Every criticism, judgment, diagnosis, and expression of anger is the tragic expression of an unmet need.-Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg.
It is a manifestation of the powerlessness and/or despair of someone who is so powerless that they feel their words are no longer enough to be heard. So he attacks, he shouts, he assaults…
Here are some forms of emotional violence:
Part One: Towards Oneself
The way we communicate with ourselves can greatly affect our emotional well-being. It’s essential to take care of oneself in listening to others by considering one’s needs, feelings, talents, and impulses. However, many people struggle with judging themselves, devaluing themselves, or making themselves feel guilty. Sharing joys and pains can also be difficult, especially if we feel like no one is interested or if we are too demanding of ourselves. Here are some examples of emotional violence that we may direct toward ourselves:
- Not taking care of oneself in listening to others: This may include ignoring one’s own needs, feelings, talents, and impulses in order to please others or to avoid conflict.
- Judging oneself, devaluing oneself, making oneself feel guilty: We may have a tendency to be overly critical of ourselves, putting ourselves down for our mistakes or perceived shortcomings.
- Not daring to share joys/pains: Sharing our emotions with others can be difficult, especially if we feel like no one is interested in hearing what we have to say.
- Being too exigent: This may involve setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves, using phrases like “I should” or “I must” which can leave us feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
- Swallowing one’s words: Sometimes we may feel like there’s no point in talking about ourselves because no one is interested or because we don’t want to burden others with our problems.
Part Two: Towards Others
Our interactions with others can also have a significant impact on our emotional well-being. Unfortunately, many of us may not be aware of how our words and actions can be hurtful or emotionally violent towards others. Here are some examples of emotional violence that we may direct towards others:
- Judging, criticizing, comparing, and blaming: These behaviors can make the other person feel attacked or invalidated.
- Diagnosing and interpreting: Telling someone how they feel or what they are thinking can be frustrating and disempowering for the other person.
- Generalizing: Making broad statements about a group of people can be hurtful and reinforce harmful stereotypes.
- Maintaining a binary way of thinking: Thinking in terms of right and wrong, good and bad, can be limiting and prevent us from seeing the complexity of a situation.
- Demanding, forcing, and threatening: Using these tactics can make the other person feel powerless and afraid.
- Lack of time and willingness to listen to the other person: Not giving someone our full attention can make them feel like they are not important or valued.
- Giving unsolicited advice: Telling someone what to do without their permission can be condescending and disrespectful.
- Getting angry at the other person: Reacting with anger can escalate a situation and make the other person feel unsafe or invalidated.
- Denying our ability to choose or responsibility for a problem: Not taking responsibility for our actions can make the other person feel like we are not accountable for our behavior.
By becoming more aware of these forms of emotional violence, we can work towards creating healthier, more respectful relationships with ourselves and others.
Part Three: Consequences of Using Emotional Violence
Negative self-talk can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, anxiety, and depression. It can also lower self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence, making it harder for you to cope with difficult situations and make positive changes in your life. Using violent communication can create a hostile and unsafe environment, leading to feelings of fear, stress, and anxiety. It can also damage relationships and erode trust, making it harder for individuals to communicate effectively and work towards common goals. Using violent communication is counterproductive in all aspects of your life.
According to a survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council, 86% of employers prefer job applicants with great communication skills, and 83% responded that communication skills are a key consideration when employing new employees. Communication is fundamentally important to business and private success – and yet it’s something that so many people seem to struggle with because we never really learned to communicate properly.
If you want to improve your communication and become an expert in this most wanted skill, join us in the 30-day communication challenge for a better world.