Monday, August 15, 2011

Violently Using Non-Violent Communication

Anything which can be used can be misused, and therefore anything powerful can be powerfully misused.

It's important to avoid the trap of using Non-Violent Communication as weapons instead of as tools. For instance, knowing that your partner (or anyone) has just spoken a judgment is not a license to judge them! That will just create an unmet need in them, which they will likely throw back at you as a judgment, and the only benefit you'll have gotten out of NVC is using it to have arguments at a higher level - about process instead of about content. But they're still arguments, and they will leave everyone's needs just as unmet.

And eventually you'll get the "You're doing that thing again, that NVC thing. Stop doing that to me!"

If you hear this or some phrase like it - sometimes the person says, "You’re not my therapist," what they are communicating is that you are using the techniques of nonjudgment from a judgmental place. The idea here is not to change your words or to change your partner. The idea is to change where you stand in the world, so you really see your partner as your equal and on the same side as you, and to communicate FROM there. All the techniques are aimed at helping YOU notice where  YOU are.

So if you notice your partner talking in judgments, you haven't caught them in a mistake, you've just noticed they have an unmet need and so now you're in a position to help them get it met.

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