Anti Patterns of Communication
I spent time on thinking about Nonviolent Comunication. I watched videos of Marshal Rosenberg. They give the context for this essay.
I’d rather call it peaceful communication or “Giraffe”. I was raised with the other language which Marshal names “Jackal”.
In this blog post I want to present some patterns of Jackal language I use, analyse them and present responses to it, either by me, recognizing this language, or by others.
Note that these patterns apply to a communiaction style and thus apply to people, groups and states.
Jackal Pattern 1: Create Guilt and Offer Redemption
In one short sentence
I do not want to do X so I make you feel guilty and offer redemtion throught doing X for me.
You want an action X to be done in order to achieve goal Y. You do not want to do X, that is a given. You are willing to make other people suffer so they do it in your place.
The other person resists all your attempts of pressure. These attempts could be:
- Make the other person believe they should have done it earlier when it was easy to do, now they owe this deed. “You could have printed this when you were at the office.”
- Make the other person believe you would suffer if they decline. “I am under so much pressure already.”
- Make the other person responsible for your actions. “I want to do so much good and you hinder me if I do X.”
- Make the other person ignore their own wishes. “You always take and never give back.”
- Generalize and specialize excluding yourself. “It is important to do X. So you should do X from time to time. From time to time is when I say it.”
- Appeal to a stereotype that includes the person but excludes you. “Men cannot cook.”
- To amplify the pressure, amplify the feeling of guilt. The person that should feel guilt assumes other people think alike. Get other people to listen to the conversation. Even if they do not respond, they amplify the pressure. To amplify it even more, let them agree with you once you created some guilt.
Talk to the other person.
- Begin with the goal Y that you would like to achieve.
- Say how this improves your life.
- Tell the strategy you would like to use. Oftentimes they know an other strategy that can help, too.
- Tell the person what hinders you to do the strategy.
- Ask for help and council.
These steps can help instead of the other person refusing to surrender.
Jackal Pattern 2: Divide and Conquer
In a short sentence
Resolve the connection between two people and focus on them separately.
Jackal Pattern 3: Generalize and Specialize
This is especially easy in Jackal language since it diffuses
- Responsibility through “must”, “should”
- Removing the subject: “The language does …”
- Feelings through “good”, “bad”
- Character through stereotypes: “men”, “nazis”
- People through group affiliation: “they”, “we”
- Processes through Nouns: “affiliation”
- You like the other person to acknowledge something you are not so sure of so you feel reassured.
- You care for a person and you want the person to do what you think is good for the person. You want a person to do what you see other people do.
Note that this works if (A) you and (B) the person have the same relation to (C) the group. In case you have a negative relationship to the person and the group, this can be used to trick the other person into this behavior to have a more understood attacking ground.
In a short sentence
We do it so you must do it or you are not one of us.
The other person tells you why they do it but does not change behavior.
When your motivation is for the wellbeing of the other person, tell them that first and then what you think. They can understand your concerns.
Jackal Pattern 4: Swallow and Burst out
In a short sentence
Swallow all about a person “B” and when it is too much, let it all burst out.
When you experience negative feelings towards a person, you do not address them. Instead, you hold a silent grudge against them. This can be if you like(d) the other person but you fear talking about this because it touches your emotions and this is shaky ground for you and the other person. You fear getting hurt in in uncontrollable way so you inflict hurt onto yourself in a controller way.
The other person thinks you dislike them.
When you feel the need to talk, tell the “B”, that you would like “B” to know that you some thoughts madden you and really make life misarable for you. Talk about every single instance separately and wait so you understand “B”’s view.
Jackal Pattern 5: Mean Allegation
In a short sentence:
Label the other person “B” openly as something negative so “B” is forced to react in a way that pleases us.
“You do that only to make my life miserable.”
- You would like to know the reasoning behind a behavior but you do not know how to ask directly or you fear to do so.
- You would like to hear that “B” likes you but this seems too trivial to say.
- “B” may take it personal in a way that was not intended or refuses to answer.
- It is not possible to say the same thing again because that makes you loose face or “B” focusses on being judged as stupid instead of mean.
You usually have a reason to say this mean thing. Tell the reason so that “B” can understand it and lend a hand. Because “B” actually likes you, “B” will help.
The pattern schema was borrowed from the book “Generative Beauty Patterns” by the Generative Beauty Project, Iba Laboratory, Keio University, Endo, Japan issued in 2012. This book can be found in an other pattern style here.