My understanding of one of the key concepts in NLP is that almost all behaviour comes from positive intentions - even negative or difficult actions are often intended to soothe or protect, self or other. Confirming with the other(s) that you get their intentions, is validating, and, if you can avoid any but's (saying, "I get that you are trying to be helpful, but you are making things worse." cancels the validation), the other is open to shift in any direction ("I get that you are trying to be helpful and I appreciate that...I wonder if there are other ways we can help each other.").
Always try to show that you understand the other's intentions - if you are not sure, be curious.