Santa Monica Observer October 2, 2003


As seen in The Santa Monica Observer Weekly



 Can you eliminate “spousa-sidal” thoughts during a hotly contested divorce? How can you cope when you've gone from walking-on-eggs to being Humpty Dumpty? Is there another way to speak and listen? Is it possible to alter your thinking, even if you've had these thoughts for your entire marriage? Can you impact your mate's actions during divorce or avoid one?

According to Maureen Stubbs, Esq., collaborative attorney in Beverly Hills, " Nonviolent Communication™ … provides a method and vocabulary which allows each party to ‘hear' the other's point of view as well as to see the underlying needs behind each party's position which allows each person to stand in the shoes of the other party, to see that the good of one is really the good of all. This maximizes the potential for a win/win situation for the family ."  

NVC ™ founder Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D., raised these points last weekend at his biannual Santa Barbara seminar. Please visit for future training dates. For Feelings and Needs, Self-empathy and Empathy according to NVC ™ , please send us your email request:

Compassionate Communication

1. “Labels lead to self-fulfilling prophecies because of the way you see another. Then, what you ‘see', is what you get.”

2. “If we express anger believing that someone else is the cause (of it), we are thinking in a way that is almost guaranteed not to get out needs met.' ”

Compromise and negotiation:

1. “As long as you think you're right and they're wrong, your spirit and body pay for it. That is the effect of “type A” thinking on the body; a high level of heart disease.”

2. “The more important a request is to you, the more important it is that the (other) person not hear it as a demand. With Nonviolent Communication ™ , you don't hear, ‘No!', you hear what your spouse is feeling and needing.

3. “All needs are life-serving and can be met; at fault is the strategy”

4. Two helpful strategies to arrive at a solution that works for entire families are the following requests: “Would you be willing to stop me if you hear any demand or insistence in my voice or any criticism or pressure on you to change? How could I say it differently so you don't hear any criticism or demand? ”

Dear Divorce Coach,

I was ordered to have no contact with my daughter until after she's 18. My relatives may not contact her, yet the courts continue awarding more child support to her mother. Why do I have to pay for Parental Rights I don't have?  

Sincerely yours,

Dumbfounded Dad


Dear Dumbfounded,

I imagine you feel angry that while you may not see your daughter, you must continue to pay her expenses which does not meet your need for fairness. Are you concerned about the privileges and obligations in parenting and need more information than your attorney provided? Are you aware that under many circumstances you have the right to return to court if you can provide new evidence about your ability as a parent? This may meet your need for connection with your daughter or if your financial situation has changed, proving that and altering your child support may meet your need for peace.

Sincerely yours,

Ask The Divorce Coach, Susan Allan  

CLIENT: “ Thank you for you quick and forthright response.  I prayed last night for some guidance on this matter.” MW      

Dear Divorce Coach,

After my conflicted marriage I'm happier but co-parenting and finances with my ex-wife remain in her high-conflict mode.  I've suggested dispute resolution but she has reasons why she can't go, or pre-conditions....What can I do?


Worn and torn,

Dear Worn,

I offer a free phone consultation that will demonstrate Nonviolent Communication ™ which I find is the most effective skill to break through your situation. Your awareness that the tension continues after divorce may be the foundation on which you build a new, satisfying life. Learning Nonviolent Communication ™ speeds the process of PEACE.


Ask The Divorce Coach, Susan Allan

What can you do when you feel so frustrated when you think about your mate that you're ready for “SPOUS-A-SIDE? Connect to your own feelings and needs silently with Self-empathy. Then, listen with empathy. For a review of these techniques from previous columns, email

For 101 Divorce Survival Secrets, and free E-zine, visit , with Collaborative Divorce information. For one hour of free, private telephone coaching, contact



Susan Allan COO of The Divorce Forum™