When you begin the divorce process, it’s so important to continue – or even establish, if you haven’t yet – a relationship based on empathy and honesty. When your ex trusts that your main commitment is to the quality of the relationship and the needs of your children, then they can trust that your requests are true requests and not camouflaged demands.
Marshall Rosenberg’s idea of “nonviolent communication” can help you to identify the feelings and needs behind other people’s less-than-skillful communication under pressure or stress. As you reconnect with your true inner self, you’ll begin to identify your feelings and connect each feeling to a need. The outcome? An entirely new relationship with your ex, and an easier transition process for your children.
During a divorce, there are a number of feelings you might face – grief, depression, anger, resentment and fear. Using the two components of the nonviolent communication model – empathetically listening and honestly expressing – you can learn how to recognize your ex’s “triggers” and how to successfully handle them without confrontation. According to Rosenberg, each component of the model consist of four steps, including making requests, identifying needs, identifying feelings and making observations.
When you are in the midst of a divorce, and you’re struggling to keep the peace, use the skills learned through nonviolent communication in various combinations. For example, you might first learn how to return yourself to a calm state when you sense your partner getting angry. Or you might notice your partner taking jabs at you in an attempt to rile you up. Once you uncover your own feelings and practice enough self-empathy to find peace, you’ll notice diminished pain, and you’ll finally be able to hear what your partner is trying to tell you.
Ultimately, the goal of nonviolent communication is to help you see yourself reflected in a new mirror. When you transform the fear triggered by the grief that comes from worrying about the future and the need for support, you’re more likely to feel inspired to move beyond your old limitations, discovering your true power. Says Susan Allan, America’s leading divorce coach, “Peace isn’t going to find us; we have to find peace.”