Knights Without Armor (KWoA)

Language Lab

This outline will be helpful in preparing for your evening with KWoA.

It lays out the basic guidelines for clear communication, each chosen with the intention of me FEELING, rather than avoiding the truth of what I say.

Making the head and habit shift toward using the language patterns below can take time and effort. You may receive gentle reminders from the group as you get used to this to help you see the transition, not to shame you for missing something. One non-verbal cue is when you see a man pointing strongly at himself - a reminder to replace a "you" statement with an I-statement.

Adopting these simple concepts changes men's circles forever...

Topics covered:

Minimizing feelings:   Avoid using adverbs such as: ‘Maybe, Perhaps, A Little Bit.’ Note: I’m not ‘A Little Mad’; I’m Mad! Stating my emotions simply and clearly has more impact.

Advice: Do not give personal advice or allow personal advice to be requested or received. Remember that advice is always the work (the projections) of the man seeking to give the advice. As well, Advice never leads to a physical Truth Response indicating the man is making progress toward his Gold. Advice never works. Advice given, requested or received is an excuse for not doing work. (Personal advice is different from technical advice, e.g., learning a trade.) Avoid ‘Advisory Circles’.

"And", not "But": 'But' erases everything I just said ... By using 'And' rather than 'But', I affirm the truth of both parts of my sentence.

Feelings vs Thought Statements:  Stay mindful of the difference between (body) sensations, emotions/feelings and thoughts. 'I feel that' & 'I feel like' are NOT feelings. They mean 'I think that' or 'I judge that'. In circle, limit FEELINGS to "Mad, Sad, Glad, Scared, and Ashamed.”

"I" Statements:  Use the first person, not the second person, when discussing my own experience. If I say, "You know when you come home late from work and your wife is angry with you?" ­ I am talking about my experience. Rephrase as "I came home late from work and my wife was angry with me." This is important for two reasons:

Negatives (ACTIVE VS.PASSIVE ): Speak to ‘What It Is’ and ‘What I Want’; avoid talking in terms of ‘What it isn’t’ or ‘What I don’t want'. Example: Instead of saying “It wasn’t good!” say “It was Bad!” (Facilitators:"Okay; but in this circle we don't talk about what things aren't or what we don't want. If it wasn't good, what was it? If that's what you don't want, what is it you want?")

Open-Ended Questions:  Avoid asking questions that can be answered “Yes”, “No”, “Mom”, “Dad” or with any other one​­ word answer. Avoiding Closed-​­Ended Questions is important for three reasons:

Note to facilitators: Reframing Closed​­-Ended Questions is surprisingly simple! Gently invite the man asking the question to reframe the question as Open-​­Ended. "How" is especially useful for this purpose. Example: "How did your relationship with your father change? ” Note: Occasionally, closed­-ended questions are used intentionally as part of a process where the purpose is to obtain a specific answer from a man. E.g. in Clearings: "Whose work is this?" The ONLY acceptable answer is "My work" ­ anything else and it will be a Dumping and Wounding, not a Clearing.

Rescue: Rescue means 'I'll go easy on you, in the hope you'll go easy on me. I'll let you avoid doing your work, if you let me avoid doing mine'. Especially: do not touch a man when he is crying, comfort him verbally, offer him tissues, etc. Simply sit and hold space for the man in silence. If I have a need to make him "feel better", that is about ME. By interrupting him, I move him back into his head and rob him of the opportunity to experience emotional healing.

Shadow Magician: Men in this archetype talk ‘around’ rather than ‘to’ things, avoiding both feeling and doing real work. A typical behavior: Smiling when sad or angry. (Facilitators: Ask the man to talk 'to' what he is trying to say, rather than 'around' it.) Remember: a man in his head is likely a man in FEAR. What's at risk for me if I move into my heart?

Shaming Words: Avoid using ‘Why’ and ‘Should’, which are Shaming Words (“Why did you do that? This is what you should do!”). Ask questions and express anger cleanly, without shaming. Just as with Closed​­ Ended Questions, if I use ‘why’ or ‘should’, I have an opinion as to what the answer needs to be – and am facilitating from a place of Shadow.

Work vs Recital or Performance: Work is about creating the possibility of progress and deeper understanding. Unless there is space for achieving clarity concerning 'From this place, what I am going to do going forward?', it’s NOT work; it is a PERFORMANCE. If a man simply tells the same story again and again, call him on it: say “That Sounds Like A Recital To Me”.

Written by Murray Altman, with further edits by KWoA

Feel free to contact us with questions or comments!