Holly says her 24-year-old sister, Andrea, is an intimidating bully who verbally and physically attacks people — including complete strangers — and her behavior is ruining their relationship. Holly says she’s been feeling the wrath of her sister’s anger since they were kids — when she would lock herself in another room to avoid Andrea’s aggression. Now, Holly says Andrea embarrasses her with her mean comments and nasty confrontations when they’re out in public, and she’s tired of walking on eggshells around her sibling. Andrea admits that she’s judgmental and angry but says she enjoys the rush of power whenever she erupts, which makes her feel “fearless,” “strong” and “unstoppable.” Dr. Phil faces off with Andrea. What’s at the root of her anger? Will she let down her guard and work toward healing the wounds of her past — and mend her relationship with her sister?
An Adult Bully?
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Holly says her relationship with her sister is crumbling. “She’s known for being a bitch, rude and mean.”
Dr. Phil questions Andrea about the problems she’s had with his staff.
What is the source of Andrea’s pain?
“I don’t think you’re comfortable in your own skin at all, and I think you have zero self-esteem.”
Dr. Phil explains that Andrea’s habit of attacking people before they can hurt her is a fear response. “Who hurt you?” he asks.
“Everybody. Lots of people,” she says. Andrea says she’s experienced emotional and mental abuse.
“What about family members? What have they done to hurt you?” Dr. Phil asks.
“That is not up for discussion,” she says.
“Have you had people do things to you, like grab you by the hair and pull you down the stairs?” he asks.
“I have had those encounters, yeah,” Andrea says.
“Has that left you damaged?”
“Isn’t it true that at times in your life, you stood in the gap and protected your sister?” Dr. Phil asks Andrea.
“Yes,” she says.
“So, you know what damaged you inside, but you don’t want to talk about it,” Dr. Phil says. “Play the ‘What If’ game with me. What if keeping it bottled up inside left you angry, and bitter and resentful for the rest of your life, and talking about it allowed you to put it out, where A, it relieved pressure and B, it allowed people — who were offering to help you — the ability to help you deal with it, heal from it, move past it?”
Andrea says she’s not willing to take the risk.
Dr. Phil points out that not talking about it keeps her in pain, but if she talks about it, she might find relief. “Better odds would be to give it a voice and talk about it,” he says.
Dr. Phil asks Andrea to look her sister in the eye as Holly speaks from her heart. “I want my sister back.”
Dr. Phil asks about Andrea’s grandfather, who passed away 10 years ago. Andrea says her grandfather was her role model, and she misses him every day. “You hit a soft spot, Dr. Phil,” Andrea says as she wipes away her tears.
“You don’t want to lose her too,” Dr. Phil says, indicating Holly.
“No,” she says.
“Do you love her?”
“Absolutely. With all my heart,” Andrea says. She says she feels bad that she’s hurt her sister but doesn’t know how to change her behavior.
“I think when people show anger, it’s really just an outward manifestation of hurt, fear or frustration.”
Kristen Hayes of Four Circles Recovery Center
joins the show. Four Circles is an innovative wilderness-based treatment program for men and women ages 18 to 28, who are dealing with addiction and substance abuse problems, with co-occurring mental health issues. Kristen explains that she met with Andrea backstage and offered her treatment at Four Circles, and Andrea accepted.