Posts Tagged ‘healing’

Anger on the Defense

In today’s show, I shared the story of one of my clients at the battered women’s shelter who had an issue with her son and some other children. When some of the mothers accused her child of hitting and cursing at their children, she immediately went on the defensive in an effort to protect him. She made several critical mistakes in the way she handled this situation:

1. While she admitted her child was not an angel, she failed to acknowledge that he may have actually committed the offense.
2. Rather than deal with her child, she diverted the attention onto the other children, informing their mothers that they are not well behaved. Then she attacked their parenting skills. This was done in an attempt to take the focus off the real issue – her son’s alleged bad behavior.
3. This verbal altercation was followed by extreme measures. She decided to keep her son confined to their room, no longer allowing him to interact with any of the other children. And she chose to ignore all of the mothers from that moment on.

Defensive behavior is rooted in fear. When one feels unsafe in the presence of another individual or in a particular situation, they feel the need to protect themselves from harm. Aggressive actions restore a sense of power and control and give the illusion of safety. Real security, however, is achieved when one is confident they can handle themselves appropriately in that circumstance.

When one feels they are being verbally accused, practice the following:

1. Listen objectively and open-mindedly. Refrain from interrupting, defending, or making excuses.
2. Ask questions of all parties to gain a better understanding of what happened and why.
3. Weigh all sources of information: are they trustworthy, unbiased, reliable?
4. Be open to all possibilities, even those that do not conform with what you would like to believe.
5. Reassure the other party(s) that you will handle the issue.
6. Inquire from them what they need to make this situation better for all concerned.
7. Address your own child. Take advantage of the opportunity to teach them a valuable lesson. Impose appropriate consequences if necessary.
8. Thank the other party(s) for their involvement and efforts. Gratitude is a wonderful way to end on a positive note and foster good relations.

My suggestions are not always easy to follow. One must be willing to remove all ego and personal issues and respond in spirit – concern for fairness and the well being of all parties. I’ve seen this work for others and it has worked for me every time. Give it a try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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Tragedy In Aurora

It’s hard to believe that in a country as great as America, people could commit such heinous acts against one another. I’m referring in particular to the recent rampage of James Holmes on the patrons of the Aurora Theater on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado. With no rational explanation, he randomly opened fire, killing 13 and wounding 58. Americans are outraged and perplexed – many calling for the death penalty. Referring to him as evil, trash, worthless, scum, and the like, they are seeking justice against on one who committed of the most senseless acts of violence in our country in years.

It is difficult to see any reason for such brutality yet in cases such as these there are many commonalities shared by the shooters. Many come from families of violence, abuse and/or neglect. They’ve demonstrated antisocial behavior at an early age. Some suffer from substance abuse including prescription drugs. Others have been bullied, ridiculed and humiliated and harbor feelings of powerlessness and anger. Still others view themselves as victims of a current injustice, whether real or imagined. In any event, these acts are always premeditated and are committed against strangers. Very often, there is a history of mental illness.

So what can and must we do to prevent such acts from occurring in the future. Here are some suggestions:

As parents, we need to take an active role in our children’s lives. Providing a loving, nurturing environment allows them to feel loved, safe, and part of a larger unit. We must also be aware of any troubling behavior and seek immediate help. There is no shame to admitting our children need help. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Teach compassion, empathy, and respect for all human life. People are less likely to hurt others when they can feel their pain. Give them the skills to express how they feel, to resolve conflicts peacefully, to set and achieve meaningful goals, and to build a healthy sense of self. Self-love is a critical factor in determining the course of a child’s life. Teach them self-confidence and the ability to forgive those who hurt them rather than harbor anger and resentment.

As a society:

1. We need to remove the stigma of mental illness and encourage those who are suffering to seek treatment. With proper help many can lead happy, productive lives.
2. Be all inclusive. Shooters are loners with issues of isolation. Sometimes, the concern of one person can have a huge impact on anothers life.
3. Be alert. Take notice of any unusual behavior and report it to the proper authorities. Fifty percent of shooters give a warning, either in the form of threats or a note. If you are privy to such information, take it seriously and get help.
4. Be kind to all human life. Each has value. People are not born bad. Bad things happen to them that change who they are. Their behavior is deplorable but intrinsically they still have value.
5. Don’t judge. When people feel safe in admitting to needing help without fear of being criticized, they are more likely to seek it, thus increasing the chances they will find some degree of healing.

We all need to take an active role in preventing atrocities like this from occurring. Get involved. Be proactive. We can make a difference.

Share your thoughts below.


Therapist and Positive Living Expert, Diane Lang, has given us hope! As my recent guest on Anger 9-1-1, Diane shared her knowledge and expertise on anger, stress, optimistic living, and happiness. I wholeheartedly agree with Diane when she says moods and attitudes are contagious. Spend some time with a negative or depressed person and you’ll discover how easy it is to become infected by their attitude. What began as a good day rapidly digresses into a miserable and unpleasant experience. But all is not lost! It is possible to inoculate yourself against negativity and maintain your happiness.

Diane suggests that if you want more happiness in your life, follow these few simple rules:

1. Make sure your basic needs are being met. Whether nutritionally, emotionally, financially, spiritually, physically, etc. take care in getting what is essential for your well-being. This includes getting at least six to seven hours of sleep per night and exercising regularly. Keep a Journal of Truth. Log your activities each day for a week. Then take a few moments to review it and check for missing needs. This will allow you to incorporate them in your daily routine.

2. Remove toxic people from your life. Surround yourself with positive, upbeat, happy people and you will find yourself absorbing their attitudes.

3. Live in the moment. Too often, we get stuck in the past: the what if’s, the I should have’s, the why’s. Learn from the past but let go of it. And don’t worry about the future. The future is filled with unknowns and we tend to project the worst which leads to anxiety and worry. Plan for tomorrow but live for today. Put everything into perspective. Only deal with what is present to you at this precise moment. That’s enough for now. Otherwise it’s easy to overwhelm yourself.

4. Express how you feel. Don’t bottle your emotions up inside of you. Learn healthy ways to share them. Then process and heal each one.

5. Laugh and smile. Never underestimate the power of humor. Not only does it make us feel better but it also keeps us physically healthier.

Optimistic people recover quicker from issues, see things in a more positive light, heal more rapidly from illnesses, have healthier relationships, experience greater success, and overall, enjoy life to a greater degree. And the good news is: you can learn to be more positive. So, here’s to your happiness!

To learn more about Diane Lang, visit her website at or email her at