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Topic : 08/20 The Dr. Phil House: Saving Grace, Part 2

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Created on : Friday, April 13, 2007, 03:09:57 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 04/16/07) Dr. Phil continues his work with a family torn apart by a 6-year-old girl’s secret: she was molested by her grandfather, and her grandmother failed to report it. Cat and Todd have cut off all contact with Todd’s parents, Steve and Anne, and haven’t seen them since they learned the horrifying truth from their daughter, Grace, over two years ago. Steve has served time for the assault and is now a registered sex offender with a protective order keeping him away from Grace until she’s 18. After secretly watching Dr. Phil’s interview with Steve and Anne, and learning the details of what really took place, will Todd and Cat ever feel comfortable with letting Grace’s grandmother back in her life? Dr. Phil sits down with both couples as they confront each other for the first time face to face. Then, Dr. Phil addresses Cat and Todd’s marriage, which has started to crumble under the stress. How can they get back on track for the sake of their daughter? Next, Grace wants to ask Dr. Phil some questions. See what this brave little girl wants other kids to know. Plus, Dr. Phil has an update on this family one month later. How are they now? Talk about the show here.

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August 21, 2007, 10:20 pm CDT

On: H e a l i n g

Quote From: frenchie68

*sits scratching her head*.  Can you explain who's side you are on here becuase my curfuzzled head seems to think you are on grandpas side here and are defending him to th epoint that Gracies safety has kinda gone to the way side.  As Dr Phil said on the show  *that's the verdict* when the parents said no. not at this time.  I think reconcilliation is for Grace to decide when she's a little older and able to understand the full impact of why she was kept from seeing him..  A molester, imho is not intitled to face their victim, it is not a right nor is it a given. 

 

My rapist died an early death and I feared that he would find me because of threats he made to do me or my fmaily harm.  He was not related to me in any way but I lost my best friend on account of him. 

 

The irony to my story is that he litterally tried to tell the truth in court but.. those who were supposed to be on my side DROPPED the charges.. go figure.   I have never felt any revenge or any mallace towards the man but I never felt he needed to face me for any reason.  If he was to face me it would be on MY terms, not my parents or anybody else's choosing.

 

Let me ask you this.  Did you wife want to face her father?  Has she indicated she wanted to make amends?  the *gentleman* as you call him maybe have found God but that gives him no right to be apart of your wifes life unless SHE indicates it is something SHE wants or needs.  How would you feel it if was your father that molested you?  would you want to allow him to face you?

Dear Frenchie,

 

     Let me say first of all, I am very sorry that you also had to be a victim of such a violent act.

 

     You asked if I was on Grandpa's side or Gracie's side. And my answer is "Yes."

 

     I too was molested by my grandfather at age 10 and then again at age 11. I did get a round-about apology from him via my grandmother. And, while I was never close to him before nor after, I do envy the opportunity Gracie has before her to reconcile to a man who is man enough to own his shame and face her and dirty-dog apologize. I wish that I had similar memories of my grandfather. I'm not bitter at him . . . but I'd be that much prouder of him if he'd "bit the nail" and owned up to me his disgrace and showed me that he valued me enough to want to "start all over again."

 

     In all fairness to Gracie, her decision to accept or reject his overtures now are a bit more emotionally packed than my experience. She was younger, she was the opposite sex, and her grandpa was able to do more with her than I permitted mine to do.

 

     But I do say that, if my judgment is correct and Grandpa is sincere, she stands to gain much more than she'll lose in the years ahead if they reconcile. (Don't misunderstand: I'm not saying she didn't lose worlds of innocence when she was violated. But she only stands to continue to lose, I fear, if healing doesn't begin.)

 

     You mentioned my wife: I never knew my father-in-law, but I've thought how much I wish I could  privately confront him about the lingering effects of the pain he gave his daughter and encourage and support him if he would be man enough to face her and say the things that I believe were in his heart before he died: i.e., "I'm unspeakably sorry, Daughter!"

 

     I'll never have that opportunity--and my wife's healing will have to come by a different route. But Gracie has heard words of remorse from a man who has, while living, said those very words, or at least similar words. I hope she'll grab hold of the rope thrown to her and not have to carry such deep scars so long like my wife has and apparently scars that still sting so many who have posted on this board.

 

     Allow me to share the verse of scripture that finally set me free from some of the pain (this pain and others) from my earlier years: "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53). As a Christian I'd been taught to identify the "he" as being Jesus. Further in that passage it says that "he was wounded for our transgressions." My reasoning then became thus: If I can trust him that he bore my sins on the cross that I might be free, then the Bible invites me to recognize as well that Jesus, in some cosmic sense, suffered also the pain of the whole world too.

     Think of it, if indeed my pain was indeed felt and endured by the Son of God 2000 years ago, WHY  ON  EARTH  DO  I   WANT  TO  HANG  ON  TO  IT  ANY   LONGER? If God's answer for the world is not: You better get your act together, but rather: I'll come, I'll take responsibility for the mess that you've made or that others have foisted on you , then that indeed is good news. And not only willing to endure our pain, but also to die for our sins. So that now I don't have to worry about so-and-so and making sure that they pay for their crimes against me. I now realize that God says, "Blame Me, I take responsibility for what they did. After all, it was My idea to create man to start with. Go ahead, blame Me and I'll die the death they deserve and suffer the agony that they foisted on you. As a matter of fact, I already have. I already bore your pain; and furthermore, I never let him get away with anything. Only it was I who paid the ugly price. Now you go ahead and get on with your life and enjoy life--nothing he/she/whoever did to you ever went unnoticed from My scrutiny. And every pang you felt pierced My heart first."

 

     God bless you, Frenchie. May God speed the healing in all of our lives!

     PhilFan

 
August 22, 2007, 8:06 am CDT

Why is the mother still with the father?

Quote From: cfsouthpaw67

What is wrong with people now a days!!!!   

 

First, why is grandpa OUT and secondly why is grandma STILL with the pervert?   And I think the most disturbing thing about this other than the obvious of what poor Grace is going through is this...........Why is her mother still with her father?  Why did Grace's father show more compasion, empathy and concern for his own father (THE ABUSER) than towards his own flesh and blood, his daughter ( THE VICTIM). 

 

I think the thought alone should have relinquished all rights to the grandchild let alone the actual act of all this.  (Sorry but I don't think anyone bought that  "The devil told him to do it).

 

I have to admit that I did not catch the second half of this story but these where my first impressions of the first show and I had to voice my opinion on this one!  I hope someone came to their senses and woke up and actually did right by this brave little girl.  It seems she would be better off not having this couple as her grandparents any longer - worse things may happen.

 

Grace should be extremely proud of herself - hold her head up high and know that she has helped many, many people by her words and actions.  She is to be comended!!

 

 

You asked "Why is her mother still with her father?  Why did Grace's father show more compasion, empathy and concern for his own father (THE ABUSER) than towards his own flesh and blood, his daughter ( THE VICTIM).  " After I saw the show I had those same feelings too and of course I don't actually know why but I venture a guess. Based on the actions of the grandfather and the grandmother who view child molestation as no big deal he was likely raised with that same attitude somewhat ingrained. In his head he knows better though, he knows that to molest a child is sick, it's wrong and it's evil, but I don't think he actually grasp the devastating effects it actually has in full or the long term repercussions or the intense pain Grace has gone threw and will continue to go threw for many years. I think he capsulized the event into a one time trauma with a few vague bad memories that'll fade in time instead of the personal crisis Grace has to deal with that she can't even put words to , she doesn't even have the vocabulary yet, but her pictures speak volumes. I think Todd's reactions are largely because of his upbringing and his outrage, sadly I think it's inspired by his wifes outrage.....I think Cat is teaching Todd how to have normal responses to these types of things. It's in his head, hopefully it'll reach his heart and he'll cry for his broken little girl.  As far as crying because his father was sent to jail, I think it's because it was something that  Todd could relate to and empathize with, unlike what Grace went threw. No question, Todd has something broken in his mind that he needs to have checked out, but he is aware of that. It was clear too that Cat is more than a little disturbed by Todd's emotional confusion and it is causing problems. Personally ,had this been the daughter of my husband and myself, my husband would have gotten physically violent with his father there would have been no tears for him, just 10 bloody knuckles...but at the same time he wouldn't have cried either, his way would have been to hold his daughter close and be as strong for her as he could. All men are different, depends on how they are raised.

 

 
August 22, 2007, 8:14 am CDT

What I have learned from this board

The things I have learned from reading this board.

 

1. Being quiet about being molested delays healing drastically

 

2. If you do get the guts to tell someone and you are not believed it delays healing drastically

 

3. An imperfect apology (even the one Steve gave-PU) is better than total denial by the offender

 

4. Therapy helps but is not the cure

 

Over and over I can see how important the Mom's role is for the child.  We as Mom's have a very important job that can't be minimized or underestimated here.  It appears if the Mothers of the world rise up and stand up supporting their children a huge difference could be made in at least the scars this crime leaves.  Kids don't have to be left with the disfiguring scars they have been left with if they are empowered and supported. 

 

That doesn't cure a single case, it just allows the person to heal.

 

The other thing is Steve.  My God, he came on national TV!  That's HUGE!  I for one hated that pitiful apology but it is more than I ever heard before!   I too wanted him to take full responsibility for what he did and acknowledge the extent of harm he caused Grace.  (The devil got hold of him?  Come on man, step up here!!!!!!!)  He didn't. He was a long way from that.  But he was up there, and he was talking about it.  Maybe he will encourage more pedophiles to step up and admit to what they are doing!  And at first maybe they will sound pitiful but -what if- this was just the beginning and they got better at taking responsibility and they evolved at that by encouraging each other toward a healthier life?  What if there were some positive role models of what a person can do IF they commit such an act and have remorse?  Right now we write them all off- no recovery possible-the end.  What if that isn't so?  I agree, there just has to be a better way than this.  I think we are still in the dark ages here and haven't evolved in this area yet.

 

So much good can come from this show.  There are things we all can do.  And I say that because the chances this will never in your life time in anyway affect you is like saying you'll never meet an alcoholic.  Maybe you won't know someone or maybe you won't know that you do know them.  These are the beginnings of charting the paths as to what to do if someone does tell you that they are/or have been victimized.  Or if you have done something to some one and have regrets (and I do believe SOME get to that point) because we hear of some here on this board that made feeble attempts on that pathless road.   What is the path that they take to making it better?  It appears that those that have admitted their guilt and take responsibility for this being all their fault Can make a difference in their victims healing.  It will never make it okay- or right- but it goes a long ways in healing what the victim feels.  I have so much admiration for the AA program.  I like the post from the guy from AA who goes to the drunk in with the pedophiles and tells the guy to step-up and take responsibility for what he has done and gets kicked out for doing that.  I'm telling you we are in the dark ages and the dawn is coming and in so many ways it was those drunks that are leading the way.  I think Bill W was on to something there. smile

 

Thanks so much for discussing this here.  Good topic Dr Phil and all who have shared their stories with us!

 

Smile,

Sue

 
August 22, 2007, 8:25 am CDT

Saving Grace

When Saving Grace was on the first time it just made me so sick to my stomach. It brough back so many memories that I had to leave the room a couple of times.

The same thing happened to me at the age of 8-9 1/2 years of age.  It happened more than l time it was over and over through the years.  

 One of the  hardest  thing for me toget over was when my grandfather would sit and listen to church on Sunday mornings as he was molesting me.  I learned to hate God and not lean on him as they were trying to teach me in youth group.  My mom knew what was going on but still made me go over every night and stay as I was to take care of my Grandma.  She was a very special lady and I made every chance to go in and do the things for her that I was to do.  My grandfather would find a reason for me to help him and let my grandma be.

He always had me go to bed first and then he would abuse me and tell me that if I told my dad he would tell them that I wanted to do it to him and he had to push me away.

When he was taken to the hospital, my dad told me to stay with him as he talked to the nurses.  I was able to tell him NO and I went to the window. He kept asking me to tell him bye and give him a kiss.  I did not go close to him and when my dad walked in with a nurse my dad asked me when he had died and why I did not go to him.  I though I had killed him and I lived with that for many years beside the abuse. 

If I would see Graces grandpa I would tell him I would like to see him put on the front lines of the war and let anyone take a shot at him.   Her grandma should have to sit and hear from many people what they feel as they are being abused.   Maybe she would get the idea what that little girl was put through.  I don't blame those parents to not let them see Grace.

Please make sure Grace knows that not every guy would do that and that she is special and loved.

       

 
August 22, 2007, 10:57 am CDT

Betrayal

When I was 9 years old (1963) I was molested by the father (an elementary school teacher) of my sister's dance classmate. The second time it happened I told my mother, and she said I was imagining things. I begged her to not make me go there again, but she did ... time and time again. Eventually I got up the nerve to leave the dance school waiting room (scene of the crime) and go two buildings down to the public library to hide. Countless tears and 43 years later I'm still paying for a childhood of my parents never standing up for or protecting me.

When I became a mother it was critical to me that my kids know what was appropriate and inappropriate behaviour of others toward them ... explanations were kept brief and simple. When my middle son was 4 he came home from the babysitter's house and told me her teenage son was a 'homosexual' and then told me what that boy had done to him.

No time was wasted confronting the boy, his parents and the authorities, and in getting counselling for my son.

A huge price is paid when an authority figure (teacher, religious, family member, etc) abuses a child, and it is many times compounded when parents and/or other family members do not IMMEDIATELY rise up to protect the victim and confront the abuser.

Believe me, I know.

Wish my mom had been more like Grace's.

Cindy
 
August 22, 2007, 11:15 am CDT

08/20 The Dr. Phil House: Saving Grace, Part 2

 

"I'm so relieved and so thankful," Cat says with tears in her eyes. "Because it seems as if this huge burden that my daughter has been carrying for so long has been lifted. I hope one day that we can meet [Dr. Phil] when all of this is in the past, and we are healthier, and more stable and more whole. I really hope one day that he can see the end results of the commitments that he makes."

 

 

 

I understand what Cat is saying (quoted below), it is a feeling /burden that I share now 30 years later as a parent who's family member abused ALL of the little girls in the family and no one told, until the eldest victim was over 18, no one knew but the abuser and the child; for all of those years, (which show the slyness and cunningness of  our brother).  The younger girls in the family became the prey and THANKFULLY one of our children told.  For some of the children it was 1 or 2 opportunities because this abuser is a family member  we ALL trusted,  sadly for others the abuse happened more often.  The monster went to prison for 15-25 years, and this gives great relief and also plenty of sadness for what had been going on.  That this animal was finally behind bars and unable to prey on children for a long time was a burden lifted during the incarceration.  What Now?  He is out of prison 15 years later...The burden that had been lifted is now nearby to my thoughts and feelings, it never went away entirely.

 

What I wish so much for Cat and her Husband and daughter is to be able move on and continually do well in life.  From the bottom of my heart, I understand so well how you are feeling!

 

Thank you DR. Phil for your help with this lovely child and her parents.  You DO make a difference!

 

"I'm so relieved and so thankful," Cat says with tears in her eyes. "Because it seems as if this huge burden that my daughter has been carrying for so long has been lifted. I hope one day that we can meet [Dr. Phil] when all of this is in the past, and we are healthier, and more stable and more whole. I really hope one day that he can see the end results of the commitments that he makes."

 
August 22, 2007, 11:25 am CDT

You Shouldn't Be Alone

Quote From: softcore

..so much for your reply.  I had looked for my post but couldn't see it, and thought it had been censored out.

 

I still don't know what to do about Grandma.  I could stop her from being alone with him, and she would want to know why, and we could talk.  It would be extremely stressful for me - she is a very strong, overbearing personality and I would need back-up.  Or I could just talk with her about my concerns.  It's just so ugly - I would have to talk about why I was concerned, and bring up the whole thing with Daddy dearest.  I'm not sure it would be worth all the pain.  But of course I do need help in knowing where to go from here.  Seeing this show has brought this to the forefront of my mind, which is a good thing, but I really am at a loss just now.

 

I'm going to visit with my Mom next week.  I will talk to her and ask her what went so wrong with mhs that she has refused their help ever since.

 

I'm sorry about your story.  The only reasoning that makes sense to me as to why people protect the abuser, is that it is just so difficult and painful to face the truth.  It takes bravery and courage to speak the truth sometimes, and not all people are strong like that.  The truth lurks hidden in our unconscious and sometimes it comes out, where we can deal with it, and sometimes it doesn't.

 

By the way, for at least the last several months I keep having a dream where my brother is molesting me and I'm trying to get away from him.  I don't remember anything like that ever happening, but then I don't remember a lot of my childhood because of traumatic events that took place when I was 14.  (completely unrelated to abuse)  I have tried to remember my childhood to see if there is any truth in these dreams...... perhaps they mean something else.  My brother did bully me, and now he's in the process of bullying his wife and children.  Just wondering, that's all.

Please get yourself some therapy, because you are dealing with too much pain, in too many areas...you cannot do this alone!  You will begin to feel more empowered when a professional "has your back" so to speak.  Your mother-in-law had sex with her own son, please do not trust her with yours.  A therapist will help you to decide how you will handle it, but there is really to much to be lost if this woman goes after your son.

Dreams are funny...so many emotions come out in the wash...a therapist may be helpful in dream interpretation, but remember, these are dreams...you have way to much reality to put to bed...the dreams can be re-visited a a later time.

I hope your mother will accept some help, maybe you can do this together, and sort of support each other.  Remember, you are aso grieving the death of your husband.  You cannot take it all at once.

Please, get some help in keeping your son away from that woman...at least keep him from EVER being left alone with her...that way, it saves you the burden of explaining..and it may save another victim.  I hope that you and your mother can become stronger, advocates for one another...and for your son.  Your need may be the motive for her to seek help...let her know that you need each other...and good luck to your family.  You have had a really rough ride!

 
August 22, 2007, 1:27 pm CDT

being a survivor

One who goes through this is not "damaged forever."  All sorts of experiences damage people - loss of trust is one of the worst, of course, but it isn't the only one, and making the event, the loss, or the damage the sole focus of the child's life is a mistake.  When one has a physical cancer, we look to surviving. Abuse, and especially incest, is an emotional cancer that can be treated and will leave scars, but one can survive.   I think the most wonderful part of the show was Dr. Phil's giving this girl validation for her survival skills;  It  brought me to tears. Telling her she may well have helped many others was so on-target, and will, I believe, be spot-on for helping her heal.  I was not so brave.  I was not able to talk openly until I was an adult.  I didn't even tell my own sisters until my abuser was dead.  Still, because I was lucky in other parts of my life, I was able to survive and even flourish.  An event that helped me heal was helping to protecti the children with whom he had contact.  Looking back 20 years, it probably wasn't enough, but it was what I could do then.   Ultimately, surviving is about owning our own lives, scars and all, and being in charge of how we are in the world, who we let in, and how we allow them to interact with us.  Lucky may be an odd word to apply to a girl in Grace's position, but she was lucky enough to have her taking control praised.  I am quite hopeful for her healing and flourishing.
 
August 22, 2007, 5:18 pm CDT

08/20 The Dr. Phil House: Saving Grace, Part 2

Quote From: xpoppy62

You asked "Why is her mother still with her father?  Why did Grace's father show more compasion, empathy and concern for his own father (THE ABUSER) than towards his own flesh and blood, his daughter ( THE VICTIM).  " After I saw the show I had those same feelings too and of course I don't actually know why but I venture a guess. Based on the actions of the grandfather and the grandmother who view child molestation as no big deal he was likely raised with that same attitude somewhat ingrained. In his head he knows better though, he knows that to molest a child is sick, it's wrong and it's evil, but I don't think he actually grasp the devastating effects it actually has in full or the long term repercussions or the intense pain Grace has gone threw and will continue to go threw for many years. I think he capsulized the event into a one time trauma with a few vague bad memories that'll fade in time instead of the personal crisis Grace has to deal with that she can't even put words to , she doesn't even have the vocabulary yet, but her pictures speak volumes. I think Todd's reactions are largely because of his upbringing and his outrage, sadly I think it's inspired by his wifes outrage.....I think Cat is teaching Todd how to have normal responses to these types of things. It's in his head, hopefully it'll reach his heart and he'll cry for his broken little girl.  As far as crying because his father was sent to jail, I think it's because it was something that  Todd could relate to and empathize with, unlike what Grace went threw. No question, Todd has something broken in his mind that he needs to have checked out, but he is aware of that. It was clear too that Cat is more than a little disturbed by Todd's emotional confusion and it is causing problems. Personally ,had this been the daughter of my husband and myself, my husband would have gotten physically violent with his father there would have been no tears for him, just 10 bloody knuckles...but at the same time he wouldn't have cried either, his way would have been to hold his daughter close and be as strong for her as he could. All men are different, depends on how they are raised.

 

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my "opinion".  You made a lot of sense and helped me realize more in depth.  Thank you.
 
August 22, 2007, 5:36 pm CDT

Saving Grace made me cry....

It really hit  home with me the show about saving grace, it brought back memories, i too was abused at age 6. But i wasn't brave enough like Grace was to tell. I give her a LOT of credit to tell of her abuser, she is a couragous little girl and a brave one at that. I was really upset that the grandfather only got 8 months in jail for what he did. He should of gotten YEARS in jail. I don't think the grandparents should ever be trusted for Grace again, it's not worth taking that chance. They already "damaged" her, which is going to take years, a very long time to heal from.
 
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