A Family in Crisis: Fired for Good?: Chris' E-mail

Learning to Trust
Dr. Phil talks to Stacy about her issues with trust.
After the last show, Chris sent an e-mail to his sister, which had Stacy in tears.


"His family has never liked me," Stacy admits. "So I asked him, 'What did you have to say to her?'"


Chris is bothered by Stacy's questioning. "She needs to know exactly where I'm at, what I'm doing, why I'm doing it," he says. "So I told her, 'It's personal.' And that upset her."

Stacy explains her point of view. "I can't tell you how many times I have said to him, 'I need you. I need you to just listen. I love you. I want to hear what's going on with you.' And when I finally open my heart, it's hard when the door gets slammed in my face."


Chris doesn't understand Stacy's anger. "It frustrates me and makes me hate being married sometimes."

Dr. Phil explains that there is a history behind why Stacy was bothered by the e-mail, and that Chris' sister is not Stacy's biggest fan.


Stacy adds, "Because of all this going on, his family is pretty upset at seeing things they didn't know about."


Dr. Phil wants to look at the bigger picture. "There are some personal barriers that you have that keep you from contributing to this relationship, and there are some barriers you have that actually cause you to contaminate the relationship. Would you agree with that?" he asks Stacy.


"Yes," she replies.


"Everyone has a way of being in the world," Dr. Phil explains. "We all have a style, and yours is that you don't trust anybody. Tell me why."


"I've never had a reason to trust anyone," Stacy responds.

Dr. Phil explores how Stacy's past may have contributed to her issues with trust. "I see your relationship with your mother has not been good," he notes. "She's been married how many times?" Dr. Phil asks.


"I don't know exactly," Stacy replies.


"It was certainly mutiple times," Dr. Phil clarifies, adding that as a result, there were many men in and out of Stacy's life. "When you were young, you were molested, and she was not supportive of you in that situation, was she?" he asks.


"No, she wasn't," Stacy answers, blinking back tears.


"How did you feel when that happened?" Dr. Phil asks. "When you found the strength to tell her, and she treats you like you did something wrong?"


"To sum it up, I was treated like I was the other woman," Stacy says, "like what that person did was have an affair. I was just barely 14 at the time."

Dr. Phil points out that some of Stacy's male relationships have been verbally abusive, to the point that she left with her children to live in a shelter.


"I think your reaction has been, 'OK, I have to keep a death grip on everything, because if I loosen that grip, my experience has been that it spins out of control,'" Dr. Phil says.


"Right," Stacy agrees.


"At times, that goes so far as, 'Get them before they get me.' ... You recognize that doesn't work?" he asks Stacy.


"No, because it doesn't get me what I want of being needed and close to someone, because I push away," she replies.

Dr. Phil explains that there is an ongoing controversy in psychology: Does a person change behaviors, and then the feelings will follow, or vice versa?


"I have a different view of trust," Dr. Phil explains. "I think trust in others has so much to do with how much confidence and trust we have in ourselves ... The action things you can do are behavioral, but you have to work on your feelings from the inside as well."

He continues, "Do you acknowledge and give yourself credit that having been through all of that, you're still here?"


"I do," Stacy replies. "It comes and goes, but I do recognize that even though I mess it up along the way, I keep getting up. I'm definitely persistent. I keep getting up, and I keep trying and searching for whatever help that it's going to take to figure it all out."

"You talk about pushing people away all the time, and you push [Chris] to test him. It's like, 'I'm going to be mean to you. I'm going to reject you and have an affair ... so I can say, 'See, you're just like everybody else.' But then when he passes the test, that's like getting a fix."


Dr. Phil tells Stacy that she should stop testing Chris, and just accept that he's committed to making the marriage work.

"Chris, are you going to leave her?" Dr. Phil asks.


"No," he replies. "If I was, I would have already left."


Dr. Phil asks Brianne if she is going to stop loving Stacy.


"No," she answers. "I can't just stop loving her."


Dr. Phil suggests that Brianne should know everything there is to know about Stacy. "I think that when you do, you will learn a new respect for her staying power and her strength of commitment," he explains.

"There's a thin line between 'fake it 'til you make it,' and behaving your way to success," Dr. Phil tells Stacy. "If you want to start trusting again, if you want to start living with confidence again, then you have to start behaving with Chris in a way that is confident."


He points out that their marriage has reached a turning point, and that Stacy needs to give herself and Chris credit.


"You may not be whole, you may be dinged up a little bit along the way, but you're still here in spirit, and you're still here in focus," he tells Stacy. "Is that true?"


"It is," she agrees.


"Then say it: 'I'm still here," he instructs.


"I'm still here," Stacy repeats, with tears in her eyes.