Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

OFNR

If y'all are bored with my conversation with Jose, please let me know, and I'll stop re-posting stuff over here. Meanwhile, while he's thinking about my last post (and perhaps trolling the internet for information to refute the study I cited), I brought up NVC:

"As an aside, while you catch up with your deadlines or whatever you’re doing, I decided to go back to something you said in the comment dated 1/10/09:"

Let me say Seda that when I first read your comments you sounded like a man trying to sound feminine. The comments sounded affected. All that schmaltz didn't sound real to me. It was as if you thought women were immersed in fuzzy-feely expressions and therefore you had to express yourself that way. You were forever reveling in your feelings and even now you are immersed in your sadness which is probably more related to feigning offense because I do not accept your illusion of what you are. Like so many men who imagine themselves women it sounded like a caricature of femininity.

"I found your comment rather ironic, as my frequent references to feelings (especially when I first began to comment on your blog, was my attempt to use Nonviolent Communication (NVC) to connect with y’all. NVC was developed by Marshall Rosenberg, a cisgendered man who’s been married for probably 50 years at least, as a means to connect with people to resolve conflicts by relating to feelings and needs, rather than speaking in judgments and evaluations. Believe it or not, it works – at least, most of the time. :-) In the jargon, there’s something called OFNR – “observation, feeling, need, request.” The idea is to make a clear, concrete observation, then relate it to a feeling (emotion) you have or you guess the other has. Needs, in this case, are universal. You then connect the feeling to the need unmet that stimulated the feeling. At the end, you make a clear, doable request that the person can act on immediately. Example: “When you scream at me, I feel scared, because I have needs for safety and respect that aren’t met. Would you be willing to step out of the room until you calm down?” The website for the Center for Nonviolent Communication is www.cnvc.org; for more specific info on OFNR, try http://www.cnvc.org/en/what-nvc/nvc-model/2-parts-and-4-components-nvc.

"If you look back at my early comments, you’ll probably notice I wasn’t too hung up on the exact form of OFNR. The real idea is to connect – which, mostly, I didn’t do with y’all as much as I would like, though I think I did connect a little bit a few times. You probably will notice, though, quite a few feelings being linked to needs. What I find ironic about this, is that you immediately thought my use of OFNR sounded “like a man trying to sound feminine.” It “sounded like a caricature of femininity.” Yet I was making absolutely no effort to speak in any gendered way at all – I was using a discrete system of communication developed by a cisgendered man!"

(Actually, the example I used wasn't that great, since 'scream' could easily be considered an evaluation.)

Be that as it may Seda, you thereby affirm that my observation of it being contrived and affected is correct. I mentioned that this was simply a subjective conjecture. You may still subconsciously approach this as being a suave "feminine" form of expression but we need not labor the point.

"Jose, The point of NVC is to communicate with another person in a way that conveys respect and honors their humanity. I would really enjoy it if anyone from Opine tried to communicate that way with me - no matter how "contrived" it might sound.

"And no, I don't use NVC, and especially OFNR (which, as you point out, often sounds contrived), to sound "feminine," I use it because I don't know a better method of connecting in a way that conveys the respect and love I want to convey, while also honoring and respecting myself."

Also, BTW, if anyone familiar with it wants to critique my description and use of NVC here, please do!

2 comments:

aj said...

Seda,

you're so totally right...

I think the "sound" of NVC communication is so non-violent, and basically considerate of both parties, that SOCIETY links it to femininity. Because there's this odd idea that men can't be considerate. That's not the fault of anyone who chooses to use NVC, but rather the false idea that permeates our culture that any sense of kindness makes a man feminine. This further segregates gender into those ONLY TWO rigid categories.

To add to all of this, when people know you have transitioned to be the woman you know you are, and then they hear you use NVC, they link this to that idea. The idea that men need to be masculine, slightly inconsiderate, and messy in order to assimilate. Anything off the ordinary earns you a ticket to homo-ville. They see you as "trying" to be feminine, when really all you're doing is "trying" to have non-violent communication.

It's a shame that NVC isn't seen as the right thing to do for all sexes.

Fannie said...

It's a shame that Jose believes NVC to be some sort of caricature of femininity (when in reality it was created, as you said, by a cis-gendered man!). From what I've observed, some of those men don't let themselves be considerate, perhaps because they believe their "masculinity" entitles them to treat others poorly. Because you make sincere efforts at being respectful and considerate (yet were born a man) I think they believe you're somehow just trying to be ultra-feminine.

Here's a question for them:

What if Seda really is trying to be considerate and respectful and that it's not part of some master plan to act "feminine"?

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
Beloved's.
~Hafiz