Nonviolent Communicator 2.0

I tend to read a lot of rubbish. I’m a bit of a sucker for self improvement and pop psychology books. I am also living walking talking proof as to why they don’t really achieve anything beyond an initial five minute blast of motivation, before you sneak off into the bathroom to eat cake on the toilet so that you don’t have to share it with your three year-old daughter.

I have however, just been reading one about nonviolent communication. What I have realised, is that I might actually be a little bit of a violent communicator myself in certain communicative situations.

I’ve always had myself down as being a fairly placid kind of a guy. I don’t get into fights, I don’t push anybody around, i don’t threaten violence – except towards the National Lottery when they send me an email to let me know I’ve won on the Euro Millions, and then make me log in to tell me it’s £2.48 – I want to bring a whole world of pain to those bozos!

But what I have come to realise, is that verbally, from time to time, when tensions are high, under certain circumstances, especially in the marital arena, I might sometimes express myself in just a slightly aggressive manner. The book suggests that perhaps my relationship with my wife might be improved by implementing some nonviolent communication techniques.

It’s the middle of May, it’s twenty odd degrees outside, and I realise that my wife has sneaked the bloody central heating on.

My normal reaction to this would be one of “Are you fucking kidding me? Have you put the heating on? It’s May for God’s sake. What is wrong with you? I’m sweating my bollocks off here!”

To which my wife will likely reply something like “I’m cold. I feel the cold more than you. I live here as well you know.”

“Don’t I bloody know it” I’ll say.

And then we will both fight to the death – verbally of course. Neither of us will raise a finger to the other, but we will kind of hope that maybe if we really scrunch our face up and concentrate hard enough in the direction of the other, maybe they might just burst into flames.

A few more comments and digs might be made, before she will go off into one room to watch Netflix, and I will head off into another to watch the football. The heating will of course remain on, but I’ll open all the windows, and we will ultimately leak both heat and money into the world, whilst also killing a snow leopard or two.

But it seems that this is all wrong. We haven’t been communicating in “a nonviolent way” according to the book.

Here’s what I apparently need to do.

1. I need to take stock of my observations.

2. Then I need to acknowledge my feelings, which might be tricky as my wife says I don’t have any.

3. I then need to realise what I need to happen for me to deal with these feelings.

4. I then apparently need to communicate all of this to my wife with a request that can be addressed right now.

For example…

The sun is cracking the flags outside, I suddenly realise I’m way to hot and stuffy in the house, and then I notice that the fucking radiator is on! Ok, take a deep breath Chris, let’s do this…

The book says that I should say something like – “Excuse me darling wife, I have observed that it is hot outside and you have put the central heating on.” – Observation made.

“This makes me feel hot and uncomfortable and angry.” – Feelings identified.

“This goes against my need not to feel hot and uncomfortable and angry.” – needs stated.

“Might you have 2 minutes to sit down and discuss these needs with me?” – Request made.

It then says that my wife will then respond with something along the lines of – “Yes of course, I can satisfy this request.”

I should then say “Thank you for listening to my feelings and agreeing to my request to discuss them.”

To which she will say – “You are most welcome, tell me more about these feelings.”

To which I will then say – “Accessing databases, file not found.”

To which she will obviously reply – “Does not compute. Please state feelings.”

To which I will then say – “Unable to process request. Please re-try in a few moments.”

To which she will respond – “Moments not recognised, please specify an integer value.”

To which I will say – “An error of type 2142 has occurred.”

And then we will both have dirty robot sex in the hallway. I will pin my new robot wife up against the wall, in a nonviolent way of course, and I will slowly reach my hand up her back towards the clasp on her bra strap, and with the subtlest of flicks between my thumb and middle finger, imperceptible to her, I’ll just roll that dial down on the thermostat behind her.

This might just work!

Maybe finally I might have found that book that could just change my life… Introducing Chris McCausland – Nonviolent Communicator 2.0. Initialising, please wait…

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