All Calm and Shit!
By Kelly Bryson MFT
The two young gang members, one African American, one Latino, ran from the Offender Treatment Facility to escape the restraining arms of the staff. I imagine the only thing in their minds was their intense hate for each other and an overwhelming passionate urge to beat each other to a pulp.
Once they got into the open space of the basketball court they indulged themselves in their orgy of hate. One gouging at the others eyes. One swinging wild hay makers in an attempt to knock the head off his Nemesis.
JR, my Vietnamese coworker, and I each grabbed one of the combatants and dragged them to opposite ends of the facility. I dragged my wounded warrior into my counseling office and lock the door behind me. This is what transpired.
Me: "Woe dude looks like you're going ballistic."
Him: "You f___ing got that right!"
Me: "He must have really done something intense. You don't usually just go off on anyone."
Him: "Yeah man, he's been trying to steal my shit while I'm at school and he's been trying to snake (steal) my girl."
Me: "So I guess you want him to know that you are not going to take that lying down."
Him: "Yeah man, I ain't no chump."
Me: "And you would like him to know just how pissed you were?"
Him: "Yeah man that's what I was doing before you stopped me."
Me: "Yeah well I wasn't enjoying your style of expressing your feelings. You know we have a difference of opinion about what is the best way to express feelings."
Him: "Yeah I know, say the feelings, make requests, but he's a real punk, treating me like a friend just so he can dis (disrespect) me when I'm not looking."
Me: "So you are really angry because you wanted to be respected for the trust you showed him by letting him be your friend and introducing him to your girlfriend, by leaving your stuff and girlfriend alone."
Him: "Yeah man. We were bro.'s (brothers)."
Me: "So are you feeling hurt because you really like him and wanted to stay friends."
Him: "Yeah, but I never keep friends, something always happens like this."
Me: "So are you just feeling hopeless about ever having friends you can count on."
Him: "I never had nobody I could count on."
Me: "I wonder if you feel sad because you really
like some people in your
life you could count on and who would respect you."
Him: "Yeah man, but we got to stop this now, because how am I going to be able to beat him up when I am starting the feel all calm and shit."
The above is an example of the work I have been doing for 26 years now with Nonviolent Communication(sm) through the Center for Nonviolent Communication (www.cnvc.org).