What is 'Violent' Communication?

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"If “violent” means acting in ways that result in hurt or harm, then much of how we communicate—judging others, bullying, having racial bias, blaming, finger pointing, discriminating, speaking without listening, criticising others or ourselves, name-calling, reacting when angry, being defensive or judging who’s “good/bad” or what’s “right/wrong” with people—could indeed be called “violent communication.”

Marshall Rosenberg


Nonviolent Commuication Is

The Integration Of 4 Things

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  1. Consciousness: a set of principles that support living a life of empathy, care, courage, and authenticity

  2. Language: understanding how words contribute to connection or distance

  3. Communication: knowing how to ask for what we want, how to hear others even in disagreement, and how to move toward solutions that work for all

  4. Means of influence: sharing “power with others” rather than using “power over others


Nonviolent Communication Serves Our Desire To Do 3 Things

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  1. Increase our ability to live with choice, meaning, and connection

  2. Connect empathically with self and others to have more satisfying relationships

  3. Sharing of resources so everyone is able to benefit

"What others do may be the stimulus for our feelings, but never the cause"

Marshal Rosenberg

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This is the fundamental premise of Nonviolent Communication.  As long as we hold others responsible for how we feel in relation to something they said or did, we are reacting with judgement, blame or criticism.  It is true to say that things happen outside of us that are painful for us to experience.  This was the case for me as a child.  In childhood we long to be held with care, protected, nurtured and loved.  Anything less is tragic and damaging for the young, developing human being.  However, as an adult, NVC invites us to acknowledge the pain we are experiencing in the present as a result of something that has happened or is happening and to grow the awareness of choice and self response-ability.  From this place, NVC gives us the language to make it known that we are in pain and to enter dialouge with those around us as to what would make life wonderful for us.