Bob says his wife of 23 years, Dorothy, constantly accuses him of cheating, and despite his vehement denial, she continues to lash out at him daily, leading to violent arguments — often in front of their 12-year-old daughter, Alice. Dorothy admits her behavior is over the top but says she has proof that her husband has strayed — but is she overreacting? And, when the parents hear how their fighting has affected their daughter, will it provide a wake-up call? This program contains strong language and sexual content. Viewer discretion advised.
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Dorothy says she is convinced that her husband, Bob, has been cheating on her with women he meets online. “I saw an episode of Dr. Phil
on how to keep your children safe on the Internet, so I decided to check our computer’s history and came up with various sites pertaining to cheating and hooking up with women,” she says. She adds that she has also found emails with naked pictures of young women. Dorothy says Bob claims it is all just spam, but she doesn’t believe him — especially since she says she found two empty bottles of erectile dysfunction medication. “He wasn’t using it with me,” she insists.
“Bob and I fight at least three or four times a week,” Dorothy says, admitting that their 12-year-old daughter, Alice, often has a front row seat to their arguments. “We have both gotten physical with each other,” she claims. “In the worst fight, he grabbed me by the throat and he started punching my arm. The bruising lasted six weeks.”
Bob is adamant that he has never cheated on his wife — and never would. “My wife watched a Dr. Phil
episode — the show was how to catch a cheating spouse,” he says. “She decided to check our computer’s history and claims that she found dating websites.” Bob explains, “My wife thinks that my spam email is my real email, and she thinks that I respond and converse with these people. She thinks that I’m involved with prostitutes, in some way, on a regular basis.” Regarding the erectile dysfunction medication, Bob claims that it was Dorothy who initially encouraged him to get the prescription — and says she even went with him to the doctor.
Bob says that despite all of his denials, Dorothy continues to lash out at him daily, leading to violent arguments. “She can be two inches from your face, cursing and swearing, ‘I’m going to get you!'” he says. Bob claims that Dorothy has clawed his face, fractured his nose, broken laptop computers, smashed the windows on his van and even threatened to cut off his manhood. He says that the police have been called to their house seven times because of the fighting. “I do think that this is a desperate situation,” he says. “My family is broken.”
Dr. Phil reviews Dorothy’s accusations about Bob: “You say he’s gay, a transvestite, is involved with prostitutes, has escorts in the city … ”
“Dr. Phil, what’s so upsetting about this whole thing is she’s the only woman I’ve been with my entire life — 100 percent,” Bob says. “And basically she’s throwing knives at me.”
Bob and Dorothy’s eldest daughter, Samantha, 22, says that she’s fed up with her mother’s mistrust — and wants her to stop accusing her father of cheating. “My mom accuses my dad of being gay; she accuses him of being a transvestite; she has accused him of having Russian whores,” she says. Samantha describes an incident where Dorothy thought Bob had taken her keys, so she took all of his tools off a rack in the garage and threw them into the driveway. Samantha says the keys were in Dorothy’s pocket the whole time. “My mom has gone off the deep end,” she insists. “Misery loves company. She wants everyone to be miserable right along with her.”
Samantha also says that Dorothy has severe anger issues — and attacks her father physically and verbally on a daily basis. “She’s extremely violent,” Samantha claims. “She’s thrown chairs, scratched his face.” Samantha also claims that when she was 16, her mother threw a blender at her, splitting open her face over her left eye. “They’re lasting images,” Samantha says. “They’re burned into my mind; I’ll never forget them.”
Dorothy admits, “I have a tendency to break and destroy things in anger. I broke two picture windows. I smashed every window of my husband’s van with a hammer.”
Dr. Phil reviews a list some of Dorothy’s erratic behavior, according to Bob and Samantha, including clawing Bob’s face, throwing his clothes outside, breaking a chair and making Bob take a polygraph test to prove he wasn’t cheating — which he passed. He also mentions an incident where Dorothy accused Bob of sending emails to women — and later smashed two five-foot picture windows at their rental house, where Samantha lives.
“So your theory was the way to handle that was to throw candelabras through picture windows?” How does Dorothy respond?
Samantha weighs in — and Dorothy reacts: “You’re in your dad’s pocket.”
Looking at the Evidence
“So, you’re watching my show, and you see me talking to parents, and then a wife about looking at the computer,” Dr. Phil says to Dorothy. “So, you decide it’s time for you to become engaged with the computer — that there might be some information you want.”
“Yes, I checked the history,” Dorothy replies.
“He calls all of this spam,” Dr. Phil says, pulling up one example of an email that Bob received. “But you’re like, ‘How much spam can there be, right?'”
“This is a form email sent out trying to get people to respond.” And, Dr. Phil looks at Bob’s Craigslist posts. What do they reveal?
Bob explains that at Dorothy’s request, he took a polygraph test, which she arranged, and passed it “with 100 percent certainty.” He says that she was satisfied for a few days, but then went back to accusing him of cheating. “Now she claims that I took a drug to counteract the lie detector test,” he says.
Dr. Phil reviews the results of Bob’s polygraph test, commenting, “He passed with flying colors. The results across the board were no deception.” He says to Dorothy, “But your theory is that if you take an anti-anxiety medication, you would then pass a polygraph.”
“Klonopin lowered his blood pressure,” she responds. “So he could have easily passed the test.”
Alice says that her parents fight almost every day — and their arguments sometimes keeps her awake at night, once even causing her to miss school the next day. “I have heard my mom and dad say numerous, horrible things to each other,” Alice says. “My mom calls my dad a ‘$2 trick.’ My dad has told my mom to go kill herself.” She adds, “They will say things like, ‘If we got a divorce, who would you like to go with?’ I’ll say, like, ‘Come on, guys, just stop. But there’s not much I can really do, because, of course, they’re adults.”
Alice also says that she has seen her parents punch, kick and even bite each other. “I’ve seen my mom and dad get physical to the point where the cops have been called. I thought one of my parents was going to be taken to jail,” she confides. “All I want to do is get away from the arguing. But no matter what I do, what I try, they will not stop fighting, no matter what.”
Dr. Phil talks one-on-one with Alice. “I’d like them to understand that it really hurts me,” she says.
Back onstage, Dr. Phil asks Bob and Dorothy, “What did you think of what your daughter had to say?”
“Very accurate,” Dorothy says. “I feel sorry.”
“It breaks my heart completely,” Bob echoes. “I know how it’s affecting her, because I see it and I feel it.”
“Shame on both of you,” Dr. Phil tells the parents. He continues, “I clearly just talked to the brains of the operation back there. Your daughter is very bright, but you’re behaving like a couple of idiots.”
“If you want to decide when you leave here that he’s cheating, then get help or get a divorce. But you don’t do what you’re doing.”
“There are alternative explanations for why this may seem so real to you,” Dr. Phil says to Dorothy. “About the time you started getting really upset was about the time that your father passed away, almost to the week,” he observes. “I would also note that you have a history of extreme behavior,” he continues. “You said you were a shopaholic; you have said that you were addicted to prescription drugs.” Dr. Phil explains, “You can get addicted to a concept or idea, where it consumes you and everything about your life becomes stalking, investigating, looking, finding. Pretty soon, we start to fashion fantasy into reality, where it starts to fit our theory.”
Dr. Phil tells Dorothy that he wants to make arrangements to have her evaluated — biochemically, neurologically and otherwise — and then provide her with counseling and treatment. He says that down the line, he would also like to arrange couple’s therapy for her and Bob.
Dr. Phil turns to Bob and adds, “Every situation needs a hero, and you need to let it be you. Whatever you have to do, stop this yelling and screaming in front of your daughter, because both of you are doing it.”
“Consider it done,” Bob says, and both he and Dorothy accept the help.