You statements

Sulking, Edgar Degas-You were angry.
-No, I wasn’t.

OK, you were in Brook No Contradiction mode. You stated The Truth, leaving no room for my thought or my perception or anyone else’s. From my position it felt like anger: there was the force of you, ready to push aside any other view, because it was wrong. So we could unite, where we should be, behind you.

Quite sexy, actually, definitely to my taste. Often, I am prepared to fall into line. It is so much easier, and it is so nice to have a single position we can all unite in- and- wearing, sometimes. Sometimes, I want to say-
steady on…
I tend to think…

Or even, Now just you wait one damn minute. Though that is quite rare, obviously.

OK, you weren’t angry, you weren’t even confrontational, because no contradiction was stated so there was no confrontation necessary. You were just stating The Truth, in an entirely reasonable way- though from my position it felt forceful.

Non-violent communication values I-statements: I perceived X, and I felt Y. This is not a demand, except in the most passive-aggressive way: in confronting a demand with an I-statement, I take the moral high ground so you better do as I see fit. Sometimes You statements are a necessary preliminary to useful communication:

You are completely wrong
and it would be really good if you just stuck your head down the loo and flushed it
to save everyone else the bother.

Under the wave off Kanagawa, Hokusai

I am wary of I-statements. Sometimes they can be part of a joint endeavour to reach the best way forward, and sometimes they can be a fencing match.

One thought on “You statements

  1. Gosh, as always, so much in here that I could write a book in response! Of course, as you would guess, I was raised in an absolutely non-confrontational household and “I” statements ruled the various household nooks and crannies. However, you are right to be suspicious: My brother, “Mom, I need to use a car tonight.” Me: “I need it and already go permission because I’m giving a speech to young Socialists at the Junior College. And you?” That’s a true story, but applicable and adaptable nonetheless.

    I love having crushes. They’re the best. Trying to peek to see if he has a hairy chest, not being startled by the size of his shoes … etc.
    Yes. Life is cool. A friend said to me tonight. I don’t know if it’s just all the stress you’re going through and having PTS, but you’re looking older. I simply shrugged, said, “I happen to be getting older,” then, “and you still look like the shriveled ferret you did in First Grade.” I mean … really … looking older. Ha ! Ha?


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