Anatomy of Abuse: Resolution

Anatomy of Abuse: Resolution

"According to Child Protective Services' safety plan, Lee is not allowed near his children. I could have sworn I saw him playing with his children in the taped piece we played a few minutes ago," Dr. Phil says to Amy.

"That was for the recording only," she replies.

"Are you suggesting that somebody on my crew asked you people to violate an order to shoot " " Dr. Phil begins.

"I'm not saying that they asked us," Amy says, "but [Lee] came over for the interview."

"In violation of the order," Dr. Phil stresses. "We send crews all over the world " not just all over the United States, all over the world. We can go across town to talk to Lee at his mother's house, so don't suggest that he was there because of us."

 

Dr. Phil plays back footage of Lee interacting with his kids, kissing them and romping around with them. "Y'all aren't adhering to the order in any fashion whatsoever, are you?" he asks.

"Yes, sir, we are. I'm terrified of losing my children," Amy says.

"On January 5, 2007, one of my staff called for you on Lee's cell phone. Lee answered and passed the phone to you, and the kids were heard playing in the background," Dr. Phil reminds Amy.

"How am I supposed to have a phone if he cannot come and give it to me?" she asks. "I have my children. He has to have his phone for work. I have no way of communicating with anybody. There are times that he has to bring his phone to me."

Dr. Phil continues with his indictment of Amy and Lee's behavior. "On Saturday, January 20, 2007, one of my staff did a pre-interview with you, and Lee is in the background calling out for daughter."

"No, because he's not there," Amy says.

"Yeah, he was," Dr. Phil disputes.

"He was there for the interview; that was it," Amy argues. 

"On four different occasions, he has been with the children," Dr. Phil maintains.

"No, I'm sorry," Amy says.

Cynthia interjects, "You lie, Amy. You do lie about stuff like this."

Addressing Lee, Dr. Phil asks, "Have you been with these children?"

 

"Not when I'm not supposed to," Lee replies.

"Well, are you supposed to at all?" Dr. Phil probes.

 

"They said we can go to church together, and then when they gave us a different caseworker, they said we couldn't do that. The shoot, I went over there, and maybe it was a bad judgment call," Lee admits.

"So the answer is no, you haven't been complying with the order, because the order didn't say, ‘Unless you need to share a phone.'"

"Like Amy said, I had to take the phone to her," Lee tells Dr. Phil.


"You said you used to spank them and thought, ‘I just shouldn't do that because I might not be able to control myself, or I might make a bad decision,' so you just put them in time-out, right?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Right."

 

"How could you do that if you're not with them?" Dr. Phil inquires.

"In the short time when Amy came back and before everybody got involved, that was when I decided I wasn't going to do that. Then they came and took the kids, and I had to leave the house," Lee explains.

"Can I say something to Lee?" Cynthia asks.

"No. I'd rather you didn't," Lee replies brusquely.

Turning to him, Dr. Phil says, "Tell me why you said what you just said, and why you have said you ‘F-ing despise' these people."

"They're fake. They are false. They like to talk a lot," Lee replies. "These people have tried to get involved in every aspect of our lives. They have tried to run everything that they can."

"Well, for God's sake; it sounds like somebody needs to," Dr. Phil says. "If you're really being honest with yourself, you haven't yet had the time or opportunity to do what you need to do to be able to say with objective confidence that you can trust yourself in a stress-filled situation with a wife and three children under 4 years of age. That is stressful. That can push peoples' buttons and get them to the point where if their coping skills are thin, they can snap. And one time you snap and you wind up with a shaken baby, or you wind up with somebody getting bumped in a fight, you can accidentally knock a child down."

 

Dr. Phil wants Lee to acknowledge that he must work on himself before he re-enters his family's life. "I will help you with that, Lee. I will help you with anger management. I will help you with parenting skills and classes. I will help you with counseling. I will help you with anything and everything I can to help you be the man you can be, instead of the man that you have been and are being, at this point," Dr. Phil vows. "Being disrespectful to ‘meddlesome in-laws' is just killing the messenger, because if it wasn't them it would be somebody else. If you resent their involvement, then put me on the list, because I'm getting involved."

"Do you feel like I've been honest with you today?" Dr. Phil asks Lee.

"Yes."

"Have I treated you with dignity and respect, despite the fact that you have some very reproachable behavior? Have I offered you help and counseling?"

 

"Yes, sir." 

"Will you comply with the current order that you are under to not put these children in harm's way without supervision, or whatever is required?" Dr. Phil inquires.

"Yes," Lee answers.

Dr. Phil turns to Amy. "Because if you don't, you're going to have the children taken away from you. You may have crossed that line already. That's not up to me to decide. They gave you an order, and you have failed to comply with it," he says. "That's a problem."

"The whole reason why I called you was because of the mess that my kids were putting me through, and the fact that I have subjected them to this," Amy says through tears. "It made me sick when I had to finally leave and face that fact that I have kept them in this."

"Well, you fix it before you jump back in the frying pan," Dr. Phil warns.

After the show, Dr. Phil turns to Amy. "I really commend you for stepping out and writing me a long letter, that I read every word of," he says, "but you have to play by the rules along the way, and you don't want to demonize people, even if you don't like the way they're trying to help you. Do you question whether your parents have your children's best interests at heart?"

"To be honest with you, it's secondary," Amy replies.

"Secondary to what?"

"To a hidden agenda," she says. "Wanting my child, wanting my children."

"If that's true, you couldn't be playing into their hands more if you were working for them," Dr. Phil says. "That's why I want to support you as a mother. One of the things I want you to do as a mother is not cut extended family out of your children's life. You have not allowed them to see your daughter, correct?"

"Correct," Amy says softly.

"That's a mistake. You're making [Amerie] pay for your friction with them, and that is just flat wrong. Is she here?" Dr. Phil asks. "Will you let me take them back and let them see her?"

Amy mulls over his question. Finally, she says yes.