Sheri and Eric’s three daughters were taken away for the second time in 2011, after an incident in which one of them sustained a fractured skull when Eric accidentally hit her in the head with a brick paver. Eric was sent to jail for a year, for violating a court injunction prohibiting him from being on the premises; and for initially lying to police about being there. The girls were placed in foster care for three years.
The couple has been together for 11 years but says their relationship has been marred by a history of angry outbursts and hostility.
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Sheri says Eric “rants” and “fusses” when he doesn’t get his way. Eric says if his family obeyed his rules, he wouldn’t have to yell “a little bit” to keep them in line. The couple also reports multiple occurrences of violence in the home.
“Let’s be very clear,” says Dr. Phil in the above video. “This yelling and screaming that we’re hearing here is mental – emotional abuse.”
“I’m not pleased with the fact that I have to admit that’s what’s going on,” says Eric. “It’s unfortunate, and I’m sorry about that.”
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“And even now – I’m not even putting them first,” admits Sheri, when Dr. Phil tells the couple they have a duty to make their children their top priority.
Why did it take the couple three years to get their children out of foster care?
Sheri says she wasn’t working her case plan and was deliberately noncompliant for the first year after her children were taken away. “I was very combative with the caseworkers. I was very combative with my attorney. I was very combative with the therapist that was coming to the home.”
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When Dr. Phil asks her why Sheri responds “Because I was angry.” “And,” she continues, “it took me that long to realize that it had nothing to do with them.”
Eric says “I think she was enjoying the single life at the time without the children as well,” which Sheri admits.
Is it too late for Sheri and Eric, or can Dr. Phil help this couple hit the reset button on their relationship and reshape their family dynamic? Tune in to the show on Friday to see whether this marriage can be repaired.
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