"I've had a problem with anger since I was about 13," says Michelle. "It can be easy to piss me off."
Michelle has two daughters, 7 and 11. A day doesn't go by where they escape the wrath of their mother.
"The girls are afraid of Michelle," says her husband, Jamey, who thinks his wife's anger is out of control. "Michelle does tell them that she's going to beat the living sh*t out of them."
While at their house, the camera crew captures some disturbing scenes of Michelle screaming at her daughters. Her crying 7-year-old cowers and says, "I'm scared."
"Of what?" Michelle yells.
"Of you," says her daughter, distraught.
"When I'm angry, I would describe myself like a lunatic," Michelle explains. "I feel like the devil. I feel like the horns pop out, I really feel like an ugly person. We swear in front of the kids every day. My 11-year-old knows that when mom gets pissed off, she's in deep sh*t."
The cameras also capture Michelle confronting her 11-year-old: "Don't worry about a f**king thing! Sit down on the bed! You think that because you guys walk away from this house, you guys can bicker, brawl and fight! You are pissing me off! What should I do? Come across the thing and slap you? How would you like if I grabbed you and slammed you against the wall? I am done! I don't know any other way to come across to you kids. You either start learning the way or you're going to get your ass beat!"
Jamey sees divorce in their future. But Michelle worries about something else: "If I don't get my anger under control, I could seriously hurt one of the kids," she says. She turns to Dr. Phil for help. "Dr. Phil, I hope you're ready for this because I am going to be one of your toughest challenges."
"That's my everyday life," says Michelle, with tears in her eyes. "It hurts. It makes me ashamed. That's me â€¦ I get so mad, very easy, at the littlest things, that I take it out on whoever's available and at the time, being a stay-at-home mom, the kids are there."
Dr. Phil's not buying it. "What happens in your mind that gives you the right to do what you do?"
"I don't know. I just do it. It's not something I think about it," says Michelle.
"â€˜I don't know' is not a genuine answer," says Dr. Phil. He repeats one of Michelle's statements back to her: "â€˜I say anything just to make sure that I hurt you when I'm mad at you.' You have a lot of hatred and you'll take it out on anybody you can."
"That's true. I have a saying that I'm not prejudiced against anybody; I hate everybody," says Michelle.
"You say, â€˜Kids think I'm very scary.' You say your children are afraid of you. You've slapped your 7-year-old, you've hit your 11-year-old upside the head and knocked her backwards. You call them â€˜idiots,' 'lazy pieces of sh*t' and 'f-ing idiots.'" Dr. Phil also points out that her 7-year-old knows the F-word, the B-word and the C-word. "Where do you suppose she learned that?"
Michelle says she doesn't call her kids those names.
He clarifies: "You call them â€˜Helen Keller,' â€˜idiots' and â€˜retards.'"
Dr. Phil wants Michelle to know what happens to her girls after she leaves the room. He plays a video of her youngest daughter alone, crying. She hides in the closet and when Jamey comes looking for her, she explains she can't breathe well and may get sick. Jamey takes her to the bathroom to throw up.
Then Michelle and Jamey start fighting. All the while, their little girl retches in the background.
Michelle tells Dr. Phil that she believes her daughter was faking it.
"So you have no ownership in that? She's just a drama queen?" Dr. Phil asks.
"To me, yeah."
"You cannot be serious. You're telling me that you have a 7-year-old dissolving into tears on a bed, hiding in a closet and hugging a commode and you have nothing to do with it?"
"That's called drama," says Michelle.
"Let me tell you what's drama," says Dr. Phil. "You can't change what you don't acknowledge. And you say you're going to be one of the hardest cases? Well, let me tell you, I am so ready to deal with that, it is absolutely no problem. If you think for one second that you're going to intimidate me like you do her, you think
Dr. Phil continues, "I don't know what's going to happen in your life after today, but I do know what's going to happen to those children's lives because I'm going to get you out of their face."
Dr. Phil goes over more of Michelle's history, but she continues to justify and minimize. When she implies that the camera crew encouraged her daughter to ask if she could leave and live with someone else, Dr. Phil asks, "So this is a camera crew issue, not a fact that you manage by intimidation and bully your children?"
He plays a video of her little girl saying, "I'm scared" seven times during Michelle's screaming punishment.
"Seven times in two minutes. Pretty good programming by the camera crew, don't you think? We need to get her an Oscar because I'm telling you, I've been doing this for 30 years " that child is scared," says Dr. Phil. "You're not a stupid person. You can't tell me you have zero insight that the fact that your yelling, screaming " all those things " are not having an impact on the worth of these children, the esteem of these children, the security of these children."
"Oh, I'm pretty sure it does," says Michelle.