Click here for part 1 of the story
I am imagining how it would have happened in the past…
…..So I am standing in the kitchen in the morning. My brother is visiting. There’s obviously no rice milk left and – yes – it MUST have been my brother who emptied the package and neatly deposited it in the garbage. Has he bought a new one? Was it on his radar that I also needed some of it?
I ask him with a wry smile on my face and a feigned friendly voice, which even I wouln’t buy: “Hey, you know if there’s any rice milk left?” Surely he will jump now and conjure up a pristine pack from his hipster gym bag!
But he only looks up from his bowl in slow motion asking: “Hmmm? What?”
“Well, the rice milk, dear brother…..is there any left???“ – “Oh, oops, was that all that was left? I thought you had something left…..,“ he mumbles and devotes his attention back to his apple-millet-avocado-cranberry-experiment! Arrrgh! So much for that! I don’t say anything, but I have my own thoughts on the matter: Great! I am his big sister and he thinks I’m his Mum or what?!?! Has he lost his marbles? I mean: Come one, he has been here for two weeks, how hard can it be to buy some groceries…?!?!
And then the worst happens: My inner judge enters the scene going: Hey, hey, easy, easy! He didn’t mean no harm. Just have a look in the fridge and see for yourself how many things he’s bought! Not to mention that he’s washed the dishes in the last few days, bought fresh bread and even cooked spaghetti for you! You take it easy with your rice milk and get a grip on yourself, lady!
Great! Now I am getting a beating by myself for being mad at my brother….
In the end, aren’t my parents the ones I should blame? Because they never taught my little brother that groceries don’t buy themselves?
Well, and it would go on like that, searching for who’s to blame.
As a matter of fact it happened once that I shouted at him that he was no longer my brother. He was still quite young then and almost fainted, when I had said those words.
In those days I literally didn’t know how to even spell conflict because I was so afraid of them. I used to either sneak off, write angry emails or fire blame attacks in close combat. That felt like a bellyflop from the 10-meter-board: extremely painful, embarassing and totally pointless. But it happened on an impressive periodical basis following precisely the same patterns – over and over again. Astonishing, really, if you look at it that way.
Bevor I discovered the mindset and method of non-violent communication my life was a bit different when it came to conflicts and their solutions……….ok: VERY different. If a conflict turned out alright, it was more or less coincidental and not reproducible.
My judgements and my anger haven’t completely dissolved even today (which is not what NVC is about anyway). The difference ist that today I know what’s happening, when a conflict is breaking out. And above all I know what I can do myself, so that a conflict has a good chance of turning out the way I would like: Simply use some NVC.