Dear Skeptic and Brad:
Have a look at this website. Its on workplace bullying. I think it gives insight
into a sector of the population for which Skeptic's trainer professed to have no insight.
Section Three lists qualities that serial bullies find irresistable.
Take a close look at that section--though dont forget the other material, either.
Then, ask how closely this matches up with persons committed to peace, social justice--and committed to teaching and learning nonviolent communication.
I would see nonviolent communication as just one tool among many.
Use it--but expect a competant trainer to know and to acknowledge that there are situations where nonviolent communication can be used against you by persons in bad faith--which means knowing when you are in a situation where you must stop using that method.
If nonviolent communication is taught as one method among many, with no grand world view that you must buy into, fine. If taught as one tool among many, you should be taught to recognize what persons and groups can be negotiated with using nonviolent commication and when to recognize you are not with that kind of group or person, and when to abandon use of nonviolent commication and better protect yourself by using a different model, including when necessary support from an attorney who cheerfully and competantly utilizes the adversarial model.
Here's a problem. If you are also taught a total world view along with the nonviolent communication
, and if this total world view refuses to acknowledge the presence of persons who are in bad faith, then that world view, plus the nonviolent communication, will leave you only able to work with persons who play by that same rule book. You will be left defenseless in relation to persons in bad faith.(Now, if a group is upfront and says that death, economic disadvantage, and being ripped off by crooks who take advantage of your nonviolent commitment and even see you as a mark because of your beliefs--if the training group admits these really
are the prices one pays to live nonviolently in a violent world, and says this UP FRONT--at least you can decide for yourself if you want to live this way--or impose this burden on your family. A group that teaches that martyrdom is part of the deal at least acknowledges the presences of bullies and violent people who aint going to change. This martyrdom career works best if you are single and celibate, BTW. )
Worse, you may attract persons in bad faith. Like that gal who serially ripped off that cluster of good cause entities and who was shrewd enough to make the rounds of the local Quaker meetings.
Imagine running a casino and its management refusing to entertain the possiblity that someone will try to sneak in packs of marked cards or utilize other ways to game the system.
Ive heard that in Vegas, casinos ban persons who have been ID'd as subverting the house odds.
The person who said he or she had no insights to offer about persons capable and willing to exploit nonviolent communication is the equivalent of a casino manager who fails to imagine that cardsharps are out there.
Am I cynical?
No. I am experienced
I trusted ideology more than what my gut radar was trying to tell me, and allowed some unpleasant people to get into my head--and I had to pay the therapy bills to regain access to my gut instincts.
How sad also, that people with sound intentions think that non-violent communication methods will actually work with these creeps. Is it naiveté or studpidity?
Not being able to get into anyone's head and directly see motives or what assumptions are at work, I dont know if in some cases this is naivete or stupidity.
There may be a special hazard if a person, especially one who is committed to nonviolent communication (no matter what ideology is behind the methodology used) actually defines him or herself in these terms:
'I am a compassionate person.'
'I am a forgiving person.'
First, why the need to define one's identity that way? Thats actually an area of attachment.
Two, if you define yourself in that way--a serial bully or manipulator can use this against you.
Two comments continuing discussion on World Wide Happiness site.
The dialogue centers on whether the hurtful leadee can change.
Let us look again at the list of qualifications that a bully finds irresistable, especially if that person is a serial bully.Quote:
Once the target is gone, there's a period of between 2-14 days, then a new target is selected and the process starts again (bullying is an obsessive compulsive behaviour and serial bullies seem unable to survive without a target on to whom they can project their inadequacy and incompetence whilst blaming them for the bully's own failings)
Corboy asks: does this
resemble the profile of someone who can be inspired to change by forgivness?
The qualities of kindness
manifested by the persons in the World Wide Happiness discussion show up on the list of qualities that, according to the British bullying website, make you
an attractive target for a serial bully-.
Qualities that make you an attractive target for a serial bully are not
qualities that inspire such a person to stop being a bully!
(again, this is a tiny excerpt of a larger list)
3) Personal qualities that bullies find irresistible
Targets of bullying usually have these qualities:
honesty and integrity (which bullies despise)
you're trustworthy, trusting, conscientious, loyal and dependable
a well-developed integrity which you're unwilling to compromise
you're always willing to go that extra mile and expect others to do the same
imaginative, creative, innovative
idealistic, optimistic, always working for improvement and betterment of self, family, the employer, and the world
ability to think long term and to see the bigger picture
sensitivity (this is a constellation of values to be cherished including empathy, concern for others, respect, tolerance etc)
slow to anger
helpful, always willing to share knowledge and experience
giving and selfless
difficulty saying no
strong sense of honour
an inability to value oneself whilst attributing greater importance and validity to other people's opinions of oneself (eg through tests, exams, appraisals, manager's feedback, etc)
low propensity to violence (ie you prefer to resolve conflict through dialogue rather than through violence or legal action)
a strong forgiving streak (which the bully exploits and manipulates to dissuade you from taking grievance and legal action)
a desire to always think well of others
being incorruptible, having high moral standards which you are unwilling to compromise
high expectations of those in authority* and a dislike of incompetent people in positions of power who abuse power (Anyone who honors the guru role will have some of this)
a tendency to self-deprecation, indecisiveness, deference and approval seeking
('Approval seeking, as in giving a damn what color or level you occupy on Ken Wilber's classification scheme. Corboy)
quick to apologise when accused, even if not guilty (this is a useful technique for defusing an aggressive customer or potential road rage incident)
a strong sense of fair play and a desire to always be reasonable*
(Bullies pretend to be reasonable, often when in public but show their primitive side in private, as soon as they figure no authority figure is looking. They are driven by personal needs which are unreasonable. A favorite bully tactic is to get all sweet and reasonable suggest you are the one being crazy if you start setting limits or want to end the relationship. Corboy. )
high coping skills under stress, especially when the injury to health becomes apparent
a tendency to internalise anger rather than express it
and here is what the bullying site describes as target selection by the bully.
Does this look like a pattern that can be solved through reason or by forgiveness?
The typical sequence of events is:
the target is selected using the criteria above, then bullied for months, perhaps years
eventually, the target asserts their right not to be bullied, perhaps by filing a complaint with personnel
personnel dept interview the bully, who uses their Jekyll and Hyde nature, compulsive lying, and charm to tell the opposite story (charm has a motive - deception)
it's one word against another with no witnesses and no evidence, so personnel take the word of the senior employee - serial bullies excel at deception and evasion of accountability
the personnel department are hoodwinked by the bully into getting rid of the target - serial bullies are adept at encouraging conflict between people who might otherwise pool negative information about them
I would add another feature to the list of characteristics that serial bullies find attractive in a potential target:
The person who defines his or her own identity as forgiving or compassionate.
("I am a forgiving person. I am a compassionate person")
A great way to get trained in this kind of identity is growing up in a family where there is ongoing disfunction and one of the kids, in this case you, gets selected to be the forgiving, capable person who puts up with hurtful crazy behavior in others. You are trained to make endless allowances for some other family member's behavior and are put in this enabling/forgiving/obligatory compassion role before you are old enough to
* Have sufficient autonomy to decide if you want that role or not.
*The persons who put you in that role are your parents or caregivers and you
are little and depend on them for your survival so you dont have any ability
to protest or exit the role when its too much for you to bear
* You lose touch with whether that role is too much for you to bear by stifling your
actual feelings and by getting praised for how forgiving and compassionate you are, when you dont even have a choice to do otherwise but put up with stuff beyond your
* You are put in this obligatory forgiviness role and are praised for it before you are even old enough to have conscious thought.
You equate your sense of self and worth with ablity to rationalize and even celebrate
horrid frightening behavior by persons who have parental role and authority.
Result is, you can emerge as a very nice and wonderful person, but with qualities that also make you an attractive target for serial bullies and a long term servant to serial bullies, unless you can find a way to get conscious of this.
You guys should take a look at this article which I have been posting all over the place on RR.com. It helped me understand a lot of things I went through.
This is from an article on workplace bullying. All of it is worth reading, but, with your interest in nonviolent communication in mind, pay close attention to section 3, qualities that bullies find irresistable.
In my opinion, the take home lesson is that there is a small but lamentably important sector of the population that naive nonviolence trainers fail to take into account--those persons who are serial bullies and who are quite prepared to exploit the nonviolent model and who if they are hard cases, would actually be attracted
to persons who have a commitment to nonviolence communication.
BTW in cases of divorce, there are times when they recommend mediation.
Mediation is fine if all parties are in good faith and are mature and grounded people, despite the pain of the situation.
But if one of the parties is in bad faith, mediation does not work.
Go to the craigslist.org site, go visit the divorce forum and do a search on 'mediation'
and see what comes up.
PS I have not been divorced but have read and heard some war stories.
Will tell you one thing that eventually annoyed me in peacenik circles.
If you raised some misgiving, such as what to do if attacked in a dark alley, you'd be told some story about what a hero in the peace movement did.
Or they quote you Gandhi, or Dorothy Day, or Martin Luther King, or the Berrigans.
Later on, I decided that this was similar to the use of thought stopping cliches--tell a story about some saint who is dead and unquestionable.
Again, for a different take on Gandhi, please get a copy of Arthur Koestlers Lotus and the Robot. It is not one of his better known books. But he gives some intimate family background on MK Gandhi. There was emotional violence in that household.
Miller's biography of Dorothy Day has, sprinkled through it, some unsettling information
about the sufferings of both Dorothy Days own daughter and the man she married, as they tried to follow the early Catholic Worker teachings on living on the land--and no birth control. Years later, Dorothy Days daughter refused interviews. Her own marriage
broke down under the strain, because the hardships of living on the farm and having
a large number of little kids (no birth control) exhausted the daughter and especially her husband, who eventually left the family.
All I see, and this is my own opinion, and no one needs to follow it---all I see is this:
If any one is committed to nonviolent communication, whether it is old school Ghandian satyagraha
, or a newer model, and that trainer refuses to consider that there do exist persons who are manipulative and in bad faith--I would say take it as a signal to get out and hire someone tough enough to be your advocate when dealing with
with a bad faith, slippery person---someone like an attorney who is on your side,
handles all the filings before the deadlines and knows how to deal with manipulative people and plug up all the rat holes.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/2010 12:33AM by corboy.