“don’t write, just listen”

This comment was made to me by my Mom when she was expressing some issues she had with me. I was doing my best to write down everything she was saying so that nothing was lost in me just reacting to what I heard and then she gave that order.

I complied with the order to de-escalate things, but the request left me confused.

My (former) empathy buddy said something similar

During Thom Bonds‘ 52-week NVC course, my empathy buddy had 10-15 minutes to speak. during that time, I wrote down every major issue she said. When she was done, I took every major issue and guessed at the feelings and needs behind it.

When I was done she said to me: “I need you to find the thing in what I said that had the most impact and empathize with that”. I.e., she didn’t appreciate that I wrote down every major idea she had.

Even though I said “OK” to her after this, we never had another empathy buddy session. I’m not sure if she was avoiding me or if she really was busy. She was in Germany and I was in the United States so there was a time difference and she was a traveling tango teacher who I didnt see in the forums or calls much after that, so she might’ve really been busy.

did you notice both of the people who didnt want all the facts were females?

I know I’m getting into some edgy territory here, but let me digress. I was once with this organization called “OneTaste” that made a big to-do about “female orgasm” versus “male orgasm” and how female orgasm so much more non-linear than a male’s. I also learned from OneTaste that women are not necessarily saying what they mean: they often are trying to communicate what they feel moreso than really trying to communicate facts. And unfortunately men dont often realize that they should be reading between the lines… I know I’ve taken what women said at face value not realizing they were saying much more than their words.

One quick example

We were doing a group sharing and a woman I didnt know said: “Terrence has a lot of sexual energy”. I thought she was just making an observation. But at the end of the night, my friend said: “Terrence, that woman was making a pass at you. If you want to go after her, I have no problem with that”. But if she had not clued me in to what was really going on, I would have never imagined that was the real intent of that other woman.

Why would someone not want me to write down everything they are saying?

In Imago therapy, one of the steps is mirroring, where you take care to repeat exactly what the other party said. Imago therapy is a communication protocol with some similarities to Rosenberg’s non-violent communication.

In terms of NVC, I might ask: “how can I be sure I observed what you said if I cant repeat it back word-for-word”?

either way, I find it frustrating that someone would tell me not to record everything that was said. Imagine if a court-of-law did not have a court reporter and/or cameras to record exactly what was said.

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