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Wednesday, May 21, 2014



Dr. Phil, the bullying TV psychologist, takes on difficult cases every day.  He generally ends each show with his “patients” blubbering like babies and agreeing to accept the “resources” that Dr. Phil offers to resolve their problems.  We seldom see the results of the “resources,” but Dr. Phil is applauded and treated like a miracle worker.

There have been plenty of times in my life where I could have used a Dr. Phil, but there have been two instances where I have been proud of my own council.

At work there was an Administrative assistant who was stressed over work and her commute which was making her job as a new mother difficult.  I listened as she went on about how she was missing her little girl who was only months old, but was needing her income to maintain her lifestyle.  Her husband was a corrections officer and brought home a good salary, but it was not enough to maintain their current standard of living.

I told her that it might be tough, but I’ll bet they could scale back and she could be a full time mom for several years.  I suggested she consider it an investment.  Pay now, or pay later for counseling to work out problems of bad grades, low self-esteem, drugs, or the many problems children sometimes have when mom is not around.  It would be an investment to build a mother daughter bond that you would never have the chance to “purchase” at a later date.

This lady did leave her job, and years later she contacted me and told me how glad she was that she did.  Her relationship with her daughter was wonderful, her daughter was a delight, and they managed the finances by cutting back until she was able to work again.  She said she just called to say thank you.

Some years later, a colleague at work was having family issues.  She had purchased a two family home with her sister.  Her sister now wanted to move to a single family home and they were bickering over a buyout price.  The fighting was getting ugly. 

This surprised me as I had often heard her talk of her sister and I knew they had always had a very strong bond.  The battle came down to $5000, not an insignificant amount, and it was clear her sister was not going to budge.  They were starting to talk about hiring lawyers.

I asked her, “If your sister was kidnapped, and the kidnappers wanted you to pay a $5000 ransom would you spend the money?”  She immediately responded “Of course.”  Then I asked, “Isn’t it worth $5000 to save your relationship?”

She gave in to her sister.  She told her that for the sake of their relationship which she cherished she would not argue over the money. 

She later thanked me for putting the issue in perspective.

I think both of these ladies always knew what they wanted to do; they just needed someone to give them a push.  Regardless it was very rewarding to be thanked for providing that nudge.

Sometimes solutions are easy, they just take someone to point them out.  I only wish solutions would seem as clear when they are your own problems as they are when they are someone else’s.   


  1. Being a fixer myself, I find that as you said, it is easier to find solutions to others problems than my own. Maybe it is because you can think outside of the box when it is others but when it is your own problems we seem to get tunnel vision.

  2. and i hope the ripples of these pieces of advice reach out far and wide into the world. :)

  3. Yeah, completely agree that 'Dr' Phil is a maladjusted bully given a world pulpit by another part-time bully. It really is despicable that he is allowed that power on such a stage. There are far better, read that non-destructive, ways to go about what he's doing and your examples are just that.

    Maybe you should get your own show? With a Mrs Cranky rebuttal following?

  4. I don't care for Dr. Phil and I won't waste my time watching him. I'm just saying. What Xavier said about his bullying is why.

    You did a fine job with both of these ladies. Excellent advice.

    I do agree that solving other peoples issues is far easier than our own sometimes. Sometimes we can't see the forest for all the trees.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  5. Ah, you're a natural guidance counselor! Frankly, people need fresh eyes to see what's so close to them.

  6. Well, NOW I know who to call!! Dr. Cranky's in the house!

    (Dr. Phil....Pfffffft!)

  7. It does indeed feel good to know that you've helped someone to make a decision for which they are glad to have made. These are two from whom you've heard back. Who knows how many more you may have helped who didn't consider letting you know.

    That having been said, I'm a tad dismayed at the reasoning behind the first bit of advice. I was able to, and opted to be a stay at home mom. I have no regrets. However, women work for various reasons - only some of which is financially driven. No matter what the reason, I don't think it's fair or even close to correct to equate working moms with messed up kids. I do realize you said "sometimes." I still respectfully think it's wrong. Perhaps that just my cranky opinion. ;)

  8. Giving advice may not always be so rewarding. Good it worked out.

  9. I think we all need to start writing letter to the powers that be so we can get you a TV show of your own. Dr. Phil should have to share all that income he makes and he might as well share it with you.

  10. Maybe you don't like the limelight. You could forget the show and simply hang out a shingle, operating your own consultation service out of a spare bedroom. On second thought, that might raise suspicion.

  11. His wife freaking scares me.

  12. I'm not sure I know who Dr. Phil is, but I agree with the comments that mention that other people's problems are easier to analyze and solve. And I agree...the advice can go wrong. Glad it worked out in your case.

  13. I've never seen Dr. Pill, but I doubt he could have come up with any better advice than you did. ;)


  14. It is very easy to advice for others. But it is difficult to take the advice and work! If people hear the advice and work accordingly then it is fine going!

  15. I've given out good advice over the years and had people thank me for it, but it seems odd that I can do this, since I stuffed up my own life so often.
    I used to watch Dr Phil and yell at him for giving what I thought as bandaid measures too often. I gave up watching, he's a bit of a bully and only wants resolutions where the "patients" agree with him and his terms.

  16. What I don't like about Dr. Phil and other shows of the same ilk is the feeling that people's serious problems are being used for entertainment. It feels just plain wrong to me and I switch the channel off or over. You gave good advice because you cared and it was both personable and wise...


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