By Ellen Lacter, Ph.D. February 11, 2007
Many ritual abuse survivors have no models for healthy relationships, parent-child, or between adults. Their world consists of only perpetrators and victims– people who abuse power, and their victims. The concept of reciprocally beneficial relationships, of people genuinely caring about the needs and feelings of others, and giving of themselves willingly, is foreign, unknown.
In relationships, survivors tend to either submit in fear to the other’s wishes, or use judgmentalism, verbal aggression, manipulation, or violence to get one’s needs met.
When survivors realize they have followed these destructive templates, they often feel stuck, having no idea how to create a relationship based on reciprocity and expression of feelings and needs, without coercion/manipulation. They need concrete help to develop new skills.
I have found the model of Nonviolent (Compassionate) Communication (NVC), created by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D., to be enormously helpful in developing these skills. See the Center for Nonviolent Communication website at: http://www.cnvc.org/
NVC is an education model for communication, not therapy, and works as an excellent adjunct for therapy.
There are certified CVC trainers in most areas. See: http://www.cnvc.org/world.htm. Many trainers offer free meetings to work on developing NVC skills. Meetings for individuals, couples, and families can also be arranged, usually at very reasonable fees.
Free articles are posted at: http://www.cnvc.org/bookchap.htm, with a complete list of articles on the right.
Also, see the page “learning nvc without a certified trainer” at: http://www.cnvc.org/notrnr.htm