"She came from an alcoholic family, she had been abused as a child," says Erin of her mother. "He was her ticket to a better life.
"She was emotionally shut down," Erin continues. "My memories of her when I was young are of her yelling at us.
"I always wanted her to say, 'You're great, you're beautiful, you can do whatever you want,'" says Erin.
Another painful part of Erin's past is that she was molested by a family friend. "He did things that were not appropriate for a 10-year-old child," she says.
"How did you feel about it?" Dr. Phil asks Erin.
"I felt dirty, I felt like I had done something wrong," says Erin.
Though a judge eventually offered Erin's mother full custody of all five kids, she refused the offer and walked permanently away from her children for good.
Erin chose to stay in her foster home instead of going back to live with her father. "It was safer," she tells Dr. Phil.
"From all the chaos that was going on," Erin responds. "It was nasty and bitter. I was a pawn between the two of them [mother and father]."
"How did you feel when you watched your mom walk out?" Dr. Phil asks.
"I felt blown away, angry, upset, hurt," Erin says. "She chose to bring us into this world and she left because it got too hard."
Dr. Phil asks Erin how she felt after her death.
"My mom and I really closed a lot of wounds before she died," Erin says tearfully. "I was able to forgive her for a lot things that happened."
"What was the most important thing she said to you during those four months?" Dr. Phil asks.
"That she loved me and that she was really proud of me, that I did a really good job," Erin answers.
"Why did you need to hear that?" Dr. Phil asks.
"She had never told me before how much she really loved me," Erin says. "When she told me that she thought I was being a really good mom, better than she ever was, it made me feel really good."
Recently Erin has been making notable changes in her behavior. When her 13-year-old daughter Katherine came home after a bad day, Erin did not shut her out, and instead gave her love and affection.
"I sat next to her and told her that I loved her and that I know that the world is scary and hard and that I'll be there for her," says Erin. "I wish my mom could have been this way with me."
Later, Dr. Phil asks Katherine if she remembers that moment.
Commending Erin for finally opening up, Dr. Phil also reminds her that "Withholding emotion is one of the most mean and vicious and aggressive things you can do."