Top critical review
1.0 out of 5 starsWhen I read this book, it makes me feel aggressive and belittled
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on July 19, 2022
I can't get through this book. It took me a while to figure out why I had serious issues with it. Between the author's tone and the use of the word "non-violent", I became agitated every time I try to read it. At first thought I was being unreasonable or triggered.
Maybe I was being petty, but basic psychology: Not, Non, and other negative words aren't registered by the brain, so the title itself is subconsciously aggressive. Why not "Compassionate Communication" which even the author says most people know it as?
But ... it's not just the terminology that's aggressive. It's the author. He seems to be that "nice guy" who cuts the legs out from under you while giving the air of being compassionate and reasonable.
After a several failed attempts of trying to push through it, I decided to jump ahead and skim for the actual information I need to learn how to communicate compassionately with others. The examples and "call outs" weren't helpful and some of the examples were too long.
Instead of including positive examples of what to do, the book is filled with examples of negative conflicts which are difficult and sometimes upsetting to read. For those with a history of abuse and bullying, the examples can be triggering.
There's a section where the author gives of statements to test the reader's ability to identify "non-violent" communication. I've seen this technique used in books before and found them useful. This author somehow manages to make the reader feels small and stupid. "If you picked this, you're wrong" is not a compassionate way to educate people. It felt hostile and belittling, making me unwilling to receiving the explanation of why it's wrong.
Every time I tried to read this book, I ended up feeling unreasonably aggressive. Eventually I realized: This is the exact same feeling I get when trying to communicate with a narcissist or someone who's trying to gaslight me.
You make excuses for them. You think, "Maybe it's me? Maybe I'm the problem." So you try harder to "do better" and not let anything "push your buttons", but always fail. And when you step back to observe, you realize you're being played by a master manipulator.
That's what it's like reading this book. Like the author is using the guise of Compassionate Communication to mess with the readers; make them feel like stupid failures so he can peddle his goods with the promise of helping them improve.
If you want to learn Compassionate Communication, don't buy this book. There are better options. I learned more from a well-written article on the topic than I did trying to read this book.