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Communication Tip:

Originally written by Kerry for tutorial reference material, rewritten for Communication Weekly.

Acknowledging—a well kept secret

This article could also be titled, "Acknowledging: The Art and Ethics of Manipulation." Most people are unaware that one cannot not manipulate others. Most undesirable results are produced unconsciously and non-verbally. I've yet to come across a cheating "victim" who, during a coaching consultation, did not acknowledge that he/she, using their highly developed leadership-communication skills, manipulated (albeit unconsciously) their spouse into deceiving him/her. i.e. Once one experiences enlightenment one can see that at some level they always knew. Not unlike a masseuse, the secret is to manipulate in a way that everyone feels good (read definition of acknowledgment). Also read (Creating a marriage vow that precludes cheating).

For example:
Even though I know how it works, and I can absolutely tell when someone is doing it to me (because they know it works), it still has the same effect, and I love it. I'm referring to when I'm at a desk and someone comes up and touches my shoulder and says, "That's good Kerry" or any other reassuring comment. A wave of euphoria rushes through me. In neurolinguistics it's called anchoring a desired behavior. Acknowledgment used intentionally with children and lovers works magic.

Ironically, undesirable behaviors can be anchored by touching or spanking or criticism; even an unconsciously delivered condescending stink-eye causes more of the same. Think of criticism (or a non-verbal make-wrong) as a physical phenomenon, a wave of energy particles hitting someone. Criticisms don't feel good, they are in fact abusive; the negative effect often remains for life unless a criticism is followed up with an acknowledgment such as, "I get that my criticism earlier today didn't feel good."

Inappropriate acknowledgment has undesirable effects:

If a teacher unconsciously lies and say's, "That was very good" when in fact it was mediocre, it's the beginning of the end of respect of the teacher. The lie becomes an unacknowledged incomplete, a barrier to the experience of communication. All failing students have one or more things for which the teacher did not acknowledge either the student or his/her parents (there are no exceptions to this phenomenon).

Adults and children thrive on pleasing their loved ones. If you ain't
pleasing or being pleased then there is something that's not being
acknowledged. Did you know that most arguing is about something else that is not being acknowledged verbally in the relationship? Dramatized anger, anger that lasts longer than ten seconds, is seldom about the burnt toast.

Resentment in a relationship most always can be traced to a specific incident in which either, one partner did not acknowledge the other for something (good or bad) or, one did not request to be acknowledged.

Some examples:
"Guess who didn't thank me for doing the laundry?"
"Guess who deserves a massage tonight?"
"Medal please, I vacuumed the entire house today."
"Tell me you appreciate me for taking care of the car."
"I heard you say you'd pick me up at 8:00, yes?" [This creates space for the agreement breaker to acknowledge, "Yes, I get that I lied."]
The ego likes to believe it's above asking for acknowledgment but few of us are that enlightened. Failing to ask for acknowledgment is a setup, to be right, that he/she doesn't appreciate me, etc. All divorces begin with a withhold, most always a thought that was not acknowledged verbally at the very beginning. A thought withheld occupies space, it's communicated non-verbally, it serves as a barrier to the experience of communication, ergo, of love.

The Clearing Process for Couples (it's free) is an excellent way to uncover and complete withholds and resentments so as to be fully acknowledged.

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Check back occasionally for minor edits (last edited 8/16/14)

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