A Family Divided: After the Confession: Marty's Homecoming

Marty's Homecoming
Dr. Phil has a meeting with the family, and tells Marty to put his behavior on project status.
Erin and the girls join Dr. Phil in the studio via satellite. Referring to their last videoconference, Dr. Phil asks Erin what her expectancies were when Marty returned home.

"I really didn't know what to expect from Marty," Erin replies. She also tells him that Robin called to offer advice. "It was really wonderful to have her compassion and her perspective to say, 'When [Marty] comes home, just give him a big hug.' That's not what I wanted to do at all, but I did it and he was very surprised."


"So what did you say?" Dr. Phil asks Robin.

"I just felt like I could feel her pain," Robin answers. "I wanted to talk to her about that and help her through that."

Dr. Phil addresses Erin. "So what kind of homecoming was it when Marty pulled up?"

"I just gave him a big hug. I told him that I loved him, and we would just give another shot at this," Erin says.

Marty now joins his family in the discussion. Dr. Phil asks him if he has "flipped the switch" in his relationship since their last conversation.

"I think I have, yeah," Marty says.

Dr. Phil asks Erin the same question, and she responds, "Marty is doing a lot more things at home. He's participating. He's more involved. Is he talking to me like we should? Not really."

"So have you had the follow-up meetings that I recommended?" Dr. Phil asks them.

"We're trying to have a date night, where you go out on a Saturday night and that's where we kind of regroup," Erin says. "And I was kind of hoping for a little more forthcoming, but it's not really happening. Maybe we just have to keep working on it."

"Has your attitude changed?" Dr. Phil asks Marty.

"I'm trying to take more control over my life," Marty replies. "I'm trying to step to the forefront and take more leadership as far as doctor visits, taking care of bills ... I'm just being open and honest with Erin about everything." In his video diary, Marty admits that his honesty was recently put to the test when he ran into his former mistress again. Right after the encounter, he immediately told Erin what happened. "She was very pleased," Marty says in his video diary. "I finally realized ... that my lying is just like an alcoholic. It's a very sick disease, and I don't want to do that anymore."

Dr. Phil comments that Marty's behavioral change sounds promising. He asks Erin, "Do you acknowledge that he is being proactive in some of these ways, in more of a participative, leadership way?"

"Absolutely," Erin agrees. "He is doing a lot of things in helping out. I hope it lasts forever.

Dr. Phil reminds Marty that he has had a parent/child relationship with Erin in the past, but Marty points out that he has been standing up to Erin more. "I'm more vocal, and I pretty much tell her how I feel and what I think I have on my mind," he says.

Dr. Phil points out that Marty has used lying to cope with growing up in an abusive household. "I know that lying, ducking, weaving and evading a situation kept you from getting beaten at times, correct?" he asks.

"Yes," Marty agrees.

"But you're not a child anymore, you're now a man," says Dr. Phil. "I want you to take the attitude that says ... 'I've got nothing to hide anymore. I'm not going to live under the burden of these lies.' ... I want you to embrace that attitude. Tell me where you are on that."

Marty replies, "Seventy-five percent of the way there."

Dr. Phil asks Erin if she supports Marty's efforts to be more truthful, and she says, "I do support it 100 percent, and I keep hoping I'm going to see it. I'm not sure what it is that's holding Marty back. I'm trying to be a soft place to land so that when he does come and tell me things, that I don't use the old Erin where I was very angry and bitter."

Dr. Phil tells her, "You don't own his lying, you don't own the affairs. You don't own the dishonesty. You don't own any of that. But you do have the ability to influence it."

Katherine records her feelings in a video diary: "Since my dad came home, we haven't been talking at all. He tried to buy me off with a CD and stuff ... I'm still really, really mad about what happened, and I don't think I can forgive him."

Via satellite, Dr. Phil asks her, "What do you want to see happen in your relationship with your dad long-term? Is there any formula that you can conceive of where you two can rebuild a relationship?"

"I really don't think there is," she replies, saying that her feelings were hurt when Marty called her "an instigator" and a "stupid little brat." Katherine says, "I asked him, 'Why did you say those things to me?' And he just said, 'I'm done talking to you.' We just hate each other. It's done."

Dr. Phil admonishes Katherine. "Don't say, 'We just hate each other,' because that is absolutely untrue," he says. "It is disrespectful to you and to him. You can be mad. You can have all the anger, all the resentment, all the bitterness, but let me tell you something. For all of his shortcomings, that man would die for you." He adds, "You are entitled to your feelings here. You're entitled to your anger. You're entitled to your bitterness. You're entitled to your resentment. But with that comes responsibility."

Dr. Phil asks Alex for her point of view.

"Well, first off, things are a lot better," she replies. "Like he'll ask me for advice on how to talk to Katherine because I'm a girl and I'm her age ... I try to give him the best advice that I can because it's nice that he's trying to talk to my sister. Our relationship's good right now. We're just friends."

"Tell me why it's working for you right now," Dr. Phil says.

"Well, he's a lot more open and honest, and he's more willing to listen to what I have to say," Alex answers.

Dr. Phil asks about Marty's relationship with Katherine, and wonders what kind of advice Alex has for her sister.

"First of all, when she talks to my dad and she gets angry, she yells," Alex says. "I know that I'm not the one to talk because I've done bad stuff too, but when you yell at your parents, that's really disrespectful. And even if you're angry, you're not supposed to yell at them and say, 'I hate you.'"

Dr. Phil asks Marty what he thinks about Alex's observations, and Marty replies, "She's absolutely right." He says that when he and Katherine have discussions, and she doesn't like what he says, she'll yell at him.

Katherine jumps in, "Dad, what about you? What do you do?"

"Katherine, that's a good question," Dr. Phil says, and Marty replies, "I just tune the conversation off because it gets nowhere."

Alex defends her father. "When Katherine starts to get angry, he says, 'Katherine, please go to your room,'" she says.

Katherine disagrees. "You're just being friends with Dad because he's probably buying you something or letting you do something," she says.

"In fairness, Alex has been very straight about Marty, and very straight about you. And Alex, I think you support Katherine fully and totally, do you not?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I do," Alex says. "I wouldn't blame her for being angry, but there's a point where being angry is not OK to the point where you disrespect your parents."

Dr. Phil advises Marty to put his temper on project status, meaning he should make a conscious effort to not get into yelling matches with anyone in his family. He tells Marty that he needs to decide, "'I can be firm, I can discipline, I can be the leader I need to be, but yelling and screaming is not working for me' ... You can't control Katherine, but you can control you."

"I don't get into a yelling match with Katherine anymore," Marty says. "I shut it off when I get to that point. When I feel that rage coming on, I either send her to her room, or I walk away."

Katherine argues, "That's why you were yelling at me to get in the freakin' car, and when you were telling me I'm an instigator and a stupid little brat, Dad. That hurt me. When I told you that it hurt me, what did you say? 'I don't care. I have no control over your feelings.'"

Marty asks Dr. Phil how he should handle the way Katherine talks back to him. Dr. Phil says, "No doubt that Katherine can be biting and disrespectful and inflammatory when she gets angry. My question to you is, do you recognize that calling her those names and taking the issue to one of commenting on character rather than dealing with the situation in a more dispassionate fashion is what you need to do? Just don't fight."