win/win dispute resolution skills (nvc and conflict) #2

by Milla — she=he

Above a booklet on conflict resolution and nvc. Below the purpose statement of an online practice group: "Learn, use, practice NVC(nonviolent communication.) Enhance communication, mediation, and win/win dispute-resolution skills" --Synergycommunication

Here is some of the process I’ve experienced within two online communities called Synergycommunication and PonderingNVC:


In a talk with a person I got in contact with at ponderNVC and SynCom:
“I hear rabid feminism coming from you.  If that’s the issue you wish to pursue with me, then my wish would be that the break be indefinite.”Angus, member of SynCom and PonderNVC, private email

“a two-week fuckathon with a li’l Brazilian gal some years back” […] “once you master that you can move on to Brazilian nymphomaniacs” –Bill, PonderNVC

“It also sounds like you believe that still to this day that favoritism is given to whites and that you believe that an inequality still exists to this day, in this regard I agree with you if this is the case, though perceive that that inequality is against whites and is wholly unfounded.” –Paul, PonderNVC

My request for clarification of the above statement by Paul has not been responded to. Paul has chosen to share the impressions Paul has of my interaction with Paul, Alex – moderator and group owner – and others in the group in this way:

“Ok Milla, Thanks for the response, I’m honestly not sure whether to take your emails seriously sometimes as the seem somewhat counter intuitive to me. I respect that you had some anxiety around my response as I did reading your reply. I’d like to be heard just as you would and I see in this last email you utilizing some NVC principles and I’m delighted to say that I took those as genuine expressions of self and I feel trusting in you to the extent that I recognise that we are both trying to find strategies to get our needs met.

You wrote~ this meets a need i have for hope of a community where there’s

and acceptance. and willingness to connect. with respect.

Yet co-operation is just the very thing that you are refusing.. acceptance of the groups dynamic precicely what you refute, and a willingness to connect something that seemingly has escaped you, in that, you are totally unwilling to connect to the needs of everyone else on this group that has managed to have harmony with ALex’s personal emails to us.

Can you see how this can lead a person in their thought to make assumptions? How the three core things you say you want from a group are the same three things you don’t offer it? I’ll hope for an actual response.” –Paul, PonderNVC

A continuous request on my part on these forums has been for clarity and for specific examples to be given, to make it possible for me to understand and connect better with what concerns people have and what they wish to see happen. Paul is in the above statement, expressing appreciation for my use of ‘some’ NVC principles, without specifying any actions nor principles, and then follows this with making evaluations in relation to some unspecified action/non-action on my part.

Many talks and discussions later comes this:

“Hi all, In the last few weeks many of the posts from several members here have been in may opinion significantly off-topic (outside stated purpose of the group. This includes attempts to resolve personal conflicts (for example Milla’s concerns specifically about moderation of her posts” […] “To anticipate someone possibly asking “could you give me some specific examples of what you consider these off-topic posts,” I’ll say that there are so many off-topic recently that it’s easier for me to give examples of ones that are not off-topic.” […] “I’m also giving everyone a heads up that I’m considering putting any members who in my subjective opinion seems to be not respecting those boundaries or routinely exceeding the 500 word limit or chronically failing to trim, onto moderation and filtering out (deleting or rejecting, with or without notice to the poster) the “out of bounds ones” myself. I’m also asking my co-moderators to take the same action if they see what they percieve as out-of-bounds postings continuing, and of course themselves refrain from posting out-of-bounds or responding to out-of-bounds posts in the group email.” –Alex (moderator, owner), PonderNVC.

In Alex’s expressed concerns about ‘off-topic’ and ‘out-of-bounds’ postings on PonderNVC I am the only one mentioned by name. The examples given of what Alex considers to be on-topic includes the thread with the statements made by Bill on a “two-week fuckathon” with “a li’l Brazilian gal” and “Brazilian nymphomaniacs” as well as asking the men in the thread how they get ‘their’ women to do genital shaving.

“Well then, if I may be so bold: How do you guys persuade your women-folk to shave their muffs…? (Or does this question belong in syn-com…?) Warmly and Curiously” –Bill, PonderNVC

Bill’s line of thought about women shaving, comes after two of the men have talked about shaving and beards in the same thread recommended by Alex:

“My feeling about beards is that us bearded wonders should have special representation in parliament, for truly we are the third gender of mankind!” –Stefaan, PonderNVC

The woman who started the thread responds:
“How about this one: “Wisdom is in the head and not in the beard.”–Swedish proverb.” –XYZ, PonderNVC

To which the reply is:
“That one must have come from the Swedish chef.” –Stefaan, PonderNVC

“Oh, I think I get it. A bearded husband away from the kitchen is safe…” –XYZ, PonderNVC

I end with yet another quote from Bill in another thread after some weeks of silence on my part. The thread is started by Bill and called: “Violence and Nymphomania”:

“How much more the rambling horseplay in this thread meets my need for nourishment, than the “on-topic” stings and lashes of militant feminism of late… I’d say the list as a whole has moved decidedly up-scale since then… Wouldn’t you…? Love” –Bill, PonderNVC

That’s when i decided it’s time to leave. When discussions on moderation and how that can be done in accordance with the purpose-statement of the group: “A particular approach(nonviolent communication – NVC) to communication skills, win/win dispute resolution, speaking listening ways that increase chances of inspiring compassion from others and your ability to respond compassionately.

Activities based on NVC principles and training of The Center For Nonviolent Communication(CNVC.)” –Synergycommunication

When discussions on moderation are called ‘personal’ matters and to be discussed elsewhere, while ‘Brazilian nymphomaniacs’ and  ‘how to get women-folk to shave their muffs’ is listed as a part of the on-topic conversations going on on the forum, I feel despair and lack hope in ever getting heard or taken seriously with my concerns in relation to how to create a space that can be experienced as ‘win-win’ for everyone taking part in it.

The concrete suggestions on Alex’s part on how to relate to the communication between Alex and I has been:
“Would you be willing to find an NVC forum that meets your needs better than
this one does and after you do that leave this one, or at least make no
further posts regarding your preferences about how I moderate or how you’d
like this group changes to THIS group?”
— Alex (moderator, owner), SynCom

And to my request on SynCom to sort our differences out – or “dance” as it’s called in nvc:
“I do understand that having what you call (and I think I understand) as a dance in the _group_ email meets somehow your needs for safety of a certain kind.

On the OTHER hand having it in _private_ email meets _my_ needs for safety of certain kinds (I believe I explained as best I could why earlier.)

So, first I suppose we’d have to dance about WHERE we’re going to dance. What preferred dance floor <g>.
Does that make sense?

You have any idea how to resolve that?
Would flipping a coin work for you to decide that?
(I don’t mean that lightly or to discount your concerns about dialoging in private email.
I throw it out as a “neutral” way of resolving THAT conflict
without you seeing it as power over,
as a coin doesn’t care whose needs get met first.)”
–Alex, SynCom

These suggestions was followed by silence to my response and suggestions. As well as having a couple of my posts turned down from synergycommunication by the persons moderating SynCom and PonderingNVC (Jonathan, Alex). Jonathan gave as a reason that my request for connection with Alex didn’t meet the ‘group guidelines’. When I asked for specification of the guidelines not met, there was no response to this question, and this is a part of the reply:

“Milla, I’d like to resign from moderating your posts.  IOW, I withdraw
my consent.  IOW, I decline to take part doing moderating, further.  I
plead other calls on my time and energy.

Having said that, and resigned, I’d be prepared to start up again as
moderator on the following basis:

I would release your posts, if, according to my _subjective_
understanding of the group description and posting guidelines, I deemed
these to qualify.

If, according to my _subjective_ evaluation, I deemed these not to be in
the spirit of the description/guidelines, I would withhold these/delete

I am willing to offer my services as a moderator, unless and until you
hear otherwise, on the basis that _my_ decision would be _final_.  I’m
not wanting to get into dialogues about this”
–Jonathan, private email about not releasing my post with a request for connection with Alex to SynCom.

According to my experience with SynCom and PonderingNVC there is no practical follow through on the purpose statement of the group. I would wish for this to change. I would like to see win/win dispute resolution in theory and practice. Can we work it out?


12 Responses

  1. Hi Milla,

    Clearly, you didn’t find what you were looking for by a long chalk, at SC and Pnvc? And didn’t get (anything like?) the type and kind of cooperation that you wanted?

    Since as I suppose you are by now not expecting to rejoin either group, I’d like to wish you ‘Bon Voyage!’, sincerely hoping you will find somewhere else where you will get to your heart’s desire, and the peace and contentment that (again I suppose) you are looking for.

    Myself, I can’t agree with your synopsis; it doesn’t include the fact that I asked you at least twice if we could agree to disagree, and more than twice to find some other strategy or person (not myself, any more) to help you get your ‘needs’ met – in common parlance, to help you get what you wanted.

    There’s more – but I am happy simply to agree to disagree, once again.

    I’m sorry not to see, IMO, acknowledgement of the many acts of kindness and understanding by several if not many ‘ordinary’ members of both groups, towards yourself. But I can agree to disagree about that too.

    One of those persons, who showed you nothing but kindness, IMO, asked you to remove her name from your blog post above: Would you be wiling to do that, Milla? I’d like to support her, and I’m sad to see some discomfort that she expressed.

    All the best, Milla!


    ps somebody told me that you wrote 230 posts to PonderingNVC in less than a month – many or mostly as I suppose, to do with your issues around moderation.

    If that’s right, that may go some way to explaining methinks why your name was mentioned – those others only mentioned ‘beards’ etc, only once or twice each!

    • hello Jonathan,

      “it doesn’t include the fact that I asked you at least twice if we could agree to disagree”

      how does “agreeing to disagree” manifest itself in your reality? what specific actions words are included in this concept? what expectations do you have? is agreeing to disagree a part of win/win dispute resolution?

      “Since as I suppose you are by now not expecting to rejoin either group”

      you sent me a letter before, after i had signed off the both groups, saying that you wished me to rejoin and that i was welcome back if i chose not to speak/post, and that i might get another posting agreement if i managed to gain your trust. i asked you what specific action would increase your sense of trust. i repeat that question: what specific action would increase your sense of trust?

      “more than twice to find some other strategy or person (not myself, any more) to help you get your ‘needs’ met – in common parlance, to help you get what you wanted.”

      what would this mean in specific actions?

      and as well, what are your feelings/thoughts in relation to the feedback i wrote to the automatic response i got after signing off from Syncom and pondering?

      i would really appreciate response.

      take care,

  2. Did you get permission from Alex to post his picture? I’m just thinking that might be a positive step in your quest toward understanding other people’s rights and understand people’s feelings toward you–ie, understanding why people feel violated by you when you post their names, words, and pictures without their consent.

    • by Milla

      “Did you get permission from Alex to post his picture? I’m just thinking that might be a positive step in your quest toward understanding other people’s rights and understand people’s feelings toward you–ie, understanding why people feel violated by you when you post their names, words, and pictures without their consent.”

      Sexism and exclusion is based on a general fear of having one’s photo published on a blog?

    “Your cultivation of love and great compassion should not be left in a
    state of mere imagination or wish alone; rather, a sense of
    responsibility, a genuine intention to engage in the task of
    relieving sentient beings of their sufferings and providing them with
    happiness, should be developed. It is important for a practitioner
    to work for and take upon himself or herself the responsibility of
    fulfilling this intention. The stronger your cultivation of
    compassion is, the more committed you will feel to taking this
    responsibility. Because of their ignorance, sentient beings do not
    know the right methods by which they can fulfill their aims. It is
    the responsibility of those who are equipped with this knowledge to
    fulfill the intention of working for their benefit.”– His Holiness
    the Dalai Lama, from Path to Bliss: A Practical Guide to Stages of
    Meditation, published by Snow Lion Publications.

    “An affectionate disposition not only makes the mind more peaceful
    and calm, but it affects our body in a positive way too. On the
    other hand, hatred, jealousy and fear upset our peace of mind, make
    us agitated and affect our body adversely. Even our body needs peace
    of mind and is not suited to agitation. This shows that an
    appreciation for peace of mind is in our blood.”
    — His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from ‘The Dalai
    Lama, A Policy of Kindness’, published by Snow Lion Publications.

    “Fundamentally, the basis on which
    you can build a sense of caring for others is the capacity to love
    yourself.”– His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from ‘The Compassionate
    Life’, available from Snow Lion Publications.

    “Tu wants to learn fighting and learns sitting”, Bertold Brecht

    Perhaps my last recommendations to you, Milla? Hoping to contribute to your learning and wellbeing …

    Fare well …

  4. […] unsubscribed from two online practice groups of nonviolent communication. In one of the two (first, second) feedback letters I wrote, I quote people from these forums. I wrote an email afterwards to the […]

  5. Milla,

    You didn’t answer my question, whether or not you received permission from Alex to publish his picture. Can you clarify your response? You said: “Sexism and exclusion is based on a general fear of having one’s photo published on a blog?”

    Are you saying that it is okay to to post personal information about people without their consent, if you perceive that person to be sexist?

    • hi curious,

      i’m sorry for not expressing myself clearly enough. what i wish to say is that i would like to receive empathy for the type of learning process i’ve been through with these two groups [told not to speak, told that i’m off-topic without specification, etc]. and that i would like to be taken serisously when i speak of exhaustion in relation to that [there was a thread started on one of these forums by paul labeled “exhaustion??” where this person was seriously doubting my experience. i have a need to connect with persons who are capable of doing this. connecting. understanding. so. i have a priority now to discuss in a way i would experience as connecting and comfortable for myself, and not just according to the wishes/requests of the other. if you wish to connect with me i would first like to work out some sort of discussion agreement with you, in order for there to be an equal flow of information going back and forth and not this type of

      “interrogator” and “sitting in the witness stand” feel to the talk. or two persons with radios standing next to one another tuned in on different stations and the volume constantly being turned up in order for each to hear their own station clearly. i don’t know if you can relate to this?

      would you like to work out a discussion agreement so that we both can feel comfortable in continuing making a connection?

      i have low trust in that you are sincerely interested in understanding my experience or discuss through different cultures of ‘privacy’ and so on and how these norms affect people differently when trying to address their concerns. i am infinitely tired of having discussions with people who are not interested in nor having the patience to reach win/win solutions nor connection nor understanding. if you are not interested in a longer discussion/talk then i’m willing to give you space to post your point of views about myself, privacy, sexism etc in a blog post instead.

      how does that sound to you?

      take care,

    • hi curous (curious?),

      another response in an attempt to clarify. what i’m saying is that i’m tired of one-way-communication. and that i would like to have my concerns on the table and discussed as well. i don’t mind discussing whatever concerns you have as long as i can trust that there will be space for my questions and that ‘my turn’ will also come up eventually. you working out a discussion agreement with me, would be a way for you to build trust with me. or at least a way for me to know that you clearly don’t care to know me or have any genuine curiousity in relation to my existence and my expression in this world. (or that your curiosity and interest does not meet my need for equality, connection, understanding).

      i experience myself to be in the usual ‘trap’ of ‘damned if i do, damned if i don’t’ and experience helplessness and hopelessness in relation to that. if i knew my issues and concerns would be valued equally and get equal space i would have no problem talking these things through with you. but at the moment i’m simply ‘fed up’. can’t take more of the “do you realize you are the cause of a lot of bad feelings for people and that you do things that other people don’t like?” while the “the things other people do that i don’t like, causing bad feelings in me” don’t appear to be an issue for the other.”

      i have a need for connection and communication where i know what to expect.


  6. Milla,

    I am sorry you misread my intentions. It was not my intention to engage in a long conversation with you. I merely wanted to know if Alex had consented to having his image on your site. Based on your response I assume that Alex did not consent to you using his image, and I furthermore assume that you feel no ethical obligation to obtain his consent to use his picture.

    I do not understand this comment . .

    “i don’t mind discussing whatever concerns you have as long as i can trust that there will be space for my questions and that ‘my turn’ will also come up eventually.”

    Isn’t this blog the “space” for “your turn”? I would turn this around and say: I hope that someone else’s feelings/turn/needs will come up eventually. To be more specific, I was hoping to gently nudge you to acknowledge how Alex might feel about you using his image without his consent. To me, it seems a little too close ethically someone posting nude pictures of his ex-girlfriend on the internet. In other words, both your act and the act of the hypothetical ex-boyfriend appear to be motivated by revenge and the “need” to hurt someone. Both acts appear to be attempts to “force” someone (who is trying to distance themself from the other person) to communicate with you, and hence prolong the disfunctional relationship. I could be wrong, just thought you might want to think about the “other side” for just a brief moment.

    • hello curiouslady,

      thank you for informing me that you have no intention/wish(?) to engage in a longer conversation with me. i think i already understood from your first comment that you dislike the idea of having Alex’s photo on this blog (?), or possibly that you are more worried about the intentions that you interpret being behind having Alex’s photo posted (?) as you said “revenge”, wish to “hurt” someone (?) and that this is your main point by posting on this blog (?) and as well that

      Curiouslady: “I do not understand this comment . . “i don’t mind discussing whatever concerns you have as long as i can trust that there will be space for my questions and that ‘my turn’ will also come up eventually.”

      for me it’s important to get to discuss Accountability, and Win/win dispute, and the contradictions experienced between practice/theory in nvc communities, that is, i would like to discuss the feedback i’ve written and not Alex’s photo. I could discuss both, but then i would need a discussion agreement (how to conduct the talk, and what we can expect from the talk) for me to get my needs for inclusion and consideration met. The other option i could think of would be for you to write a text that i then publish on this blog, where you express how you feel about photos and privacy etc and then it’s possible to have a talk about that there.

      As I said: I have no wish to have a talk with you based on your terms solely. That’s why i would like to have the terms made clear and agreed upon before engaging in a conversation. This way i suspect it would be easier for – both? me at least! – to hear your concerns instead of this talk being conducted in the way i described with the radios: both of us turning up our channels to hear ourselves better.

      Curiouslady: “I could be wrong, just thought you might want to think about the “other side” for just a brief moment”

      You would like for me to care for the needs of others as much as you think i care for my own needs? You would like for everybody’s needs to be taken into consideration? I would like for the latter to be true too. Discussion agreement could make that happen for me? How would it happen/be true for you?


  7. […] like to tell you briefly what brought me to write to you to begin with. After the exchanges on the Yahoo discussion groups ended last summer, I continued to feel puzzled from time to time, wanting to understand why things […]

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