“Jackal” language is an NVC term that refers to critical communication that labels, judges and blames.

It’s my opinion that this kind of thinking can have an important place in helping us moving on from difficult feelings and experiences. Jackal language offers us an opportunity to get in touch with the feelings and needs behind the words. If you don’t face those judging words you may just end up pushing them down only to see them pop up again and again.

I wanted to share a link to an online Jackal Dictionary. I love that you can click on typical jackal phrases we might say and you can see examples of feelings and needs that might be behind the phrase.

jackal speak: “He’s a bully!”

  • feelings: angry, indignant, disillusioned
  • needs: fairness, autonomy, honour

jackal speak: “I work hard; I deserve to come home to a clean house.”

  • feelings: disappointed, exhausted, resentful
  • needs: ease, mutuality, support

jackal speak: “Why are you so mean?”

  • feelings: afraid, confused
  • needs: love, warmth, acceptance


I’ve had a friend visit this week so I’m a bit behind on my reading and responding to comments. Don’t forget to put your name in for the NVC book giveaway that ends Monday when we do the draw.

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7 Responses to Letting Your Jackals Out

  1. Oooh, I love it!

    (feelings: excited, grateful, amazed
    needs met: resources, ease, availability)


  2. Mickey S says:

    Brrrilliant <— said with rolling "r's" in a strong "Limey" slur
    (reading a Rebus novel at the moment,
    Hence the accent)

  3. ella says:

    i <3 there's a dictionary for this! thank you for sharing! :D

  4. Debbie says:

    This is EXACTLY what I needed. I’m still new enough to this that I feel I struggle with knowing what my needs are. Hmmm…might have to look a bit deeper into that dark pit. :)

  5. Sarah says:

    Oh WOW! This is awesome…almost too good to be true! My mind is still so programmed to talk like a jackal, this will be immensely helpful to me (and I’m going to send it on to friends) as I am really starting to focus on unpicking all this. I’ve been stuck in limbo- I can push my jackals down and stay calm but I’m not very consistent when it comes to expressing the feelings and needs clearly…this should widen my emotional vocabulary a lot!!
    Brilliant, thanks so much for sharing that ;)

  6. Dawn Suzette says:

    Thanks for this Annie!

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