Nonviolent Communication™ and Grief

“Mourning is very important to do for sorrow, sadness, loss. Hours, days, weeks, years, whatever it takes. Let my feelings tell me when I’m through mourning.”

Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD.

More information on this topic coming soon. In the meantime, please enjoy these recommended articles from Mindfulness of Needs and The Fearless Heart.


In addition to the emphasis on empathy in NVC, Marshall Rosenberg also recognized the power of grieving when our needs are not met or will not bet met. Dr. Charles Whitfield, psychologist and writer wrote in, “Healing the Child Within” that unresolved grief probably contributed to alcoholism and addiction more than any other cause.  Unresolved or trapped grief generates a poisonous unpleasant bodily feeling that pervades until it is released or discharged from the body. In an effort to deal with this need to Grieve, the mind and ego will often resort to some far out strategies, including getting into relationships that remind us of the ones that caused the grief, or using rage to suppress the grief energy.

In NVC, we recognize that often times our needs are not fulfilled and are not going to be fulfilled. In those cases, the need to mourn or grieve is often the next step. Even the smallest disappointment could trigger a need to mourn…

Please read the rest of this article here:

Mourning Our Way to Acceptance

For years and years I’ve been mystified by the idea of acceptance. I could point to it as a need on the list that people who study Nonviolent Communication consult for their learning and growth. I could understand, in some general sense, what people mean when they say that they want to be accepted. I even included a commitment called “Accepting What Is” in the 17 Core Commitments. Still, all the same, there was something that simply didn’t make sense. So much so, that I didn’t even know exactly how to talk about it.

The core question that was so unsettling for me is remarkably simple: What does it mean to accept something we don’t like?

One loop I would go into in trying to understand this was the experience of the person who hears, from another, “I want you to accept me the way I am.” What’s the person hearing this to do if they don’t like the behaviors that the other person does? This would come up again and again with couples, in friendships, in groups I was leading. I couldn’t shake off the idea that, essentially, there was some subtle way that the person asking to be accepted is really, deep down, asking to be liked. What is the difference?

The second loop would come up in the context of life overall. There is so much about living in this world that doesn’t work for me. So much that I see that doesn’t work for others, the animals, the people, the young people in particular. I absolutely and totally don’t like that things are the way they are, on all these levels. Then I hear, over and over from everywhere, the injunction to accept what is, that my suffering would disappear if I did. Once again, something didn’t settle. I kept hearing this injunction in a way that left me convinced that I was expected to ignore and deny all the ways that life didn’t work. This comes so close to my discomfort about “positive thinking” that I almost had an aversion to the idea I myself was advocating for!

Why was I advocating for accepting what is? Purely and simply because anything else leaves us in a fight relationship with life. I knew, even with all my discomfort about the “happy face” I was associating with acceptance as I understood it, that there is deep wisdom to be found on this path. I just couldn’t, myself, find it.

Even this wasn’t entirely true. There were moments of grace, many of them, in which I felt a soft sense of continuity with all of life, where all the pain and anguish in the world was, simply and fully, part of life. In those moments, there was truly nothing to fight against, even when I didn’t enjoy. I knew bliss to be the experience of having no resistance to the flow of life through me, whatever form it takes. I have known, for years, that I can be in pain and still be alive and in that state of bliss…

Please read the rest of this article here:

More information on Books about Empathy

NVC Grief Web Resources

Click here for Marshall Rosenberg Grief Articles
Click here for Marshall Rosenberg Grief Videos
Click here for Nonviolent Communication Grief Articles
Click here for Nonviolent Communication Grief Videos

There is a wealth of information on Nonviolent Communication – in articles and videos. Of course we endorse all of Marshall’s sharing’s, however, there are many transcripts and videos created by others. Due to limited resources we do not verify the full accuracy of any particular video or articles created by others, even though there is plenty of wonderful and educational information on the web.