This is a great discussion. Thanks. I wonder if you've looked into NVC (non-violent communication), specifically the way it differentiates feelings from thoughts. The suggestion in NVC is to make communication a 5 part process: observation, feeling, thought, need, request. To me, the power of it is in separating out what is actually a feeling, and what is a thought. To do that is hard, because it means taking responsibility for both. But it ends the projection, dispels blame, and and points to the underlying need. Then, a true request (not a demand posing as a request) has non-violent power. If its a true request, the person asking for the behavior change is making a decision that they can live without the other person changing their behavior. It might change the nature of the relationship, but their is no inherent hidden demand. In the NVC literature there are long lists of feelings, thoughts, and how they differ. Its subtle stuff. As an example, in the sentence "I feel manipulated" NVC would say "manipulated" is not a feeling, its a thought. Separating those might look like, "I feel fear when I think you are manipulating me". Which one is easier to hear?

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