Monday, 13 May 2019

Applying Empathy to Violent Situations

Mum Looked the Other Way

Mum, 20, “looked the other way as boyfriend punched their baby to death”.  


There are SO MANY of these stories. And many more stories that don't make the headlines, of children being neglected and abused.

An incident starts with anger. The stepfather or stepmother gets triggered by something. Probably something from her past, from her own childhood.

It might trigger a past incident of her being abused, experiencing intense anger and violence from a parent or carer, or a time when she was herself intensely angry or afraid.

Something gets triggered and terrible, unthinkable and unbelievable things happen as a result.

Then we blame the abuser. He or she is “evil”, she or he is a terrible person. We point the finger of blame. But it's this anger and blame that are the root of the problem.

The truth is we all have the capacity for violence within us. We are born with it. It's part of our makeup and it's what helped us to survive in ancient times.

But these horrendous actions can be PREVENTED.

NVC (Nonviolent Communication) is based on EMPATHY.

When rage or fear is triggered in us or in others, we can process it peacefully and safely by applying empathy. That way, everybody wins.

We need to have the skills to practice NVC and there are plenty of opportunities to learn and perfect these skills.

For more about empathy, and how to develop empathetic skills, see:

NVC Resources

Books about NVC

Short Films on the Basics of Nonviolent Communication (NVC)

See also: Child Killed by Mother's Partner

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