Short version of the problem with Nonviolent Communication (NVC)


This is the short version of this post and this post:

  • In a conflict, sometimes one person is right and the other person is wrong
  • In such cases, it is important to judge the situation and figure out who is in the right
  • Emotional abuse exists
  • Working to meet an abuser’s emotional needs will…

annekewrites said:

Something I’d like to add:

Like any form of communication that is seen as “better than” some alternative, it creates barriers to actually communicating anything at all for at least some groups of people:

  • People who don’t know as many words to begin with, due to being younger, less educated, less experienced with a specific set of terminology, or whatever else
  • People who don’t know how to say things in English (or whatever language is being used) as well as they do in another language, especially if sentence structure works vastly differently in that language or if words didn’t quite translate properly
  • People who for whatever physical mental and/or developmental reasons have a harder time speaking (or writing, if that is the case instead) clearly or at all - even if they “know” the vocabulary, they might not be able to produce it on demand
  • If the conversation is spoken, people who have some sort of vocal quality that is stigmatized - whether it’s “too loud” or “too soft” or a “monotone” or a stigmatized accent or whatever else.

One of the things that I gave up as a result of getting a clue from my first MSW field placement is the practice of grammar snarking.  I had a field supervisor who is legally blind and who sometimes types the homonym of the word he actually meant without realizing it, because first of all, he can’t see what he wrote very well and secondly, the spellcheck doesn’t catch that necessarily.  I also had a colleague in the placement who had disability-related speech difficulties, and really it was more important to understand the content of what she was saying than it was for her to have to phrase it in some prescribed manner, especially one with lots of extra words.

This entire topic frustrates me so much - I, too, have been gaslit by people who seemed to think that if they just used the nice words it would disguise the unacceptable content, and who got very upset when they realized it didn’t work on me.