One of Jamey's questions for Dr. Phil is, "Are there warning signs I should be looking for that this is a bad situation?"
Dr. Phil addresses his question. "I'm not sure what it takes to move your needle on warning signs, but you know her history, right?"
At age 11, Michelle broke a girl's nose. At 13, she slammed a girl's head into a locker. She slammed another girl's head into a steel pipe. She shoved another girl into a fence. And after breaking one girl's nose and leaving her lying in a bloody pool, she said, "Let her die," and walked off. Dr. Phil also points out that when Michelle and Jamey got married, they were both under restraining orders to stay away from each other!
"Here's a warning sign. This is a clue: When the court says you can't get within a hundred yards of each other, that's not the basis for a sound marriage," says Dr. Phil.
Michelle's most recent violent episodes involve attacking a woman in her apartment building, and following a woman home in her car and beating her up " both in front of her kids.
As Michelle tries to defend her behavior based on how those women treated her, Dr. Phil says, "I can't believe you are sitting there preaching about what people should and shouldn't do! You followed a woman home with your children in the car and they said they were afraid you were going to kill her." To Jamey: "OK, Dad, that's a warning sign."
Another example of how anger is destroying their family is the way Jamey and Michelle fight. Jamey adopted their oldest daughter, Samantha. In another fight caught on tape, Jamey says, in front of the children, that maybe he should reverse the adoption. The effect that statement has on Samanth is obvious. She covers her eyes and sobs.
As Jamey tries to justify his comment, Dr. Phil interrupts. "I feel like I'm talking to myself up here! I don't care. I have one interest in here and that is to protect those children. And either you're going to do it, or I'm going to do it. You need to be the one who steps up and stops it," he tells Jamey.
Turning to Michelle, Dr. Phil says, "I know that you were abused as a child. I know." He reminds her that she once said, "Sometimes, I despise these children."
Michelle insists on explaining why she made that comment. "The reason why I did say it is because I had my daughter at age 16. I didn't know any better about anything. I put her up for adoption, and my dad told me if I did that, it was either my daughter and my dad, or I was on my own. At age 16, I couldn't be on my own. So my dad adopted her. My mom and dad took permanent guardianship of her. I had nothing to do with her. I grew up with her almost like she was my sister. Then I married him. He wanted a child of his own, so we had Jordan. At that point, my dad said, â€˜Oh, good, you're having another kid. You're grown up enough so you can have Samantha back.'"
"Do you honestly believe that anything you just said in any way impacts the inappropriateness of your position with these children?"
"That is the reason why I feel the way I feel about them."
"And you wanted me to let you say that. And I did. Thanks for clearing that up for all of us."
"But some people out there do understand where I'm coming from," says Michelle.
The audience disagrees with a resounding "No!"
"You guys aren't the only ones in the world," Michelle says back to the audience.
"Do you want to know what I think? I think you have carved out a role in the world as a belligerent and arrogant bully," Dr. Phil tells her. "Everybody makes a statement and that is yours. The truth is that I believe that you are addicted to anger. I believe that you have so much rage and so much stress that you have to do this on a regular basis to release the pressure, so it doesn't just explode. So you get this fix, you get this vent. And it is a sick addiction to venting. The thing you said that disturbed me the most is, â€˜I was abused as a child and now it's my turn. I can be mad and I can get in a rage and nobody can stop me.'"
"Part of this addiction problem is that part of your brain has actually shut down. And it needs to be awakened and there are ways to do that." Dr. Phil explains that through neurotherapy, Michelle can awaken the part of her that deals with emotionality and inhibition. Then she can learn some cognitive skills, and then she can repair her relationships. "It takes a thousand â€˜Atta girls' to erase one â€˜I'm going to beat the living sh*t out of you, you idiot.' But it's not too late," explains Dr. Phil.
He reminds Jamey that he needs to protect his children, even if that means to get them away from Michelle until she gets under control.
"And you should cooperate with that," he tells Michelle. Dr. Phil offers her help with specialists who will work with her to help her manage her anger. "You can change this."
Michelle agrees. "I'll take it."
Finally, Dr. Phil turns to Jamey. "Tell me that before the sun sets on this world today, you will go home to your adopted daughter and scoop her up in your arms and tell her that you're glad she's yours?"
"Yes, sir. Without a doubt," says Jamey, nodding.
He turns to Michelle. "I want to tell you to apologize to your children, but I don't want you to do that until you can back it up with new behavior. I don't think they need a hollow promise."
"OK," says a teary Michelle.