Monday, February 13, 2006

Empathizing with Anger

Greetings, Friends,

I recently received this and wanted to share it with you all. Your comments are welcome!

Jim

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Jim
I find myself confused about a question I had recently asked at a practice group on the topic of anger. The question went something like, is it advisable to identify anger as a feeling in an empathy pass to some one that is angry? I’m wondering if there is a willingness to have an email dialogue over this topic.
Respectfully,
Poner

Poner,
I am grateful for the opportunity to comment on your question.

First, I want to get clarity on what my intention is in offering an "empathy pass". For its crystal brevity, I enjoy Marshall's definition of empathy as "a respectful understanding of another person's experience." So when I'm empathizing with another, that's the quality of connection I am aspiring to. How do you feel reading that?

Secondly, I'm guessing that you are wanting information on using the word "anger" in a verbal reflection of empathy, such as, "are you feeling angry because you have a need for respect that isn't met in this situation?" Poner, I wonder if you are feeling concerned around the well-being of the speaker, perhaps wanting to protect them from their feeling of anger? Or are you wanting to support the speaker in deeper self connection? I'm trying to connect with your understanding of "advisable". Did I get it?

1 comment:

William said...

Jim,
I took a long minute before I replied, in all actuality I slept on it. The reason is that I have a jackal show going on. No were in my original email did I mention anything about protecting anyone from there anger. I don’t see this as a respectful understanding of my experience, more like an “empathy assumption”. Oooouuuhh there’s my jackal!
Although, I’m grateful for your willingness to dialogue and I’m guessing you would really like to understand what’s going on for me. And I would love to share that, with the understanding that my needs are both for learning and clarity. Clarity for the confusion (as stated in my original email) I’m having as to using NVC concept or process with an angered person.
I have taken a couple of NVC workshops were the instructor advised that if you use anger as a feel during an empathy pass it would be like adding gasoline to the fire. This was also modeled in the form of the Anger Dance Floor, were in both empathy and self-empathy you look for the need. Then in theory, from absorbing the need there’s a shift to the transformed feeling. (Vague and general description of the dance floor)
In effort to fulfill my need for both learning and clarity. I would enjoy your input on using the word anger as a feeling while giving an empathy pass.
Much love brother,
William