Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Ten, Issue One:
Reconciling Conflict with a Neighbor, a personal account

Our newsletter will now be appearing occasionally, up to four times a year. Our purpose is to contribute to the NVC learning of people who have taken at least an NVC Level 1 workshop, and help us stay connected as we endeavor to deepen a culture of peace within ourselves, our families and the world. We believe a Level 1 offers so many new ways of thinking that additional support for learning and integration could be helpful.

We endeavor to make each edition informative, connecting, inspiring and fun. Please let us know how the newsletter might contribute to your NVC well-being. Email: newsletter at

This issue’s feature article is a contribution from Troy Henderson, an NVC practitioner in Maine, in which he describes a long-standing conflict and how it was finally resolved through the use of NVC skills.


At War With My Neighbor

by Troy Henderson

Have you ever been at war with your neighbor? I have, and it looked like this.

For the last ten years my neighbor has dug pot holes or made speed bumps in the right of way accessing where I live. He has put trash cans and greased bicycles across the middle of the road so we got greasy when we moved them.

I have had tons of judgment about what he was doing and yet I didn’t communicate. Instead, I called to cops, game warden; talked to lawyers behind his back, at considerable cost, and I got nowhere. And I lived with righteous anger eating me up on the inside.

I’ve been practicing NVC for about ten years, and for the last four years added the Resonant Language piece from Sarah Peyton. I reached out for empathy from my two NVC mentors, Peggy Smith & Leah Boyd. Still the inner and outer war raged.

Slowly, slowly, I opened to noting what was happening within me. There seemed to be a theme in my life: something would happen, and instead of talking to the person directly, I would talk to everyone else;and of course it was always the other person’s fault.

My habit over these years of conflict with my neighbor was to speed past his house (that sits six feet off the road), even when his kids were playing outside. This escalated to the point that we both found ways to nonverbally communicate, further breaking connection.

This was "eating my lunch," so I reached out for support from an empathy buddy. Several needs hit home – trust, consideration, communication – and I felt touched. I began to wonder why situations like this kept appearing in my life.

At that moment I realized I had a vow to avoid conflict regardless to the cost to myself; and trust you me, there had been. I think that evening I must have repeated the release, "I, Troy Henderson, hereby do release myself from the sacred vow to avoid conflict regardless of the cost to myself," twelve to fifteen times before going to bed, and many times since.

Later that night I had a dream. I dreamt that I was in a large space with my neighbor and I had a chance to own my behavior that didn’t align with my values. In the dream we both expressed ourselves, hugged, cried and owned what we had done, and asked each other for forgiveness. When I woke up I felt lighter and relieved. I had a new image in my head, my neighbor no longer had horns, a pitch fork or a pointed tail. In hindsight I believe his strategy was about the safety of his children.

Several days before I had been feeling upset and wanting fairness, because I knew I was right; my preferred strategy was to ask the town to make him stop. The town manager agreed to have the holes filled within the next few days and have a conversation with the neighbor about state statutes concerning right of ways. When the road crew showed up to fix the damage, the neighbor blocked them, stating, "It's a private way and you can’t fix it." Later that morning my partner Deb came home from work to find the neighbor's vehicle blocking access to our home. Deb didn't enjoying his strategy for connection and the two of them talked about who did what wrong for the last ten years. When she came home she felt annoyed and upset, she said she never dreamed that we would have anything other than a connection with our neighbors and she didn’t have much hope it would get better, even though the last thing he said to her was, "I just wish Troy would stop down and talk to me instead of getting the town or law enforcement involved – the door was open."

An hour later I slowly drove by the neighbor's to see if he was outside, and to my relief he wasn’t. Still wanting to avoid conflict, a piece of me felt relieved; and yet I felt the same discomfort as always from avoiding.

On my way home that day, as I made the corner onto our road I saw the neighbor’s van blocking the access to my property. I felt nervous and jittery; I wanted there to be peace and a connection between us. Approaching my truck, the neighbor asked if we could talk. My old habit of wanting to avoid conflict came up and I said I was busy at the moment, though I did want to talk, and I asked if we could do it in a public place instead of the town road.

He said, "This will only take a minute; I’ve told the town they can't fill the pot holes or the bump I created."

I asked him, "Is that what you wanted to tell me?"

He replied, "No." He restated this will only take a minute, so I got out of my truck to be more face–to–face.

He proceeded to tell me that what he had done was an attempt to keep people from driving through there fast; he was scared his five year old daughter would get hit, and he wanted his daughter to be safe.

At this point I asked, "Would you be willing to hear something I want to own?" He nodded his head, and I began to own the many times I drove by laying on the horn, driving forty plus miles an hour and not communicating directly about my frustrations. He offered the same apology and we stood in the middle of the road hugging. Two days later he helped me put up a "SLOW children and pets at play" sign and made the comment, "I wish we had done this ten years ago." I feel very grateful for my neighbor; he helped me get clear on what I value and how I had been stuck due to an impossible promise to myself.

My early years included many traumatic events that led to my vow to avoid conflict at any cost. My journey with NVC and Sarah Peyton’s work has guided and supported me as I unpack and heal these old patterns of disconnection and avoidance. I am so grateful.

Troy Henderson grew up in Rockland, Maine. He came to NVC through the Intentional Peer Support community. As Program Director at LINC in Augusta, Maine, Troy organized NVC trainings at the Center and then led practice groups for several years. Troy has participated in the Maine NVC Integration Program for four years and attended Sarah Peyton’s Maine workshops for three years. He is a committed husband and devoted grandfather. Troy is dedicated to helping people (including himself) heal from trauma and addictions.
email: twhhope at

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Upcoming Trainings

Trainings listed here are in the Maine region. If you wish to list an event, please follow our guidelines for submission. Please note that both certified and non–certified trainers, (who are willing to follow certain requirements of the Center for Nonviolent Communication), may be leading the posted trainings. Listing here does not imply endorsement by the Maine NVC Network of the trainer or the event.

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will begin in September 2019.

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  • Monthly Empathy Circle:
    Belfast, ME
    Second Friday of each month, 10am-1pm
    (formerly first Friday)
    25 Village Rd, Belfast
    You are welcome to come when you can.
    If this is your first time coming, please contact Linda beforehand:
    Phone 207-322-2122
    email: chezcote5 at

  • Authentic Communication Groups
    Falmouth, ME

    with Andrea Ferrante, trainer and coach
    Two groups meet biweekly, one on alternate Wednesdays; the other on alternate Mondays.
    Authentic Communication Groups are coaching groups designed to open you up to an approach to living that offers greater peace, personal empowerment, and conscious connection to that which sustains and enriches life. / FMI

  • See also the Practice Groups page.



  • Scholarship Fund for the Maine NVC Integration Program! By supporting a scholarship fund for the Maine NVC Integration Program, you will be helping bring together a more diverse group of people to experience this life-changing program, thus helping foster greater compassion and harmony individually and collectively. Please join us in supporting this fund in order to include individuals who otherwise would not be able to attend. Our goal is to raise $21,000. Contribute HERE


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