Nonviolent Communication can hurt people




People who struggle interpersonally, who seem unhappy, or who get into a lot of conflicts are often advised to adopt the approach of Nonviolent Communication.

This is often not a good idea. Nonviolent Communication is an approach…

I DO agree with this and found it a useful critique, but no, AFAIK NVC is not primarily taught to the mentally ill, nor is it commonly used as an anti-abuse strategy. Rather, I’ve seen it used mostly in situations like the one described way above: relationship counselling, family therapy and as an advanced tool for people who have trouble with impulse control. It’s also a communication strategy in group therapy to create safe environments. It’s not meant to be a fix-all for every situation and I have not yet met any therapists who treat it as such.

realsocialskills said:

You may not have encountered any, but a lot of people who reblogged this post have. They exist.

Or even when it’s not treated as a fix-all, it’s often treated as a moral imperative for the absolute last people who should be adopting it.

People with mental illnesses get read as “people who have trouble with impulse control” and who need to be taught to use NVC, a lot. The fact that you haven’t encountered it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

Also, in couples counseling, it’s not uncommon for one partner to be abusive. In groups, it’s not uncommon for some of the group members to be abusive. In groups that contain abusive members, adopting NVC ground rules makes the group *less* safe, because they make it impossible to respond to abusive behavior with appropriate judgements.

NVC can also cause problems if no one is being abusive if there’s a power dynamic in the group that some members find it painful to acknowledge. They can end up using their pain as a shield to prevent having to acknowledge it. This is particularly likely if the less powerful people have been conditioned to believe that they have to take care of the emotions of powerful people.

I statements and reserving judgement can be powerful tools. But when they’re seen as overriding moral imperatives, bad things happen.