A Mother's Rage: The Kids' Fear

Karen admits that her children cover their faces and heads when she comes near them. Now, when she goes into a fury, her 3-year-old has started hurting himself.

"The kids are afraid of me. I can see it in their actions. When I go to raise my hand, they cover their heads. They're very jumpy. My one 3-year-old will bite his hand while I'm yelling, and then they'll come up afterward and tell me that I scared them, that I shouldn't yell because I might scare the baby," says Karen.

"I yell at my kids for no reason, just normal things that kids do. They're playing and I think that they're horsing around too much, they're not walking fast enough, they can't even tell me if they have a tummy ache. I think it's the kids' fault that I got this way," she says.

Dr. Phil asks Karen, "Have you ever put yourself in Brandon's shoes and wondered what his experience of this might be?"

Karen shakes her head no.


"I think he is being tortured, and I think he is pleading for mercy," he says.

To help her understand her son's experience, Dr. Phil replays a portion of the video, this time with Brandon's highlighted words, such as "Ow," "Mommy please" and "Oh, that hurts."

After watching the video, tears drip down Karen's face.



Dr. Phil says, "He's just pleading for mercy. 'Oh, Mommy, please don't.' You've got to have some reaction to that. What is it?"

Karen cries. "I just can't believe that I do that to him."

"You have 3-year-old twins there. You've got one that has started biting himself. Oftentimes, when you see that kind of behavior, it's

because external stimulation is so horrifying that the person will do anything to take their attention away from that, including inflict physical pain on themselves, so they can focus on that and shut out the horror of what's going on," he tells her.


Karen and Jim's twin daughter is also trying to cope in her own way. Dr. Phil shows an image of her putting her fingers in her ears, to shut out her mother's screaming.

Dr. Phil asks Karen, "What are you so angry about?"

"I don't know," she says, crying.

"Is it because you were adopted? Do you resent that? Is it because you were molested as a child? Are you raging about that?"

"I don't think so," says Karen.

"Is it because you've been taken out of the workplace and have to stay home and feel like you'll never work again? You've said you resent that. Do you blame them for your life circumstance?" probes Dr. Phil.

"Maybe I do. I don't know."

"You have five children. You say all five of them were unplanned. Are you a slow learner?" he asks.