Communication Life Lessons Relationships

Dominance & Submission

Dominance and SubmissionI’m not talking about the fun kind… the kind that starts with tight black leather and ends with bare skin.

I’m talking about the kind that Marshall Rosenberg, creator of non-violent communication, referred to when he described our language as a “domination language.”  We have a domination language to enforce our domination culture.  It is so engrained in our neural networks that most people don’t even notice it.  I’ve been studying non-violent communication for over two years and attend a two-hour weekly practice group, yet even after all that time and study, I still occasionally find myself falling back into the old ways of thinking and communicating. 

The domination language and culture were created (probably unconsciously) to keep those in power in power.  Whether that’s economic, political, social, religious, gender-based, or anything else doesn’t matter.  It’s a language based on blaming, shaming, judging, criticizing, and guilt-tripping.  The sentence structure often starts with “you,” as in “You should do this, or you shouldn’t do that.”  Or “How could you…?”

Non-violent communication is a language process based on the values of autonomy, authenticity, freedom, equality, personal responsibility, respect for the feelings and needs of ourselves and others, connection, and empathy. 

This post is the beginning of a series of posts on the subject of dominance and submission, specifically in relationships, and even more specifically relationships between men and women.  Enjoy!

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