Jackal Language & Reactivity
In NVC we use the term jackal to refer to any type of thinking, language, or behavior that disconnects from feelings and needs.
Some common forms of jackal language and thinking include: judgment ("you are a loving person"), demands ("I don't care what you want, just do as I say!"), denial of responsibility ("I have to, it's my job"), and deserve ("You deserve a promotion").
You likely find yourself reacting to this kind of language in one of four ways: defend, attack, submit, or withdraw/avoid.
In defend, you offer all the good reasons you have for doing what you did.
In attack, you let the other person know how they are wrong or bad in some way.
In submit, you take on the other's jackal about you (e.g., I guess you are right I was being lazy, I am so sorry).
In withdraw you find yourself moving away, physically, emotionally, or both. You might also quickly change the subject in a conversation.
You are working to watch these reactions and the jackal language that goes with them, rather than believe them and act from them. Once you can just, "enjoy the jackal show" without acting from it, you can take the next step and translate your jackals into feelings and needs.
In which of the four reactions, defend, attack, submit, or withdraw, do you most often find yourself? With what body positions and movements, thoughts, and words, do you express that reaction?
This week notice when you find yourself in one of these reactions. See if you can watch the reaction without acting from it. Then start guessing the feelings and needs that are alive for you underneath the reaction (self-empathy). After connecting with your feelings and needs decide what action/request you want to make of yourself or someone else to meet your needs.