Let s assume you ve been able to make it motivating. You jointly discussed consequences, you chose not to back off, and the other person has agreed to
As you wrap up the confrontation, make a plan. Decide who will do what and by when. Then set a follow-up time in which you can check to see how things are going. (We ll examine how to do this in Chapter 7.)
Let s take a look at how discussing natural consequences applies to a difficult example.
This is both Gary and Kali s second marriage. She has two children from her previous marriage, ages 15 and 20. When Kali and Gary first met, he was very interested in her children. They ve now been married four
What makes this problem particularly hard to solve is the fact that
he doesn t want to talk about it.
Kali: I think the kids and I are making life unpleasant for you. It appears to be getting
worseand not better. (Make it safe: She maintains respect and clarifies her purpose.)
I want to find an hour when we can discuss this. And I believe that if we do, we could get back some of the feeling we shared until about a year ago. (She provides more safety and Mutual Purpose.)
If we don t talk, I don t think we ll be able to continue in the same way. (She makes the invisible visible, sharing natural consequences that Gary cares about.)
Kali: No, and I m sorry if it sounded like one. I don t want you to feel like I m attacking you. I just want us to be able to talk openly about something I m really
concernedabout. (She steps out of the content and restoressafety using Contrasting.)
Let s face it, you and I haven t felt affectionate toward each other in months. I think it s been bad for both of us. I think the problems are solvable, but not if we can t talk about them. (She shares natural consequences, links to existing values, takes the focus off short-term pain ”a conversation ”and focuses on long-
The conversation doesn t have to happen now, but I believe it must happen or the things that are wrong are just going to get worse. I fear that s likely to end with us feeling like we d be
I hate that thought. (She steps out of content and makes sure he doesn t mistake the natural consequence for a threat.)
Gary: Okay, I ll try. But if this turns into you telling me how I can t expect the kids to obey any rules and I just have to put up with their trashing the house I m gone. (He s moving to violence ”making threats ”because he doesn t feel safe. He still
suspectsthis will be a blaming conversation with him as the target. Kali recognizes the lack of safety and avoids reactingto his threat. Instead, she increasessafety.)
Kali: I know I ve been doing a lot of that. And I m sorry. I ve been very defensive about the kids lately, and that s come out as me blaming you and not listening to your concerns. I think if we can talk about all of this, we can work together better. Is now a good time?