Tone and John say they don’t approve of their brother, Dan’s, fiancée, Shannon, who they claim is rude, foul-mouthed, selfish and manipulative. The siblings also claim that Shannon, a self-admitted recovering addict, still smokes pot and drinks, and they fear she’ll influence Dan, who is also in recovery, to start using again. Shannon insists that she’s being unfairly judged by Tone and John and claims that they’re responsible for stirring up all the family drama. What does Dan — who’s caught in the middle of the fighting — have to say? Does he think he’s in danger of relapsing? Can Dr. Phil help this family broker a peace?
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Fiancée vs. Family
Shannon says that she doesn’t want to hate her future in-laws, but claims that they’ve caused so much anxiety, resentment and anger that her fiancé, Dan, has put their wedding on hold. She explains that she was excited to meet Dan’s sister, Tone, thinking they would become best friends. “That was definitely not the case,” she says, adding, “Tone immediately started trouble, trying to turn the family against me.” Shannon calls Tone dramatic and immature and says that as the only girl in Dan’s family, she has “always been the princess.”
“I think Shannon is poisonous for Dan,” Tone counters, adding, “I don’t trust Shannon as far as I can throw her.” Tone also insists that Shannon is vulgar and inappropriate. She says that Shannon walks around their house in “booty shorts,” farts and curses — complaints Shannon maintains are exaggerated. Tone adds, “Shannon actually told a friend, and I quote, ‘I don’t understand why Tone is so jealous of me.'” She continues,”I did tell my father, ‘If Shannon shows her face at this house, I’m going to knock her out.'”
“Tone and Shannon seem to get along like two female dogs going at each other’s throats,” comments Dan’s brother, John. He says that he agrees with Tone that Shannon is not the right girl for their brother. “Shannon comes off as controlling, manipulative and selfish,” he says. “Neither of them are marriage material, especially Shannon.”
Still, Dan insists that Shannon is the love of his life and says, “I need John and Tone to understand that they’re causing more harm than good in my relationship.” He recalls that he proposed to Shannon one day on the spur of the moment after they had been fighting. “I figured the best thing to do to lighten the mood and break the tension was to pop the question on her right then and there,” he says.
Shannon remembers that she was thrilled, but says that her excitement was quickly tempered by Tone’s reaction.
“The first thing out of Tone’s mouth was, ‘I better be the maid of honor.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry, but I have a sister,'” she says. Shannon insists that there’s “no way” that Dan’s siblings are even invited to the wedding.
“She’s the exact opposite of anything I would want to bring into this family.”
“We worry about Dan. He has a drug problem.” The siblings say Shannon is a bad influence. How does she respond?
“I will never, ever say that she is the perfect human being,” Dan says. “I am not a perfect person … We all make mistakes. Clearly, I’ve made mine,” he admits. But, he insists, “I’ve moved on to bigger and better things. I’m holding a job. I haven’t touched heroin in two years.”
Ready for Marriage?
“Dan has a very low self-esteem. He doesn’t think he deserves a good girl or a good life,” Tone says. “He chooses girls like Shannon, who are devious, and malicious and trashy, because he truly feels like that’s the best he can do.” Tone explains that a previous girlfriend dumped Dan after he lost his job — and says that it sent her brother into a downward spiral of drinking and drugs. “Dan is such a great person,” she says. “Ever since he started dating these girls, ever since the drugs, I haven’t had that Dan. I just want my brother back.”
“Every girl in Dan’s life has a way of working Dan like a puppet,” John agrees. “He deserves better, and he doesn’t give himself enough credit for the person he is.”
Dan admits that at times, he has struggled with his self-esteem and says that he has picked the wrong girls — because they fed his need to be wanted. “When they dropped me, I fell to lower depths,” he says. “But I’ve learned from that.” He tells Tone, “Without the conflict between Shannon and you, and the rest of the family that follows along, I wouldn’t have much to really cry about.”
Dr. Phil asks Dan about his impromptu proposal to Shannon. “One of the reasons you asked her to marry you is because you were already down on one knee,” he says.
Dan explains that he had gone to get a haircut, but the place was closed, so he decided to go look at engagement rings. He claims that his siblings told Shannon that he was out with a friend that he used to do drugs with — and says he and Shannon got in a huge fight about where he had been. “I didn’t have a hair cut. I was stuck — what do I do?” he says. “I knew I wanted to marry her. She’s going off, and it just killed me to see her that angry.”
“You didn’t have an excuse for not getting a haircut, so you just ask her to marry you? That’s better?” Dr. Phil asks.
Is Dan ready to get married? Dr. Phil takes a look at his history — and has some big concerns.
What does Shannon’s “resumé” as a potential bride look like?
“You guys are so not ready to get married,” Dr. Phil tells Dan and Shannon. “If you want to be married, and if you want to be happy, you have a lot more growing to do. You have a lot more maturing to do,” he insists. “When two damaged people get married, they multiply each other’s toxicity,” he says.
“Relationships aren’t 50/50 … Relationships are 100/100. You are 100 percent responsible for who you are.”
“You have a lot of work to do, and I’m willing to help you do that work,” Dr. Phil tells Dan and Shannon. “I’m willing to get you the help to, first, get you sober for real … to not be drinking, not be smoking dope, not be doing anything that’s toxic to you physically or psychologically.”
“We’re already doing that. We go to meetings every single day. We both have sponsors,” Shannon interjects. “We’re doing everything we can to better ourselves on a daily basis.”
“Well, then you don’t need my help, but I’m offering it anyway,” Dr. Phil responds. “I’m offering it to you as a couple, and I’m offering it to you individually. If you already have everything that you need, then it can’t hurt, can it?” he asks. “We have four glass houses here and a lot of rocks being thrown,” Dr. Phil adds. He tells Shannon and Dan, as well as Tone and John, that they can each make the choice to be mature and rise above the fray. “Then we have four heroes and a lot of harmony,” he says, and they agree.
Web Extra: After the Taping
Are the future in-laws ready to make amends? Find out what they had to say after the show!