Non-Violent Communication

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing, and right-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.– Rumi

Our biggest concern who is what ? Judgments.

Non- violent communication is about connecting with our natural behaviour of giving. Compassion is our basic nature. We all always blame others for our miserable life and cry for not having choices. It is an approach to nonviolent living developed by Marshall Rosenberg in the 1960s.

Non violent communication makes us conscious of choices available to us. It makes us do, what we already know. Life is a wonderful game and Nonviolent Communication (NVC) helps us create a high quality of connection ,out of which people contribute to one another’s well-being and make one another’s life wonderful.

  • Anything we don’t do naturally, everyone pays for it.
  • Anything we do out for fear or for reward.We pay for it.
  • You can’t teach anything to anyone until they want it.
  • To change someone , we need a quality connection.



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OBSERVATION : Observe the situation without diagnosing or being judgmental. Observe the situation without evaluating or judging.
A pure observation is without comparison to the past.

FEELING : How we feel in relation to what we are observing.Feelings are always related to your body, and never involve others.

NEEDS : A psychic or basic need is about oneself. The needs, values, desires, etc. that are creating our feelings .

REQUEST : The concrete action we are requesting in order to enrich our lives. Phrase a specific request positively, speaking kindly, but firmly and clearly.

  1. “When I see your school books on the bed. “(Observation)
  2. “I feel irritated” (Feeling)
  3. “because I am needing more order in your room .” (Need)
  4. “Would you be willing to put your books on your study tables or in your school bag. “(Request)

If the response lacks clarity or seems disconnected, then request feedback.

“So I know that you understood me, would you tell me what you heard me say.

Blocking Communication through 4 Ds of Disconnect

(Violent Communication)

  • Diagnose( (judgment, analysis, criticism, comparison):
  • Deserve:
  • Deny choice / responsibility:
  • Demand:


Telling people our diagnosis rather than what we need.Blame, insults, put-downs (critical remark), labels, criticism, comparisons, and diagnoses are all forms of judgment.When we judge, as a result, we increase defensiveness and resistance from others. It decreases the likelihood of getting we want and increases the likelihood of violence.


  • “The problem with you is that you’re too selfish.”(Judgement)
  • “She is lazy.” (Judgement)
  • Why can’t you be like your brother?” (comparison)
  • “You are so stupid.” (labelling and insult)
  • “You are so intelligent.” (positive labelling)


Judging who is right, wrong, good, bad, and who deserves to be rewarded or punished.It assumes “badness” and calls for punishment to make them repent and change their behaviour. It is in everyone’s interest that people change, not in order to avoid punishment, but because they see the change as benefiting themselves.


  • He deserves to be punished for what he did.”
  • “People who hurt others deserve to be punished.” – deserve oriented language
  • “I’d like to see people who hurt others be given the opportunity to make amends for harm.”


We are each responsible for our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. The phrase “You make me feel guilty” is an example of how language facilitates the denial of personal responsibility for our
own feelings and thoughts.

Blaming others for our feelings, obscuring choice by saying “I had to” or “You have

  • You make me feel guilty.”
  • “I cleaned my room because I had to.” ( impersonal forces)
  • “I drink because I am alcoholic.” (diagnosis or psychological history)
  • “I lied because my boss told me to.” (dictates of authority.
  • “I start smoking because all my friends did.” (group pressure.)
  • “I do it because I am a husband and a father.” (gender, social or age roles. )


Communicating our desires as demands A demand explicitly or implicitly threatens listeners with blame or punishment if they fail to comply. It is a common form of communication in our culture especially among those who hold position of authority.

Threatening, bribing, bullying, inducing fear of punishment or promise of reward to,” inducing guilt and / or shame.


  • “If you don’t help me I won’t lend it to you.” (demand with punishment)
  • “It is going to be a shame if you don’t show up.” (demand with blame)

Learning Non-violent Communication(NVC)

Expressing honesty through the four components

Receiving emphatically through the four components


  • “Rajan was angry with me yesterday for no reason.” – evaluation
  • “Rajan told me he was angry” – observation (NVC)
  • “Rajan pounded his fist on the table” – observation (NVC)
  • “Naidu is a good man.” – evaluation
  • “For the last ten years Naidu has given one fourth of his salary to charity. – observation (NVC)
  • “Tina is aggressive .”- evaluation
  • Tina hit her sister, when she switched off the television channel.” – observation (NVC)
  • “You are going to fail. “- evaluation
  • “Be careful , I fear that you could fail.” – NVC
  • He is a poor football player.- evaluation
  • He has not scored a goal in 20 games . – observation (NVC)

Don’t Exaggerate

Be careful with the words always, never, ever, whenever, frequently.Sometimes such words are used as exaggerations, in which case observations and evaluations are being mixed.

  • “You are always busy.”
  • “She is never there when she’s needed.”

In such cases they often provoke defensiveness rather than compassion. Observations are to be made specific to time and context.



1.Distinguish feelings from thoughts (opinion, interpretations).
  • I feel that you should know better.” – thought (“I think…”)
  • I feel it is useless.” – thought (“I think…”) }“I
  • I feel you don’t love me.” – opinion (“I think…”) “
  • “I feel you are annoying me on purpose.” – opinion (“I think…”)
  • “I feel I am being unkind to them.” – opinion (“I think…”)

All the above statements are thoughts and not feelings, I feel doesn’t necessarily means feelings.

  • “I feel frustrated.” – feeling
  • ” I feel scared when you say that” – feeling
  • “I am sad that you’re leaving” – feeling
2. Distinguish between words that express feelings and those that describe what we think we are (self opinion).
  • “I feel inadequate as a guitar player.” – opinion of my ability
  • “I feel (disappointed, impatient, frustrated) with myself as a guitar player.” – feelings
3. Differentiate between words that express feelings and those that describe how we think others are behaving towards (or around) us.
  • I feel misunderstood.” – my opinion about the other person level of understanding
  • “I feel ignored. – interpretation of the action of others rather than a clear statement of how I am feeling
  • When you don’t greet me, I feel neglected.” – interpretation


“It hurts Mommy and Daddy when you get poor grades at school


Acknowledging the root of our feelings. What others say and do may be the stimulus, but never the cause of our feelings. We see that our feelings result from how we choose to receive what others say or do, as well as our particular needs and expectations in that moment.

We accept responsibility for what we do to generate our own feelings. We accept responsibility rather than blame other people for our feelings by acknowledging our own needs, desires, expectations, values, or thoughts.

1. Denial of responsibility by using impersonal nouns

We should not use improper pronouns like it, one etc frequently.

  • It really infuriates me when spelling mistakes appear in our sales presentations.”
  • “I feel infuriated when spelling mistakes like that appear in our sales presentations, because I want our company to project a professional image.” – NVC
  • Little things people say sometimes hurt me.”
  • “Sometimes when people say little things, I feel hurt because I want to be appreciated, not criticised.” – NVC
2. Denial of responsibility by mention of the actions of others only :
  • “Mommy is disappointed when you don’t finish your food.”
  • “Mommy feels disappointed when you don’t finish your food, because I want you to grow up strong and healthy.” – NVC
  • “You irritate me when you leave company documents on the conference room floor.”
  • “I’m irritated when you leave company documents on the conference floor, because I want our documents to be safely stored and accessible.” – NVC
  • “I feel frustrated when you come late.”
  • “I feel frustrated when you come late, because I was hoping we’d be able to get some front-row seats.” – NVC
  • “I feel happy that you received that award.”
  • “When you received that award, I felt happy because I was hoping you’d be recognised for all the work you’d put into the project.” – NVC
3. Denial of responsibility by “I feel … because you”:
  • “I feel angry because the supervisor broke her promise.”
  • “I feel angry when the supervisor broke her promise, because I was counting on getting that long weekend to visit my brother.” – NVC
  • “I feel disappointed because you said you would do it and you didn’t.”
  • “When you said you’d do it and then didn’t, I feel disappointed because I want to be able to rely upon your words.” – NVC
  • “You disappointed me by not coming over last evening.” – denial of responsibility.
  • “I was disappointed when you didn’t come over, because I wanted to talk some things that were bothering me.” – NVC
  • They made me sit there without moving for a whole hour” – denial or responsibility.
  • “I chose to sit there without moving for a whole hour because I wanted to try out the teacher’s instructions.”-NVC”

NVC Replace “I have to” with “I choose to”, and “I should” with “I might }

4. Replace DEMANDS with REQUESTS

We can replace language that implies lack of choice with language that acknowledge choice.

  • You have to attend school until you’re 16.” – demand language
  • “We’d like you to attend school until you’re 16 because we value a solid education.” – without demand
  • “You know how lonely I am feeling. If you really loved me, you’d spend the evening with me.” – demand (guilt trip)
  • “I am lonely and would like you to spend the evening with me.”


EXAMPLE 1: “Your dog just made a mess on my lawn.”

Non-Violent Communication
  • “When I see your dog leaving turds on the lawn.” (Observation)
  • I feel upset. ” (Feeling)
  • We have kids who play here and I want the yard to be safe, clean space for them.” (Need)
  • Would you be willing to use this plastic bag to remove the turds?” (Request)

EXAMPLE 2 : “ This bad behaviour will not get you what you want.”

Non-Violent Communication
  • “When I hear you addressing me like that.” ( Observation)
  • “I feel agitated.” (Feeling)
  • “because I need cooperation and a peaceful resolution of our differences.” (Need)
  • Are you willing to tell me what you are feeling and needing right now instead of what you think I am?” (Request)

EXAMPLE 3: “Why don’t you Switch off the fan , when you leave your room. Don’t waste electricity. It costs money.”

  • When I see you leaving the room without switching off the fan. (Observation)
  • I feel uneasy . (Feeling)
  • I want to save money on electricity every month so that we can go for a short trip.(Need)
  • Would you be willing to put them off ? (Request)

EXAMPLE 4: You told me two weeks ago that it would be fine if I take my three days leave this month.

  • “When I hear you say ‘no’ to my taking a three days leave this month and then remember you saying two weeks ago that it would be fine.”(Observation)
  • ” I feel frustrated and confused.” (Feeling)
  • “I need more clarity and” (Need)
  • “Would you give some reassurance that we are communicating accurately.” (Request)

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