A Family Divided: A Marriage in Turmoil: Erin, Marty

Can They Make It Work?
Dr. Phil counsels a couple in crisis.

"People either contribute to or contaminate a relationship every minute that they're awake," Dr. Phil says. "That means whatever happened to you in your life before, you bring that into your relationship."


Martin has already told Dr. Phil about the difficulties he faced growing up as one of 8 kids each born to a different father, and how never knowing his father affects his current relationships.


Erin tells Dr. Phil about her history and how she thinks it affects her today: "My mother was very nonfunctional, and being the oldest daughter, I was asked to step in at Katherine's age to kind of run the family," she says. "So I'm very controlling and I'm used to manipulating my situation and organizing everything around me."

Erin and Martin frequently fight in front of their daughters Alexandra and Katherine.


"Do y'all recognize that you have these two adolescent girls that are getting pulled into a world that shouldn't even be on their radar screen?" Dr. Phil asks.


"That is the worst possible thing you can do."


"I just get caught up in the moment and I'm so angry," says Erin. "I let my emotions out. I let my anger unleash."


"Do you realize what it does to them?" Dr. Phil asks. "It changes who they are " it scares them to death." Dr. Phil tells Martin and Erin that marriages are not 50/50. They're 100/100.


"Do you think this marriage is going to last?" Dr. Phil asks Martin.


"Yes," he replies. "She's a great partner, she's a great wife, she's good to me. She's everything that a man could ask for."


"You think there's going to be enough change in you to inspire her to take another lap around this track?" Dr. asks Martin.


"Without a doubt," he responds.


"How do you feel about that?" Dr. Phil asks Erin.


"You better wave your magic wand," she tells Dr. Phil.

"People do make mistakes," says Martin. "Deep down inside, I think I am a pretty good person and she knows I love her very much..."


"Except be faithful, and responsive and involved and plugged in..." Dr. Phil responds.

Martin says he doesn't know how to communicate with Erin.


She acknowledges her limitations: "I don't know how to be open and available but I think it's in there somewhere," Erin says.


Dr. Phil tells Erin: "The most important relationship you'll ever have in this life is the one you have with yourself. Isn't it true that you're not any more available to yourself than you are to anyone else?"


"That's a scary place to go" she says.


"What are you afraid that you're going to see if you get real with you?" Dr. Phil asks.


"That I am very uncaring and that I am selfish and that I don't care about anyone but myself and how the world appears," Erin says. "That I'm superficial and selfish and immature and mean."


"What is it about you that do you not want her to see?" Dr. Phil asks Martin.


"She's always wanted me to be this person that I don't think anyone in their right mind can be like," Martin says. "It's hard when someone's nagging at you constantly and beating you down," he continues.


Dr. Phil gives the couple a homework assignment:


"I want you to write down the 10 things you need from each other and aren't getting," he says.


Concluding, he tells Martin: "She will never, ever get past what's happened until she knows that she has been heard by you " until she knows that you totally, 100% get what you have done."