Re: Consensus and conflict
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2021 13:58:57 -0800 (PST)
> On Jan 7, 2021, at 9:07 PM, Melanie G <gomelaniego [at]> wrote:

> They are not premeditated.  No one walks into a room
> thinking, "I will throw a chair if this person does...."

This is important. If the action is calculated then it isn’t an expression of 
feeling or a release of tension — it is premeditated bullying or manipulative 

A story:  When my son was about 11, I went to a wrestling match with him. After 
one of his school’s matches, the two boys who had lost exited quickly to the 
left, and the coach went stomping off on the right shaking his fists and 
silently yelling. He was clearly angry. 

I said to my son, “That isn’t right. He should be encouraging the boys and 
reassuring them that with more practice they will win more matches. Being angry 
with them is not very helpful.”

My son said, “Oh, no. He doesn’t get angry with us. He knows we are doing the 
best we can. He’s just angry because he still wanted to win. It’s not at 
anyone. It’s just him.”

I was impressed with my son for understanding and for the coach for explaining. 

I think it is very hard for people to allow others to have their own feelings 
without judging them. Later you might try to figure out ways to head it off at 
the pass or analyze the exact trigger, but that isn’t the same as allowing 
people to have and express emotions.

> Also, NVC definitely has a shadow side.  And it can definitely be received
> as emotional abuse.  It's a tool, and doesn't necessarily work the same way
> for everyone who uses it.  Don't get me wrong, I do think there are
> principles of NVC that are key for more effective human interaction.  But
> it's not the solution in many cases.

The International NVC organization was one of the early adopters of sociocracy 
and many trainers had training in it. The tendency was to equate NVC and 
Sociocracy, as if they were the same thing. This is revealing in terms of what 
NVC people think NVC is. It is a technique for sorting out feelings and 
figuring out a way to resolve them productively. 

Sociocracy is a governance system. It is a method for organizing large and 
small groups so they can achieve their purposes. To accomplish what they have 
come together to do. It includes the kind of analysis that the NVC technique 
teaches, but it also includes methods for organizing work, making group 
decisions, establishing financial plans, etc.

NVC is very good but it isn’t good for everything. And some people try to use 
it that way. When a person disagrees about an accounting system the group is 
using, an NVC session examining feelings isn’t appropriate. It treats a 
professional judgement like something that needs therapy. 

And everything can be used well or badly. Some people have used Sociocracy 
totally wrong and turned out the same best result. They knew where they were 
supposed to end up, so they got there even though they forgot some things in 
the middle.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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