Marshall Rosenberg, founder of "nonviolent communication", said that the only thing anyone really means to say is 'please don't hurt me.' Consider this as a koan, an 'open question' to mull over for a few decades.
Often patients, seeing a dentist for the first time, assume a belligerent attitude. At first this is confusing to dentists, but we come to realize that these folks are simply AFRAID - in "fight/flight" mode. Though easy to misinterpret, they're just saying: 'please don't hurt me.'
How many times have we misread another's fearful plea as a threat, and reacted inappropriately?
Marshall Rosenberg PhD on Nonviolent Communication (~10min)