Liz and Chris say their four-year marriage is on the verge of divorce because of her many addictions and illnesses — most notably, her addiction to getting pregnant. And, Sydney says certain sounds, smells and touches irritate her so much, she has to keep her distance from her fiancé, Michael, and their two kids. Can Dr. Phil help these families find a way to cope?
Addicted to Pregnancy?
Liz says that her life is completely out of control because of her many disorders, including obsessive-compulsive, bipolar, anxiety and panic disorders. She also claims that she has jumped from one addiction to another since she was a teen, including cigarettes, alcohol, prescription drugs and, currently, collecting pets and getting pregnant. “I don’t think that I could stop having kids on my own,” says Liz, who has four young kids of her own and two stepchildren. “The only time that I take care of myself or value myself is when I’m pregnant.” She admits that she tries to manipulate her husband, Chris, into having more kids, but says, “It’s been taking longer and longer to get him to agree, because he thinks we have enough children.”
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Liz also mentions that she has had between 2,000 and 3,000 pets over the course of her life. “I’ve had horses, guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, birds — anything you can think of, I’ve probably had it,” she says. “I love to see animals grow babies in their belly,” Liz explains. “The whole process just fascinates me.”
Chris says that his wife’s constant need to be pregnant and her constant buying and selling of animals have pushed him to his breaking point. “I feel like my wife’s behavior is going to give me a heart attack by the time I’m 35,” he says. Chris adds that Liz’s mood swings have also taken a toll on their relationship. “My wife could be your best friend one minute and your worst enemy the next,” he claims. Chris explains that he stays home with the kids while Liz works — and says that she “punishes” him for it by constantly telling him that he’s lazy and worthless. “It makes me feel horrible being treated like that,” he confides. Chris says that things have gotten so bad that he threatens divorce multiple times a week.
Onstage with Dr. Phil, Liz admits she stopped taking birth control months before her husband agreed to try for another baby, and she manipulated him because she knows he wants a daughter. “That’s how I usually get him to agree,” she says.
Dr. Phil notes that Liz has four children, two with Chris, and two stepchildren. “But how many miscarriages have you had?”
“I’ve had four to five miscarriages over the past eight years, two within the last year,” Liz says. She explains that they are trying to conceive currently, but she has polycystic ovary syndrome, and a recent trip to the emergency room revealed that she has several burst cysts, and her chances of being pregnant right now are slim. “[The doctor] told me I had three options: I could either have my ovaries removed to stop the cysts, I could have a hysterectomy, or I could continue to have pain and try to have children.” She says she chose the latter.
Dr. Phil looks to Chris. “She says, ‘We
“He agreed,” Liz says.
“If I don’t agree, my life is a living hell,” he says.
“So, right now, you’re being coerced,” Dr. Phil says.
Liz explains her addictions to pregnancy and pets.
Chris says he’s willing to do just about anything to make Liz happy, but it’s not easy.
Liz says she also has daily rituals that she needs to complete, such as eliminating all bed wrinkles before going to sleep and working on the family budget every night. She says she’ll fill 40 to 60 pages, trying to figure out their finances in different scenarios — such as Chris working and her staying at home.
“Nothing can make me happy. I keep thinking that another child will make me happy, but it didn’t happen with number two, three, four …”
Chris asks Dr. Phil, “I want to know, what are things that I can do to cope? Because she’s not going to change overnight.”
“I don’t want you to cope, because if you cope, you’re enabling, and you need to stop enabling,” Dr. Phil tells him.
“Stop having babies, because you’re having them for the wrong reason.”
Dr. Phil offers Liz resources to get her evaluated and treated for her disorders. She accepts. He tells Chris, “You need to get a backbone. Don’t cave in to this.”
Sydney says that she can’t stand everyday sounds like chewing, swallowing, breathing, snoring or whistling. She says that she’s also sensitive to how people touch her — so much so that her fiancé, Michael, has to hold his breath when attempting to give her a kiss. Sydney confides that she’s not proud of her behavior, but says that she has no idea what to do to control her sensitivities. “My problems sometimes get me to the point where I’m so angry that I lose my temper and yell, or slam a door or have to, like, punch something,” she admits.
“She has thrown cups, glasses, plates — whatever she can get her hands on,” Michael says. “It can be unbearable living with someone that is angry at everyday sounds and noises.” He explains that intimacy with Sydney is almost impossible and says that for them to even sleep in the same bed, Sydney has to turn on a loud fan and put a body pillow between them as a barrier. “If things don’t change, I feel like it could destroy our relationship.”
Sydney explains why she thinks she has misophonia, OCD and anxiety.
Why does Syndey say she’s nervous having a third baby? And, Dr. Phil explains misophonia.
“Sometimes we get into a neurological loop. You just, in your mind, go around and around — there’s no exit ramp, there’s no way to get it out, and that’s why it becomes so ritualistic,” Dr. Phil tells Syndey. “There are treatments for this. You’re talking about three different things here, but they could be intertwined. Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder are associated because OCD is driven by anxiety. Because you know when you do a ritual, you get a little lessening of anxiety, at least for little bit, then it builds back up.”
“But it also causes anxiety,” she says.
“Of course, because you can’t get it right.”
“Exactly,” she says.
“But that can be dealt with. We can give you other ways to cope with that,” Dr. Phil tells her. “With regard to misophonia, this is a very specific disorder, and it can be helped, sometimes, with medications. It can certainly be helped with different types of neurological feedback and biofeedback. There’s not a whole lot known about it, but there are treatments for it where you can get a good deal better from this and in an amazingly short period of time. That doesn’t mean you won’t have to manage it, but a lot of this you can do on your own at home.”
Dr. Phil offers Syndey specialized care to treat and manage her disorders.
She accepts and thanks Dr. Phil.
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