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difficult people2

“Look, I’ve tried all of your advice on dealing with angry people and nothing works. I’m at the end of my wits, what else can I do?” When once in a blue moon I get an e-mail stating something like this I have to access my drawer of secret advice and introduce a radical notion that you’ve all heard – “kill them with kindness.”

I want to share with you what I’ve learned about true kindness, why I feel that “killing them with kindness” works like a charm, and why it is also greatly misunderstood to the detriment of everyone involved.

A quick story from my life. During my first few years in real estate, somehow I developed this idea (perhaps thanks to my broker manager) that “the client is always right.” In my head that meant that the client can be moody, pushy, bossy and unreasonable yet I was to respond with kindness, nod my head and agree. After all, all I saw was a big paycheck on their forehead and I was willing to do whatever it took to cash it. [click to continue…]

dealing with psychopath

When I was a “seasoned” nurse, the first thing I would tell new psych nurses was to throw out everything they learned in books. I explained that although saying sweetly “I’m concerned about you….. for whatever reason” may work with neurotic folks who just want to talk, that it wouldn’t get you anywhere in an acute situation with someone who was paranoid, psychotic, and potentially dangerous (usually men). The standard “by the book” approach is missing one critical element.

Having spent over 35 years as a psych nurse, I consider myself an old pro. First just on the floor of several psychiatric units as a general nurse, then as the Director of the Stanford Hospital Psych. Day Treatment Center until California stopped funding those. I moved on to become the Ass’t Head Nurse for many years and the unit’s couple and family group therapist until I went part-time. I then specialized in assaultive behavior response and defense and taught that at Stanford for the psych units and other departments in the hospital until I retired. I’ll share with you here a few things that I taught younger nurses that will apply in any situation in life, whether you’re dealing with a disturbed stranger or a mentally unstable family member.

Truck Stop Waitress

When facing a mentally unstable person my first advice is to emulate a truck stop waitress – friendly but not invasive in any way. The waitress just wants to go about business and get you what you need. That means keeping a good distance, like 6 feet, and saying something like “Hi, what’s going on?” without any affect. [click to continue…]

god in flames from anger

Unless you were one of the fortunate ones who happened to have a Sunday school teacher who wasn’t afraid to be bluntly blasphemous you were stuffed with the notion that God is a truly nice guy, watching after us from above with a loving tender, ready to forgive every sin.

Bible itself, however, says nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, it seems some of the most destructive emotions, which most modern and cultured people find so appalling, are to be found in God. It turns out God was a raging, jealous, vain, cruel, and pompous ass.

Here‘s what the bible says about God’s mental make-up:

1. Trigger happy with sharp weapons, smoking nostrils and in love with pyrotechnics:

“Fire goes out from his presence to consume his enemies on every side.” (PS 97:3) – Quite a flamboyant personality, eh?

“The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. (PS 18:7-8)  – You sure we’re really talking about “God” here? [click to continue…]

hpa axis brain bw

Our body is a system in which all of the components are designed to work smoothly and in perfect balance with each other.  The same way that one broken part can bring a car to a screeching halt, so can our bodily organs. The last article was a short introduction to our HPA Axis.  Traditionally [continue reading...]

reset HPA axis

If you are anywhere like me, you must have days that feel like the software in your mind is glitching so bad you just want to stick that head in the freezer or drink yourself to death just to enjoy a moment of peace. It can seem like no matter how hard you try to [continue reading...]

rules for fighting fair

Sun Tzu, one of the greatest Chinese generals, strategists and philosophers believed that the supreme art of war was to subdue the enemy without even fighting. He said “To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” Most of us would be [continue reading...]

Source: Vinoth Chandar flickr

Everybody likes to argue. People that don’t like to argue are either dead or in comma. The only question is what kind of fights do you like? There are people who like to fight and are willing to employ their entire God given arsenal of wits in order to arrive at their own version of [continue reading...]

Photo: Richard Upsur

Loving an angry person can be a daily challenge. Even worse, confronting angry people often creates an atmosphere that is hostile and distancing or punishing with aggression or cold hostility. However, you might have reached a breaking point and are ready to do a cost-benefit analysis of the consequences of your changing the rules and [continue reading...]


It’s 6:30 pm.  You’re finally home. Kenny G is “in da house” and your nose is in the fridge sniffing for something to munch before your lover boy is home from work. You kick back on the couch sifting through your mail when you hear those anticipated foot steps.  Only this time they sound more [continue reading...]

responding to verbal abuse 270

Sometimes good insights come when you least expect them and from someone who’s cutting your hair.  Anna is a lovely, collected lady.  Even though she’s good at it, she hates fighting. Her husband is the nicest guy to others, yet he is an Olympian in verbal abuse  to her.  He never misses an opportunity to [continue reading...]