Being Me, Loving You - A Practical Guide to Extraordinary Relationships

How much do I want to read more? 7/10

Surely not the best book about NVC, but a nice complementary from his book with role-play in some specific situations.

The following are excerpts from workshops and media interviews given by Marshall Rosenberg on the subject of intimacy and close, personal relationships.


“Am I attractive?”
we know that nobody “is” anything. Nobody is right, wrong, attractive, or unattractive. But I knew she wouldn’t settle for any of that stuff, so I said, “You want to know if you’re attractive?” She said, “Yes.” “Sometimes yes, sometimes no; can I go back to bed?”

In one of my favorite books, How to Make Yourself Miserable:
“Do you love me? Now, this is very important to me. Think it over: Do you love me?”
“Please, this is very important; give it very serious consideration: Do you love me?”
(Period of silence) “Yes.”
“Then why did you hesitate?” [Laughter]

A Typical Conflict

Participant: Marshall, what do you think is the major conflict, the major issue between men and women?

“Marshall, I wouldn’t want you to get the wrong idea. I have a very wonderful husband.” And then, of course, I know the word “but” is coming.
“But I never know how he’s feeling.”
He might have been out in the desert for six months, but he never said, “I’m lonely.”

With that way of communicating, you don’t learn how to get in touch with your own emotions.
If you’re being trained to be a warrior, you want to keep your feelings out of your consciousness. Well, to be married to a warrior is not a very rich experience for a woman who may have been playing dolls while the men were out playing war.
She wants intimacy, but the man doesn’t have a vocabulary that makes it easy to do that.

On the other hand women are not taught to be very clear about their needs. They’ve been taught for several centuries to deny their own needs and take care of others. So, they often depend on the man for leadership and expect him to kind of guess what she needs and wants and to fulfill that, to take care of that.

Participant: Let’s do a role-play.
Marshall: the woman saying to the man, “I don’t feel the connection with you that I would like. I really want to feel more an emotional connection with you. And how do you feel when I say that?” And the man says, “Huh?”

Participant: Well, yeah, let me play the man. Well what do you want? What do you want me to do?
Marshall: Well, like right now, instead of asking me that question, I would like to know what you’re feeling. Like, are you hurt by what I said? Are you angry? Are you scared?

Participant: I don’t know.
Marshall: Yeah, and this is what I mean. When you don’t know what you’re feeling it’s very hard for me to feel safe and trusting.

Participant: Well, I feel like you’re . . . I feel like you’re criticizing me.
Marshall: So, you’re feeling kind of hurt and you want me to respect you and to appreciate what you offer in our relationship.

Participant: Well, yeah.
Marshall: And see, I would’ve liked for you to have said that. I would’ve liked to have heard you say I’m hurt, I’d like some appreciation. But notice you didn’t say that. You said, “You’re criticizing me.” You required me to have to take a deep breath and not get caught up in that and not hear a judgment in what you say, and instead to try to hear what you’re feeling and what you might need. I’d like not to work so hard at that. I’d really appreciate it if you could just tell me what’s going on inside you.

Participant: Well, I don’t know what’s going on inside of me, most of the time. What do you want from me?
Marshall: Well, first I just am glad we’re having this conversation now. I want you to know that I hope I can stay aware of how confusing it is to give me what I want. I’m trying to become conscious that it is such new thing for you and I want to be patient. But, I would like to hear what’s going on in you.

Participant: Well, right now, I guess I’m just glad that you’re telling me what you need.
Marshall: So, that’s a very typical kind of interaction that goes on. The man, he very often hears demands coming from the woman.

On the Subject of Marriage