Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Five, Issue Seven:
What might we do when communication breaks down?

Our newsletter appears once a month around the time of the full moon. 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..


What might we do when communication breaks down?

by Peggy Smith, CNVC certified NVC trainer

"HELP!! They won’t talk to me. What can I do?"

Recently on the CNVC trainer’s list-serve, a distress message came in. The list is a place for certified NVC trainers to reach out to each other. Sometimes we ask for help; sometimes we express celebrations; and often we share teaching tools with each other. It’s a way to connect with the global NVC trainer community.

The message that came in began:

"What do you do when you have a conflict and the other party would not talk directly and only communicates via email and then stops communicating? And then s/he stops communicating via email (one of the people in question actually wrote: "I am not interested in talking – unless you will now change what you are doing.")."

Within a few hours the following response arrived from Jeff Brown, of Columbus, Ohio.* I find Jeff’s understanding, practice and clarity of expression exquisite, and with his permission share it with you here.

What comes to me is that I remind myself that NVC is primarily about my inner world and not about external outcomes.

While I have found that living NVC consciousness often leads other people to be more open and collaborative with me, it's not always the case.

Plus, if my goal has anything to do with expecting other people to change their behavior, I am missing the mark about my own intention in living NVC.

The only thing that I can control is my own behavior and my own reactions, so therefore mostly I use NVC as way to get my inner world in alignment with my own values, and that this alone increases my well being.

Occasionally I use protective force if someone is doing something that is actively blocking me from my well being, but my experience has been that these cases are rare for me and that usually, I can become creative and dance around the person rather than confronting them directly.

So my answer to your question about what I would do in a situation like yours is:

Finally, I remember hearing Marshall say on many occasions that there is no such thing as "not communicating," so I empathically guess that someone who says, "I'm not talking to you any more unless you change your behavior!" is hurting very much and scared to death that they will lose something that is precious to them if they continue talking with you.

Plus, even if they remain silent for a long time – or even for the rest of their life – they are communicating very loudly and I can continue to be in empathy with that, if only silently and inside myself.

To me, Jeff gives a clear example of how NVC can guide us to a place of inner empowerment. . . a place where I am not a victim of others. . . where I can let my innate compassionate nature find its full clear voice. Let us all practice asking for help when we loose touch with that empowerment – and build the chorus of compassionate "voices" by what we do and what we say.

* Jeff Brown is the Executive Director of The Compassionate Communication Center of Ohio.

Peggy Smith is a Center For Nonviolent Communication certified trainer who lives in Lincolnville, ME. She shares NVC in public workshops, at a local correctional facility, and at a variety of Maine businesses. Her business, Open Communication, is located in Belfast, ME.

Further Practice:

  1. Watch this short video
    What comes up for you watching this video? If you are willing, send your reflection to us via email

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.

Sept. 2014 – June 2015
Maine NVC Integration Program
NOTE: Registration
for the Integration Program
CLOSES on Aug. 18, 2014.

Opening My Heart – Opening Communication
An Intermediate NVC Experience
Enrollment Deadline August 18th!
Taught by Peggy Smith and Leah Boyd
pdf icon details and registration

Feedback from current participants:
"This is FAR more than I imagined."
"This is just what I was hoping for and more so!"
"The practices are so accessible and I am getting so many insights already."
"I am so grateful and looking forward to the home practice."


September 27-28, Lewiston, ME
Clear & Compassionate Communication

Taught by Leah Boyd / pdf icon details and registration


October 18-19, Bangor, ME
Building Sustainable & Vibrant Relationships

This is a fundraiser for Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine
Taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration


November 7-9, South Portland, ME
From Conflict to Connection: the basics of NVC

Taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration


November 15-16, Lewiston, ME
Clear & Compassionate Communication for Professionals

Taught by Leah Boyd / pdf icon details and registration



Invitation to
Monthly Empathy Circle

No meeting in August of 2014. Resuming in Sept.
Meets first Friday of each month
at Open Communication office
243 High Street, Belfast, ME
You are welcome to come when you can. If this is your first time coming, please contact Linda beforehand:
Phone 322-2122 / email

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Join the Maine NVC Network
Yahoo Group

The group is moderated and is only used for announcements of regional workshops and other Maine NVC Network events. Inclusion in list serve announcements does not imply endorsement by the Network.


Call for Volunteers

The health of the Network depends on the joyful efforts of all who yearn to bring nonviolent consciousness to our region.
To learn more, email our volunteer coordinator.

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Portland, ME, Practice Group Seeks New Members

All levels welcome! You don't have to have any NVC experience to benefit or contribute. Please invite others!

Meets weekly, Thursdays from 6:30-8:30 pm

Email Amanda and we’ll tell you where we’re meeting.

We will apply a particular NVC principle or skill to support us in something real in our lives at the moment.



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Nonviolent Communication, Mindfullness, Empathy and Presence








Paid Announcements

Clarity Services, LLC
Now Accepting Clients

Helping groups of people think together collaboratively and effectively
Free 30 minute initial consultation:
1-877-833-1372 / email


Open Communication

welcomes individuals and couples, who want NVC-based support, to meet with them at their new office in Belfast, ME
Please contact Peggy:
207-789-5299 / email


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