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Like many women I’ve known, I thought my marriage was near perfect. Sure we had occasional arguments – usually the same few, in different forms. As a child, I had seen my parents argue and thought arguments were normal. I trusted all was well and that he felt the same abiding love and loyalty for me that I did for him. So, I was beyond shocked when I discovered an inconvenient truth. He didn’t feel the same way – at least for a time. At one point, he didn’t even know if he wanted to stay together.

Realizing that, I felt heartbroken. I drifted through cycles of denial, anger, hurt, tears, emptiness, and depletion. In my despair, I realized that it’s not only the heart that breaks when you feel betrayed. It’s your spirit, your sass, and your essential life force. No longer confident in my own judgment, I castigated myself for having missed “the signs.” The more I beat myself up, the more I believed I would never feel good again. And deep down, I missed my former self and my former life.

Nursing my hurt years ago, I took to reading children’s books. I watched gads of Hallmark Movies, all with requisite happy endings. I also became a bit of a recluse. At one point, I even plugged an electric teapot in my bedroom. It sat on a tray with cups and powdered creamer, so I didn’t have to go as far as the kitchen in the morning. My energy was that low. As I turned down one social invitation and one job after another, I realized I was just putting off the inevitable day when I had to step out of the comfort cocoon I wove and get back to the real world. But how?

Sad young woman waiting by phone pop art image

I decided to take it one breath, one step, and one day at a time. I reminded myself to be kind to me, and I began challenging the negative thoughts in my head each time I noticed them. I started writing my thoughts and feelings in a journal.

By then, we were living in separate states. I was testing business development in a new market; he was happy to stay put. And I really wanted to change that! We had enjoyed a great love for many years and created a wonderful family we care deeply about. I wanted those great feelings again.

One day, when I actually had built up the energy to get out to a business meeting, I felt hopeful on my return trip and called him from my car.

Open and vulnerable, I said, “I really miss you and want you to come down and be with me.”

His answer? “Let me run the numbers.”

Wait a minute! Did he just compare me to a ledger sheet? In just a few words, I had been reduced to a bank balance devoid of feeling.

That really hurt. In. My. Gut.

Suddenly, the skies literally opened. And, just like that, I was deluged by intense rain and emotions. Tears about to spill, I ended the call. It wasn’t enough that my heart had ripped open again. I wasn’t sure I would survive either storm. Struggling white-knuckled to steer my car through a torrential downpour, I took a few deep breaths to calm me. And I put to use another coping skill I had learned. I noticed and named my feelings: sad and under-valued.

I asked myself, “What do I want wanted instead?” Simple answer: “I want to be happy.” I then asked myself, “How can I get to happy?” And in that moment, my brain shifted into high gear. I had just projected myself into the future – thinking about what I could do differently going forward – and I began getting unstuck!

In the next 45 seconds, I came up with three possibilities: I could (1) become a better communicator; (2) develop better influencing skills; and (3) network for a new husband. By the time I hit number three, I began to chuckle. Laughing in that moment, I knew I was going to be okay. Before long, I made a plan. I stayed accountable. I communicated carefully and purposefully. It took a few months, but life began to shift – inside and out. Eventually, we rekindled our marriage. With shared values and goals, we are again in a loving rapport, working as a team, solid as ever, and celebrating 44 years.

Not everyone chooses to stay together. No matter the choice, recovery is complex. That’s why I co-created the online Breakup and Divorce Recovery Program – with my business partner, Dr. Diane Kramer. This program helps others gain the insight and abilities to restore their faith in themselves, challenge their self-concept, heal, and reintegrate the varied parts of self that break during breakups. Our program will help you build a solid foundation for more self-love, shared love, and win-win relationships. If you have a need, we look forward to speaking with you.

The choice for a new relationship – or not – is yours. Our program will help you decide how to move forward in the best way for you. It also will empower you with the inner and outer skills needed to feel whole again.


Donna Anselmo, a certified coach facilitator, also earned a Master of Science degree in Healthcare Policy & Management following a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In 1978, Donna began her career as a hypnotherapist and eventual director of the New York Hypnosis Center in Great Neck, NY. Then following a lifelong love of writing she transitioned into journalism and rose to managing editor of a group of weekly newspapers. In 2010 Donna authored Marketing Demystified, published by McGraw-Hill. For 10 years, she served as host of the educational AM/FM broadcast, Bold Talk Business Radio; and on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations. Co-founder of Extraordinary Self Programs, Inc., she has collaborated with Dr. Diane Kramer since 2006. Learn more about Donna’s serendipitous career.

If you now are feeling hurt, sad, unhappy, undeserving, dissatisfied, lost, empty, bleak, mistrusting, self-blaming, needy, longing, guilty, shamed, and/or hopeless, our program will provide the support needed to restore you.

Download our free e-book Recovering from Toxic Relationships, Breakup and Divorce Recovery e-book– including Nine steps for Recovery.

Sign up for one of our Toxic Relationships, Breakup and Divorce Recovery Programs. These Extraordinary Self Transformation Programs, comes in three versions – a private coaching program over 9 months to help you evolve to the next level of self-love, self-confidence and a fulfilling life, a group program and third, a self-study version, each to fit your budget.

Sign up for one of our other Extraordinary Self Transformation Programs.

Dr. Diane
(Kramer) is a long-time relationship and business coach, psychologist, divorce mediator, author and marriage counselor. Dr. Diane brings insight, wisdom, warmth, and powerful tools to help her clients recover from toxic and painful relationships with self and/or other – in personal life and business. She teaches the mind set, skill set and action set to feel continually self-loving and powerful while reaching success goals time-after-time in all areas of your life.

Donna (Anselmo) M.S., Dr. Diane’s partner, is a long-time business and relationship coach, best-selling author, hypnotherapist, radio personality and branding/marketing specialist who uses wisdom, compassion, insight and powerful tools to lead her clients to recover from toxic and painful relationships with self and/or others. She then leads her clients to build successful lives, step-by-step, in the areas of relationships, career, business and personal life.

Co-founders of the award-winning Extraordinary Self Transformation Programs, Donna and Dr. Diane draw their tools from Psychology, Neuroscience, Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) and MIndfulness Practices.

Donna and Dr. Diane have helped thousands of Extraordinary Self graduates transform.