Two moms who say they’re troubled by the hatred they often feel toward their children reach out to Dr. Phil for help. Can they learn to control their rage before it’s too late?
“I Cannot Stand My Autistic Daughter”
Karen admits that she feels resentment and anger toward her 14-year-old autistic daughter, Julia, and often thinks about running away. She says she feels extreme frustration and annoyance for Julia’s “weird” and “unruly” behavior and often yells and screams hurtful things at her. Karen says she would be less embarrassed if her daughter was mentally retarded and in a wheelchair, because then the public would be more understanding and not judge her for her daughter’s behavior.
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“I cannot stand my autistic daughter. I hate her.”
Take a look inside Karen’s childhood. “Do you call that turning out fine?”
“You’re just doing what was done to you.” Can Karen break the cycle?
Karen’s husband, Bruce, says Karen is a great mom when she’s not taking out her frustration on their daughter. Dr. Phil Tells him that Karen’s behavior is indefensible and his first priority needs to be protecting their daughter. “I think her behavior is abusive, it is destructive, and this girl is suffering greatly from it, just as [Karen] suffered from it.”
Dr. Phil explains that Karen’s behavior is consistent with maternal narcissism. Clinical psychologist and author of Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers
, Dr. Karyl McBride, weighs in. “The cornerstone of maternal narcissism is about lack of empathy and lack of unconditional love, and it’s all about what the child does, rather than who that child is,” she says.
Dr. Phil addresses Karen. “You said, ‘I was abused by my father. I was abused by my mother. I was abandoned by my mother, and I turned out fine.’ No you didn’t!” He advises Karen that two things need to happen: First, she needs to heal the wounds from her own traumatic childhood. And second, she needs to have Julia evaluated, so she and Bruce can learn exactly what Julia’s condition is and how to relate to her. He offers her professional help in her area, and she accepts.
“I Wish My Daughter Would Disappear and Never Return”
Tiffany says her 10-year-old daughter is a manipulative liar, and says, “I would be just fine if somebody took her.” Tiffany admits to spanking her daughter until she was exhausted and telling her, “If I had a gun, I would have blown both of us away.”
Tiffany’s mother, Tyra, fears her granddaughter might suffer serious injuries if Tiffany doesn’t learn to control her rage.
“Are you going to kill your daughter?”
Tiffany clashes with her mother. And, was she abused as a child?
Tiffany’s daughter offers insight into her world: “I like spending time with my mom. It doesn’t really seem like she wants to spend time with me. I have heard her say that I’m an odd daughter to other people. I am home a lot by myself. I get scared when I’m home alone. I always cry, every hour. I cry at home because I think about things that aren’t good. When I’m home alone, I go and talk to my Barbies. I ask them about my mom, and I act like she is responding to me. I ask my Barbie, ‘Does my mom really love me?’ They tell me, ‘You know, your mom is always in your heart with you, so don’t worry about anything.’ I do sometimes get in trouble. My mom spanks me even harder, more than 10 times if I ever done something really bad. It hurts a lot. It makes me cry, but I just feel like a kid who’s been abused. My mom does not care about tears. She just either just stares at me in a nasty way or just walks off. I just feel like a piece of trash that’s sitting there that just got stepped on.”
Tiffany disagrees with Dr. Phil’s definition of abuse. He tells her, “You are abusing your child, and you’re doing it chronically, and you’re doing it viciously.”
Dr. Phil throws Tiffany a lifeline. Will she grab ahold?