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Do You Want to Be "Right" or Have Meaningful Relationships? You Can't Have Both!
by Kelly Bryson, MA, MFT


My female friend had just announced to me in a highly irritated tone, “I want to talk to you right now!” And I answered, “You know, that tone triggers a lot of fear for me so I want to just continue to lay here looking at the ceiling.” Keep reading this article >>

Ten Things Your Can Do Today to Transform Conflict in Your Life
by Gary Baran


It can be challenging to live the values of NVC every day - after all, it's often been equated to learning a whole new language. Each day, we're all juggling multiple responsibilities, stresses and things to do. Yet the beauty of NVC is that even simple steps can make a world of difference. Keep reading this article >>


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"You can't make your kids do anything. All you can do is make them wish they had. And then, they will make you wish you hadn't made them wish they had."

Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.

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An Inspiring Video
You'll Never Forget

World-renowned author, peacemaker, and conflict resolution expert, Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. talks about the keys to prevent all forms of conflict and violence in this 10-minute video.


Be "Right", continued

How could my sweet childlike honesty trigger such a verbally vile response? I decided to project the “inner critic show” going on in my head onto the ceiling. The first character on stage is my original coping mechanism, my Neurotic, who blames himself whenever there is conflict.

“Look at you, you’re pathetic. Your can’t even be there for your friend in her hour of need. And you call yourself a teacher of Compassionate Communication.”

As I started to put the shattered pieces of my ego back together, the roar of righteous indignation rose in my belly. Enter my Character Disorder who blames others whenever there is conflict.

“Who the hell does she think she is? I’m not putting up with this rude, verbally abusive, boundary-invading, perpetrator behavior!” It was of some relief to have my inner critic focus on someone else for a moment.

Then my education pays off as my Therapist Complex offers the final analysis: “She is obviously suffering from a pseudo narcissistic personality disorder with paranoid borderline tendencies.”

Then (thank goodness), I remembered what Marshall Rosenberg said: “All judgments are a tragic expressions of unmet needs.”

So I started to look for the pain in my body. Oh there it is - OUTRAGE. And what are the universal human needs underneath my outrage? Respect, gentleness, safety. What else is in there, because I know anger never comes alone. There is always hurt or fear or something under it. Now I can feel it - devastating hurt and a need for reassurance that I am valued.

As I lay there giving myself empathy (i.e. paying attention to, and feeling into, what my reaction was all about), I start to feel a relieving shift in my body. I begin to wonder if my friend is experiencing the same thing - hurt and needing reassurance that she is valued.

“When I heard you call me an asshole a while ago, were you feeling angry and hurt because you were really needing reassurance that your need to be heard really mattered?” Her eyes started to fill with tears and a faint outline of a smile started to creep across her lips as she said, “It’s about time asshole.”

“Yes, I’m guessing that was painful for you and you would have liked this quality of listening earlier.” I said. “Yes,” she said, the tears now flowing freely. “But I am also relieved that you waited till you were ready to do so instead of trying to give me empathy from Hell and then resenting me.”

How beautiful to finally see the truth behind “asshole.” How beautiful to finally hear that my dear friend is in pain and wanting some reassurance from me that she mattered. This allowed me to actually enjoy my partner’s pain. I don’t mean this in the sadistic sense. I mean that there is a distinct joy in the intimacy of feeling the same feeling with another even if it is some type of pain.

There is also a sense of relief in the awareness that as I am present to my partner’s pain she is being assisted in going deeper into, and therefore through, her pain. As John Bradshaw says, “the quickest way out of pain is through it.”

I am glad I gave her my honesty (that the tone had triggered fear and that I wanted to lay there a while), because it ultimately led to a deeper level of intimacy.

Kelly Bryson MA, MFT, is a CNVC certified trainer and the author of the best selling book, Don’t be Nice, Be Real: Balancing Passion for Self with Compassion for Others. Kelly is a humorist, singer, inspirational speaker, and licensed therapist in private practice. Learn more about his work, find about his private or phone-based sessions, and buy his book at www.LanguageOfCompassion.com or by phone 831-462-EARS (3277) (most insurance accepted).

Keep learning these vital communication skills with these books and training resources:




"How beautiful
to finally see the truth
behind 'asshole.' "

- Kelly Bryson






Be "Right", continued

1. Spend some time each day quietly reflecting on how you would like to relate to yourself and others.

2. Remember that all human beings have the same needs.

3. Check your intention to see if you are as interested in others getting their needs met as your own.

4. When asking someone to do something, check first to see if you are making a request or a demand.

5. Instead of saying what you DON’T want someone to do, say what you DO want the person to do.

6. Instead of saying what you want someone to BE, say what action you’d like the person to take that you hope will help the person be that way.

7. Before agreeing or disagreeing with anyone’s opinions, try to tune in to what the person is feeling and needing.

8. Instead of saying "No," say what need of yours prevents you from saying "Yes."

9. If you are feeling upset, think about what need of yours is not being met, and what you could do to meet it, instead of thinking about what’s wrong with others or yourself.

10. Instead of praising someone who did something you like, express your gratitude by telling the person what need of yours that action met.

Keep learning these vital communication skills with these books and training resources: