more.”
And given how many problems in life come from communication breakdowns. I really do feel like this is something that really resonates to me, or it really does fit. So I would highly recommend the book Nonviolent Communication, A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg. So in summary today boy, how important is it to really try to find what really matters to you so that you can act in alignment with your core values and some of the bonuses that come from that is, you really do know what you know. And people are going to start to be able to trust you more because when you are saying, I know this thing, it's coming from a healthy ego. It's coming from something that you actually do know, and you care about and matters to you. And then when you say I'm not sure, rather than them feeling like, oh my gosh, you must not care about me.
Then they know that you are just acting in alignment. And I feel like that is a calm, confident, energetic person. And those are the type of people that I really feel like we tend to be drawn to. Because it's a wonderful example of how to live your life. You're still going to have the ups and downs of regular day-to-day life. But when you are acting in alignment with your values and living in a way that feels authentic to you, then you are less needy and less in need of somebody to self-soothe you or to validate you. And we're so afraid of, I think at times, is that if I, then all of a sudden give up this control over somebody else to manage my anxiety, that things will be worse.
But this is part of that, we don't know what we don't know. Imagine a world where you're showing up in your relationship as confident. And it doesn't mean that your partner is going to leave you. It means, oh my gosh, of course we want to enjoy life together because we're both two autonomous amazing, wonderful people that have really found out who we are. And now we can go through life together with two completely different experiences. And the one plus one is three and what an amazing way to live. And I don't need my partner to manage my anxiety. And that is going to look so much different in your relationship. And it is going to cause a connection. The likes of which we really have never known. Because we didn't know what that looked like. All right. If you have comments, questions, feedback on this episode, feel free to send it to me through email@example.com and as always I appreciate the support and I will see you next time on “The Virtual Couch”. Taking us away, the wonderful, the talented, the now on TikTok, Aurora Florence with her song, “It's wonderful”.