I’ve been teaching anger management and conflict resolution for nearly a quarter of a century. What makes me so successful in my work is that I do not lecture on any subject matter that I haven’t personally experienced and mastered. In that regard, people find me authentic and know that if I’ve succeeded at healing my anger and being at peace with my surroundings, they can achieve the same or more. For the most part, I’m a pretty easygoing and relatively calm person. For certain, I’m never rude or disrespectful even when I am upset. When I do get angry, I carefully choose my words so as not to offend or hurt anyone. Well, until this past weekend that is.

Brief synop: I have a family member who has had a serious issue with me for many years. Try as I have to resolve things with her, I’ve been unsuccessful. For the sake of my own inner peace, I no longer have contact with her. However, due to a change of family circumstances, that has recently changed as well. As a mutually close family member approaches the final stages of her life, we have been brought together to make some end of life decisions for her. Needless to say, this is a stressful and unpleasant situation for both of us but one that must be what it is.
At one point, I needed to address a very sensitive issue of the disappearance of personal items that belonged to that particular family member. These items were to be given to specific family members upon the death of our loved one. This person was the only one who had access to them. I respectfully stated that I was aware that they were missing and requested that they be promptly returned until the appropriate time to distribute them. I knew that in doing so, I was putting myself at risk for her wrath, as she has great animosity towards me. My instincts were correct as she came after me with a vengeance. Spewing hateful comments, she resorted to calling me names. I immediately drew on my arsenal of conflict resolution strategies to diffuse a volatile situation. “You misinterpreted what I said.” But she cut me off with more accusations. Suddenly she came towards me in an aggressive manner. I immediately backed away. She became even more hostile. Sensing that I could be in physical danger, I quickly exited the premises. “I have nothing to say to you. Leave me alone.” I repeated this over and over but to no avail. Her insults were relentless. Within less than two minutes, I had reached my breaking point, turned to her, and release some hurtful comments of my own. Immediately, I felt shame and regret for what I had done but proceeded to my car in order to protect myself and leave.

A short time later, I discussed this incident with a few family members who were all too aware of the volatile behavior of the other party. All offered their support and reassured me that I was perfectly justified in the way I handled myself. One even stated he was proud of me for finally standing up to her. I felt no satisfaction nor pleasure in the manner in which I handled myself. In fact, I felt nothing but shame and remorse. As a Christian and as one who is proficient in anger management and conflict resolution, I was deeply disappointed in my performance. My daughter reassured me that sometimes anger management simply doesn’t work.

Why is that? What were the critical mistakes I made that caused me to be ineffective in this situation?

Where did I go wrong?
1. I knew going in that I was taking a risk. This was a sensitive issue that had the potential to incite her. Knowing that she has nothing but contempt for me and a volatile temper, I was sorely prepared for the rage she was about to impose on me. I should have more seriously contemplated her anticipated reaction, my response, and how I was going to handle the situation. Having a plan provides a sense of authority, confidence, and personal power.
2. Knowing full well that any discussion of this issue would most likely not be well received, it would have behooved me to have a neutral third party present before engaging in a dialog with her. I failed to even consider this from the get go.
3. I allowed her hate filled comments to get to me. I failed to remain centered, paying careful attention to my inner dialogue which ultimately controlled my feelings. I gave away my personal power which left me feeling vulnerable. This ultimately enabled her to push my buttons and trigger an angry, out of control response from me.

What I did that worked.
1. Initially when the attacks began, I refused to engage with her. I clearly stated that she had misinterpreted what I had said in an attempt to clear that matter up. When she was unreceptive and escalated her assaults, I repeated diffusing statements in an attempt to calm her down as well as enable me to keep my cool. “I have nothing to say. Leave me alone.” I repeatedly stated these with confidence as I continued to make yet another smart choice.
2. Realizing that any chance for a productive discussion was futile and that I was in a potentially dangerous situation, I quickly removed myself from her presence. Even as she aggressively followed me in a very intimidating and threatening manner, I refused to make eye contact with her but rather kept my focus on my vehicle, which was my source of escape.

Where do I go from here?
1. When one mishandles a situation such as I did, it’s important to review the events as soon as possible thereafter. Be completely truthful about your role in the failure of the process.
2. Identify more effective ways to handle things next time. Write them down, post, and review often.
3. Extend an apology to anyone you have offended, even those who mistreated you. You are not responsible for their behavior but you are responsible for your own. Their disrespect of you does not justify yours towards them.
4. Forgive yourself for your indiscretions. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from them and vow to do better next time.

I’ve been practicing what I teach for as long as I’ve been teaching it and it does work. But every once in awhile, even an expert like me makes a critical mistake. It’s hard for me to forgive myself for ever hurting another human being but I am trying. I do know that next time, I will more closely follow my own advice and am confident I’ll see much better results.

Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

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Kindnesses Brighten My Day


For those of you that may not know my husband passed away on October 6. It still seems strange writing these words. Every time the phone rings I expect it to be him explaining once again why he is running late. I listen for the door to open and hear him say hello. It is the little things like seeing the apples he had selected at the store in the crisper that bring me to my knees in grief. But the one constant that has helped me is the kindnesses I have been shown from big to little that have helped me get through these dark times. I thought I would check out kindness and what it does for us all not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. I found quite a bit of information and the one fact I uncovered that I found very interesting is that it does not have to be something huge to get the benefits. It can be something as simple as holding a door open for someone or smiling at a stranger on the street.

As I explored the health benefits of  kindness I discovered that not only did it have a positive effect on the receiver of the act but also on the doer and observer.  Astounding that one thoughtful deed could impact a minimum of 3 people and a maximum of many more. Many scientific studies have shown that an act of kindness has a positive effect on the immune system and increases serotonin production in the body. Serotonin naturally occurs in the body and helps regulate moods, calms the nerves and assists with anxiety. It is regarded as a “feel good” boost for our body and assists in helping with depression. Research also demonstrates that regular acts of kindness can help with insomnia, chronic pain, and alleviating stress.

In Psychology Today  an article entitled “What We Get When We Give” (by Christine Carter, Ph.D., 2/18/10) states: “People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying — and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status, and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.”  Those are pretty impressive results.

Speaking of my own experience, the kindnesses I have been shown have helped me immensely. Certainly from family and friends but also the random acts of people who did not know me but knew my husband and have reached out. Random acts like the young store clerk I shared my story with as I fumbled in my purse for my money obviously befuddled who gave me a big hug or the man next to me who saw me crying in the car and gave me a big smile. Yes it is the little things that have helped so much. So when you are faced with a dilemma of what to do when an act of kindness may be called for keep in mind it is not necessary for some grand gesture that it is those little random acts of kindness that mean so much.

This week, Tuesday, 10/27/2016 at 7:00 PM Eastern on The Night Shift  we will discuss kindness and all its benefits. I also will be doing as many mini readings as possible to assist you in paying it forward. Join us in the chat room:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/183716975330317/
 Visit My Fan Page and Post Your Questions there where: https://www.facebook.com/Susan-Dintino-105608726135410/



My 5 Stages of Grief


In December of 2013 my husband, Dennis Dintino, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. We were blessed with a year of remission and another 2 years of ups and downs. On October 6th his battle was over and he crossed over. I met this man when I was 15 years old and we have been married for 45 years. He was my best friend. Now don’t get me wrong we had our ups and downs. He was a workaholic and all I wanted was a 9-5 guy but through the years we adjusted and got comfortable with who we both were. Not an easy journey but one we finally got the hang of.

As I studied the five stages of grief to talk to you about I realized that I have been going through these stages since my husband’s diagnosis. The five stages of grief concept, also known as the Kubler-Ross Model, is based on the work of psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.  She published her book, “On Death and Dying,” in 1969 and based her findings on dealing with the terminally ill.

The first stage is denial. I realize that with my husband’s original diagnosis I pretended it was not true. When he qualified for genetic treatment and went into remission it was easy to deny his diagnosis.  I certainly prayed for that miracle and we were able to go to Italy and take a trip that he had always wanted to take. Discovering his roots and the town his grandfather was born in. Denial was my security blanket.

Second is anger and I was ANGRY! My daughter had successfully battled leukemia but in the process because she was 8 months pregnant we lost our baby grandson. Wasn’t her battle with this disease and that loss enough? Hadn’t my family been through enough? This was not fair I would say as I shook my fist to the heavens.

The next stage is bargaining and I can kind of relate to that. I created a meditation for him that focused on perfect health. I thought about the if onlys. He visited his doctor regularly but he had not had a chest X-Ray. He had given up smoking years ago but should I have pushed him to do that since one of his doctors had recommended it? Would it have made a difference? I really never got into bargaining with God and I never looked at this as any kind of punishment.

Depression follows and boy that speaks to me. After the first year, the cancer cells outsmarted the genetic drug and it was no longer working. My husband had to get chemo again and then a new drug was available. This time there was no denial. I started asking the hard questions outside of my husband’s earshot because he was never going to give in to this. I shed so many tears and then once again he began to feel better. We had dodged another bullet. However in May of this year symptoms began to appear that made it evident the new pill was no longer working. My husband stayed brave. We never discussed his passing. He just would not talk about it. He owned two successful businesses and fought his battle privately. Very few people outside the family knew of his condition. He was a Leo in every sense of the word. As I watched him getting thinner and thinner putting on a brave front for him, I was drowning. I could not cope with his suffering. I did my best but there were days I could not get past being depressed.

Lastly is acceptance and I feel I am in that stage now. The loss for me is heart breaking but I am relieved to see his suffering end. It tore me apart to watch and although he never once complained I could see in every way the toll this was taking on him. I wanted two things for him and that was the he would always be given hope and not be afraid. We were trying one more treatment when he passed and I truly believe till the very end he felt he would beat it. In the hospital room after his death I knew that the shell that was there was not my beloved husband but was merely biology. His soul had moved on leaving the pain behind and he was finally at peace.

This week on The Night Shift, 10/18, 7:00 PM Eastern, 4:00 PM Pacific we will talk about dealing with grief. I have a few stories to tell about signs I have gotten from my husband and my journey thus far. I will be taking your questions in the chat room for some mini readings. I am really looking forward to connecting with you.

Facebook Chat Room https://www.facebook.com/groups/183716975330317/
Listen to the Podcast http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Night-Shift/?episode_id=27788693