Feuding Exes: Children Caught in the Crossfire
March 7, 2014
Since their divorce in 2007, Doug and Beverly admit they have made several serious accusations against each other, including drug use, abuse and parental alienation — and their 15-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter are stuck in the middle of the turmoil. After Dr. Phil issues a reality check, will they stop pointing fingers and come together for the sake of their children?
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A Marriage CrumblesBeverly says her marriage to Doug grew strained after their now 15-year-old son, James, was born, and both she and Doug had extramarital affairs.
Doug says he cheated at a time when Beverly told him they were getting a divorce. “It doesn’t make it right,” he admits. “The main reasons that Beverly and I ended our marriage were the lying and the cheating, and she literally came to me and said, ‘I’ll quit the cheating, but I’m going to keep the lying.’”
Beverly claims that when she told Doug about her affair — which she admits was out of spite — he got physically violent with her. “He exploded into a rage. He was very physical, punching me in the arms, the legs,” she says. “I was very scared for my life.”
Beverly says Doug is a narcissistic “master manipulator” who has turned their children against her since their divorce in 2007, and even accused her of abusing them — a claim she adamantly denies. “I’ve never hit my children,” she insists. “I’ve never slapped them. I’ve never kicked them. I’ve never abused my children.” She says her kids, whom she sees about once a month, think she’s “The Devil” — and haven’t hugged her in four years. “I just want to be a mom again,” she says.
Doug says Beverly alienates herself from the kids and even skips out on visits.
Beverly says Doug accused her of using drugs and alcohol during their “very ugly custody battle,” and even presented a fake suicide note to the court. “He faked my signature, and it was in his writing,” she claims.
Doug denies writing the suicide note and claims that Beverly planted drugs in his home and took pictures to build a case against him. “I don’t use marijuana,” he says. “It’s just ridiculous what she did.”
Dr. Phil asks the exes whether they accept ownership in the situation, and both say yes. “Have you helped or hindered their relationship with their mother?” Dr. Phil asks Doug, who says he helped.
“Absolutely hindered,” Beverly interjects. She claims that Doug would pick up their kids in the middle of the night, while she was asleep. “I would wake up, and my kids weren’t there,” she says.
Doug says that Beverly told him he could get the children at that time — a claim she denies.
“If we want to improve something, somebody’s going to have to tell me the truth,” Dr. Phil says. “It can’t be the way both of you are saying. There isn’t a version of the truth.”
Doug’s Mother — A Betrayal?Trisha says her son is very controlling, narcissistic and abusive, and she believes that her grandchildren, at times, may be afraid of him. “Doug dictates to them how they should feel, what they should think, what they should say,” she says. “They’re like little puppets.” She says she thinks he’s wrong in the situation, which is why she supports Beverly. “This family has been in crisis for a long time, and we need help.”
Trisha says Doug once physically attacked her and punched holes in the wall — an accusation Doug denies. “Hearing that my mother thinks that I could possibly hurt somebody, hurts me to the core,” he says. “I’ve never harmed my mother physically; I never would.” He says he sees a lot of similarities between Beverly and Trisha. “My mother is extremely judgmental and extremely unforgiving,” he says.
Doug says he feels betrayed by his mom because she stood by Beverly against him in custody court three years ago. “I’d like to have my mom back,” he adds. “Her head is filled with lies and character assassination on behalf of my ex-wife.”
Dr. Phil asks Doug whether he really believes that Beverly is an evil woman.
“I’ve known her forever. I don’t think that she’s an evil woman,” he responds. He says he thinks the pressure of the situation has made her act in a “certain way.”
Beverly says Doug will tell you what you want to hear. “It’s part of the manipulation,” she says.
Doug’s FiancéeBeverly and Trisha are shocked as they learn on Dr. Phil’s stage that Doug is now engaged to Tanya, his live-in girlfriend of three years.
Tanya claims that Beverly has told the kids that Doug is a drug user, drug dealer and an abuser. “I think she was just trying to have the kids not like their father as much as they do,” she says. She says the children are honest, and she doesn’t think they would falsely accuse their mother of abuse.
“Doug has never bad-mouthed Beverly. He always talks her up in front of the children,” she continues. “I have never seen Doug be physically or verbally abusive with the children.”
Tanya says she thinks Beverly is jealous of her. “She has stated to the kids before that I am living her life and that these are her children, and I’m taking her spot,” she says, adding that the kids started calling her "Mom" two months ago.
She says she would like to see a healthy relationship between Doug and Trisha and Beverly and her children. When asked if she and Beverly get along, Tanya responds, “For the children, yes.”
Beverly claims that Tanya passes information to her about the children without Doug’s knowledge — a claim that Tanya denies. “She tells me that he’s abusive to the kids, that he won’t allow my son to have friends,” Beverly says.
“Talk is really cheap,” Dr. Phil tells Doug, adding that he contradicts himself. “You kind of want to have the last word and be right in the situation; but the point is, you are cheating them in service of an agenda by not having a relationship with their mother.”
Dr. Phil tells Beverly that she’s the "target parent" in this situation. “There’s a point at which you have to stop being a victim and start creating the kind of relationship and bond that you want with your children,” he says, adding that he hopes Doug will help her do this.
“You can’t do that on the surface and sabotage it down below,” he says to Doug, “because your measure of success as a man and a father is to lead this family, even once there is a divorce.”
“Both of you have done ridiculous things in this relationship,” he tells the parents. “It’s time that you grow up and do the right thing.” He offers to provide them professional help in fixing their fractured relationships, and both accept.