Grey Christmas

Lately I’ve been feeling: Why do anything? Christmas was okay, and ended early with a fight between my mom and brother. Basically the same problem both have had my entire life… The need to be right. Made worse by unskillful communication and insecurity. On the positive side, I was able to step back and observe, and be the neutral party. What the argument was about isn’t the issue. The problem like it’s been for years, is how things were said, not giving time for others to speak, and ineffective communication behaviors. It’s a continual learning process. I too have been guilty of these things.

Examples of ineffective communication behaviors are: sarcasm, guilt tripping, name calling, using fallacies, dominating conversation, or changing the subject when questioned. This is just a sample of ways that communication breaks down.

In previous conflicts I might have tried to clarify a point, or step in, but this time I didn’t. I helped my brother gather his presents and leave because it wasn’t worth getting involved. It wasn’t worth sacrificing my own peace of mind. It wasn’t worth trying to resolve the fight because I don’t have the skills to do so. Not worth it because both are stubborn. I’ve tried being middleman before, and been burned. You can’t change other people, you can only change yourself. My mom was really upset. I’ve been in her shoes before in this situation.

One good thing is that my mom accepted my feedback on how to improve this type of situation in the future. I suggested she by read Non violent communication by Marshall B Rosenberg, PHD. I was suggested this helpful book by my therapist earlier this year.

What is nonviolent communication? (Or NVC)

“NVC is based on the assumption that all human beings have capacity for compassion and empathy and that people only resort to violence or behavior harmful to others when they do not recognize more effective strategies for meeting needs.

NVC theory supposes that all human behavior stems from attempts to meet universal human needs, and that these needs are never in conflict; rather, conflict arises when strategies for meeting needs clash. NVC proposes that people should identify shared needs, which are revealed by the thoughts and feelings surrounding these needs, and then they should collaborate to develop strategies and make requests of each other to meet each other’s needs. The goal is interpersonal harmony and learning for future cooperation.


The great thing about non violent communication is that only one person has to use it to be effective. It’s another tool to have in your own therapy toolbox.

At it’s simplest, What’s alive in you right now? What are you feeling?

I find the first question really helpful for writing.

Maybe its all great leftovers from Christmas dinner, but today I’ve felt like being a couch potato.

In other news, I spoke to my girlfriend on the phone last night for the first time! That was lovely!

Thank you for reading this, if you enjoyed it, please give it a like, tell me what you think in the comments, and share on Facebook. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list for updates!

Please wear a mask outside that covers your mouth and nose, wash your hands, clean your cell phone, and keep your physical distance (6 feet) from others to fight Covid-19!

© Reilly Anderson. 2020. All rights reserved.


  • That’s really awesome – to recognize a situation and your own (un)helpful position in it and then honoring it. Sorry they fought but…good for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  • I struggled with Christmas spirit this year too… and the day itself felt like any other, sadly.
    But it was more peaceful than usual, since it was just the kids and I, so I actually had a stress free day! Woo hoo!

    Good for you for not getting involved with your mom and brother, and yet offering great advice to diffuse future scenarios! I believe this is the result of being willing to learn 😉 Growth that means we can help those around us!

    Congrats on the girlfriend! That’s fantastic news! And how wonderful that you got to speak on the phone! Looking forward to watching this new journey unfold 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to hear that you had a stress free Christmas this year! Peaceful is really nice! I guess I’m disappointed because Xmas is my favorite day of the year. If there is one thing I’ve learned in this pandemic, it’s to appreciate the little things.

      This growth wouldn’t have happened if I had given up. I was inches away many times, but I’m grateful that I didn’t. It was depression lying to me. I needed help, and got it in this dark year. I wouldn’t have been able to help others because I had to help myself. Thanks for reminding me to not give up!


      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m also grateful that you didn’t give up! And that you saw things for what they were : lies!
        It’s wonderful having you here! You’re an encouragement and inspiration in so many ways!
        Just keep going! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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