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Non-Violent Communication in Barad-Dûr
It was inevitable that something like this brief satircal thingy would issue from my brain, but it didn’t seriously occur to me to post it until I noticed Pandemonium had recently had a birthday.  

Happy-somewhat-belated-birthday, Pandë!

SAURON: Good evening, Gollum.  I would like for us to talk about the whereabouts of the One Ring.  Would you be willing to do that?

GOLLUM: Don’t hurts us, don’t hurts us!  What does it want to know, precious?

SAURON: Thank you.  I appreciate how you’ve acknowledged my desire to have this conversation, which is very important to me.  When did you last have the One Ring in your possession?

GOLLUM: My birthday present!  Gollum…

SAURON: Now Gollum, when you call my Ring your ‘birthday present,’ I feel irritated.  This is because I forged that Ring myself in the fires of Mount Doom, I take pride in my work, and I would not have voluntarily given it up.  My need for security is not being met when I lose my Ring for millennia, and now that I know the Ring is abroad somewhere I feel both anxious and hopeful.  You see, perhaps my Ring shall finally be restored to me and my unmet need sated, but perhaps my enemies will find it first and use it against me.  That makes me feel worried and frustrated.  Would you mind repeating back to me in your own words what you think you heard me say, please?

GOLLUM: So hungry, precious.  Juicy fishes . . .

SAURON: Now when you talk about juicy fishes after I ask you that question, my judging mind wants to think you’re trying to change the subject.  This makes me feel a good deal more irritated.  However, I recognize that, due to languishing in my dungeons for several days without food, your need for sustenance may not be met.  I’d like to work with you to ensure that both our needs are met.  This shall require a mutual commitment to open and sincere communication.  

GOLLUM: My precious . . . I wants it back . . .

SAURON: As do I.  Do you see what’s just happened here, Gollum?

 GOLLUM: Lovely, juicy fishes . .  .

SAURON: We’ve found common ground!  I want my Ring back.  You want my Ring back.  I’ve just had this flash of insight: Underneath all our seeming differences, we both have the same needs and want the same things.  Having this insight, I feel very close to you right now, Gollum.  That may be due to my looming threateningly over you with a hot poker, but, whatever its causes, the sentiment is very sincere for my part.  How are you feeling?

GOLLUM: Don’t hurts us, please!

SAURON: I’m hearing that you are afraid and don’t want this hot poker jabbed in your ear.  Is that what you’re expressing to me?

GOLLUM: Yes, precious!

SAURON: Thank you for your forthrightness.  It takes courage to be vulnerable.  And I’m not speaking of the kind of vulnerability that comes from being tied to a table: I mean the risk of communicating genuinely and openly.

GOLLUM: What does it want to know, precious?!

SAURON: I would like it if you could tell me when you last had possession of my Ring, Gollum.

GOLLUM: We don’t remember exactly…Fifty years?  Too long!

SAURON: I’m hearing that it’s been an ordeal for you to be without my Ring.  Again, we have a vast amount of common ground here.  Could you please tell me how it is that you came to lose it?

GOLLUM: Didn’t lose it!  He stole it!

SAURON: Who stole it, Gollum?

GOLLUM: Can’t tell, we won’t tell, precious!  The cruel Eye will go looking and finds it first!

SAURON: I’m watching my feelings here, and I can tell that I’m beginning to feel extremely impatient.  I have, as I’ve endeavored to communicate earlier, a strong need to locate and reattain my Ring.  When you say that you won’t tell me because then I’ll find it first, I feel exasperated.  This is because, as the creator and rightful owner of the Ring, I have an unmet need for acknowledgment when it’s implied that I oughtn’t reclaim it for myself.

GOLLUM: Not telling, no, never telling, please lets us go!

SAURON: I hear your request that I release you, and I honor the feelings and needs behind it, Gollum.  But I don’t believe I am capable of fulfilling this request.

GOLLUM: Aaaagh!

SAURON: I’m hearing that you feel anguish when this hot poker comes into contact with your person.  Am I hearing right?

GOLLUM: Gaahh . . .

SAURON: I’m really appreciating the sincere and guileless quality of our conversation.  Now when this hot poker comes into contact with your person, I feel hopeful because I understand that this will bring me closer to obtaining the information I desire.  I also feel happy, because I am sadist.  

GOLLUM: We hates it, precious!

SAURON: I think there are a lot of really strong feelings in this room right now.  I’d like to just sit with this for a while.  

GOLLUM: Baggins!

SAURON: Beg pardon?

GOLLUM: Baggins!  Shire!  Baggins stole the precious!

SAURON: Thank you, Gollum.  Thank you so much.  Your honesty has meant so much to me throughout this conversation.

GOLLUM: Great Eye lets us go now?

SAURON: I’m hearing that you would like to leave now.  I am willing and able to honor your request.  Thank you again for your time, Gollum.  It’s been such a pleasure to get to know you better.  And just think, we’ve come out of this with both our needs met: you need to leave this chamber of horrors, and so you shall; I need to find my Ring, and so I shall.  Now that I can set off on its trail, my annoyance has dissipated and I am in a state of remarkable good cheer.  I feel an eager anticipation.  Once I again have the One Ring in my possession, I can fulfill my historic need for order and unchallenged dominion.

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OMG! That is fantastic! You have nailed the technique of "non-threatening communication" perfectly. Perfectly.

In my past life as a middle-management Nazgûl, I spent a goodly amount of time in management training to learn to communicate to my minions direct reports Just. As. You. Have. Written. So it's funny 'cos it's true, including the hot poker part. Our vice-Saurons managed to find some way of tormenting us directors, which likewise were cascaded to our minions, er, direct reports. Yeah!

However, I do have a criticism. Sauron needed a white board with Post-It notes based on Gollum's natterings for brainstorming. ;^)

Thanks a million! I love this!

Yay, glad you enjoyed it! Funny that it intersected with your former line of Nazgûlship; my encounters with various types of 'non-threatening' communication come from weird stints in my life where I was around quite a few communitarians, anarchists, and, more recently, religious ultra-liberals.

Ooh, the white board and post-its. From my experience with this sort of method, an easel and different colored markers are also in order. I'd like to think he got right on that after escorting Gollum out. =D

Poor Gollum! A couple of centuries hiding alone in a cave are probably not the best preparation for this sort of thing...

Thank you so much for this! I needed a good chuckle this morning!

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