Carl Grody, LISW - Child, adolescent, and family counseling -- (614) 477-5565
Grody Family Counseling is a strength-based, solution-oriented practice.  We don't see you, your family, or your children as problems to fix; we see you as people who overcome hurdles in ways that you don't even realize.
Our job is to help you recognize your skills and strengths that get lost in the chaos of family, parenting, relationship, behavioral, and/or mental-health issues.  Sure, we'll work on what's causing the issue(s), but we won't label you, your family, or your children as problems.  We help you figure out where you are, what you want, and how to get there.
Call today for an appointment to see if Grody Family Counseling is the right counseling fit for you.
Carl's Latest Blogs
Nobody Wins The Blame Game
Let’s say I have new clients named Joe and Mary. Let’s say they’ve never been in for a session before. Joe often expects things to go like this:
“Well,” Joe might say, trying to sound reasonable, “the problem is Mary. She’s always nagging. If she’d just leave me alone when I come home from work, we’d get along just fine.”
“Well, that’s an easy fix,” Joe expects me to say. “Mary, you’re obviously to blame. What can we do to make you less of a harpy so your family can have peace and harmony?”
That’s not how it would happen.
Meanwhile, Mary might expect something like this. “Joe’s the problem,” she’d say. “He comes home grumpy and lazy, and I need him to stop that. If he wasn’t such a Grumpy Gus, we’d be just fine.” (OK, she probably wouldn’t say “Grumpy Gus,” but this is a family-friendly website.)
“Well, that’s an easy fix,” Mary expects me to say. “Joe, you’re obviously to blame. What can we do to help you stop being such a jerk when you come home from work?”
That’s not how it’d go, either.
Now, people do come into family sessions with the idea of “fixing” someone else, but that approach rarely leads to positive change. More likely, it leads to more of the same arguments that they have at home, only this time they’re in my office and expecting me to referee. They play the blame game with all the skill of a kid trying to blame a broken lamp on a little brother.
So imagine the looks I get when I say to Joe and Mary, “I’m not really a blame guy. Tell me, what’s working well for you?”
They normally stare at me. As they gape, I follow up with, “Tell me one small thing that works well when Joe comes home from work.” It sounds simple, but you’d be amazed what people agree on when they just give themselves the chance.
Blame is one of the biggest obstacles to progress. This applies at all levels of our lives. When Congress and the President point fingers at each other, they only alienate each other so nothing can get done. When a referee makes a bad call, players and coaches lose focus by giving too much attention to it, making it harder to win the game. When the brother blames the toddler for breaking the lamp, the lamp’s still broken, and the toddler’s confused about why he’s in trouble.
And when Joe and Mary blame each other, they’re pushing away a dear member of their family that they count on for love and support. Instead of lifting each other up, they’re tearing each other down, and that often devastates not just the two of them but the rest of the family as well.
Now, let’s not be too hard on Joe and Mary. Our brains are wired to remember the negative much more than the positive. It’s a survival technique from the days when we lived in caves instead of condos; many of the negative things that happened those days either made you deathly ill or made you some creature’s lunch. These days, the chances that you’ll be attacked by a wild animal while strolling down the street are next to nil, so we really don’t need that approach anymore. That’s why I help Joe and Mary leave blame behind so they can build on what works for them.
Deep down, that’s really what Joe and Mary expect, too.
Regrets Get Old After Awhile
Everyone has regrets. We might not want to admit it, but we do. Maybe it’s a lost relationship, or a choice you didn’t make, or even something as simple as trying to sing Sinatra’s “My Way” at karaoke.  Regrets come with life. They’re part of the process of learning from our mistakes.
The problem with regret is we’re not always good at letting it go. We let it make us miserable in the moment, which keeps us from appreciating the good things we have now.
So it’s ironic that in a study released in 2013, the group who should have the most regrets (because they’ve lived longer than the rest of us) is also the group that doesn’t worry about them. As a group, the elderly say regrets don’t do much good, and they’re much better at letting them go. Ironically, their biggest regret is worrying so much when they were younger.
I was reminded of this study recently when I played golf with an 86-year-old man named Al. As you might expect, Al didn’t move very fast, but he was efficient. He hit the ball straight and surprisingly long for his age, and we laughed a lot. I told Al I hoped to just be able to get out of bed when I’m 86, and he laughed and told me the key was not to worry too much about it.
As we chatted, I noticed Al’s attitude was upbeat about almost everything. When I mentioned that, he smiled and said, “People worry too much about stuff they can’t control. If they mess up, they worry too much about it.”
One of the reasons the elderly regret less is because they’ve seen so many problems come and go. They’ve seen more life than the young whippersnappers who are only experiencing things for the first or fourth or eighth time. They’ve learned the wisdom in Mark Twain’s quote: “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”
But as I say to clients in my office, it’s easier to identify a problem than to change it. So how can you help yourself let go of regrets?
First, you need to recognize them. When you feel annoyed about a lost opportunity or something that didn’t work out, step back, take a deep breath, and see the regret for what it is – a chance to learn from the mistake.
Second, ask yourself if you can change it. If so, go ahead and do it. If not, you’re just punishing yourself by holding on to it. Instead, you might try imagining what life might be like without the regret guiding your thoughts.
Third, keep track of what triggers those feelings. Do you regret losing a past love, for example, when you fight with your current partner? Regret is sometimes a sign that you need to work on a current issue or relationship instead of trying to fix an old one.
Finally, be gentle with yourself. It’s as important to forgive yourself as to forgive others. Trust that you’ve learned from your past to make better choices today.
I mentioned the recent study about regrets to Al. He nodded and said, “When someone makes a mistake, I ask, ‘Can you walk on water?’ Only one man ever has, so if you can’t, it makes you human, and you’re going to make mistakes like the rest of us.”
Al then missed a putt. He didn’t get mad or scowl; he just picked up his ball, shook his head with a smile, and moved on to the next tee.
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