Getting needs met!
From: Gary Kent (
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 15:25:04 -0600 (MDT)
From: Stacia Leech, Roberts Creek Cohousing, B.C. Canada.

Trina Rotskoff wrote:

<They are an opportunity to help the speaker get his or her needs met.
Even if an "outburst" is directed toward me, if I am listening for the needs
I don't hear an "attack."  I see a gift, an opportunity to connect with the
speaker and help them get their needs met.  When that need can be
brought out, it can be added to the list of needs that we intend the
solution to meet.>

I'm also finding this 'outbursts' thread interesting.  I wondering where
people see the issue of personal responsibility regarding getting ones needs
met and outbursts?

We had a discussion about the concept of 'helping people get their needs
met' at our last consensus training workshop.  At a point in the discussion
the facilitator brought us back to the intention of our cohousing group.
She asked:
"What does the group exist to do? What is the "intent" of the group?
We answered:
'To Create a neighbourhood. To work collaboratively on a set of shared
issues relating to housing.'
It became clear that we do not exist and it is not our intent to meet the
emotional needs of individual group members.

In my experience with groups, outbursts are often/usually in response to
some old, deep (unconscious) wounding or negative core belief that has been
triggered by something or someone in the group.  This is one of the reasons
why some therapy is done in groups, sooner or later someone's core issues
will be triggered and come bubbling up to the surface to be dealt with (or

And, in my experience when someone blurts out "I'm sick and tired of the way
you are always defending that *&^%$#"  they are expressing an emotional

The 'need' may be two or three years of depth psychotherapy!

I realise that this is a complex issue and that Non Violent Communication is
probably talking about meeting the persons need in the immediate moment. And
that for our species to thrive and not just survive some shift is necessary.
Still I have some concern about the imbalance of care givers and care takers
and my belief is that the shift will have to include more personal
responsibility in all aspects of life including meeting our own emotional

Also in my experience the consensus process requires a fairly high level of
self awareness in order for it to be truly of benefit to the group, people
who would be willing to ask - what can I do for the group - not - what can
the group do for me?

We may believe that we are behaving in a way that benefits the group
when we have an outburst, ("the others just sit there and say nothing,
thank goodness I'm the one who always speaks out" kind of thinking).
However, as Rob says, Cohousing groups attract the occasional
dysfunctional person and if I thought that as a member of the group I would
be responsible for meeting that persons needs I'd be outta there tomorrow.

It's taken me many painful (sometimes joyful) hours (years) of hard work to
begin to look with honesty at my own issues and negative core beliefs.  I'm
hoping that we can all at least pause for thought before we 'outburst'.

Stacia Leech
Roberts Creek Cohousing, British Columbia.

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