Behind Closed Doors: Heidi and Susan

Mother and Daughter Face Off

Heidi, who has been watching the show from the side of the stage, joins her mother and Dr. Phil on

stage. The women haven't seen each other in three years. Dr. Phil says, "I've seen you over there just about to explode."

"I cannot believe that she said that she took me to the hospital," she says. "The only time I was ever taken to the hospital was when your other boyfriend molested me."

"I had no idea about any of this," Susan says, noting that the hospital visit is written about in Heidi's military records.

"I don't believe a word you're saying," Heidi says.

"Are you telling me there was another molestation you didn't know about?" Dr. Phil asks Susan.


"I had no idea," she replies.

Heidi says her mother knew. "I told her. She was dating the guy," she says.

"Somebody's lying here," Dr. Phil says.

Susan says her claims are backed by military records.

"Your credibility is probably not real great because you've already said you've made some hugely bad decisions," Dr. Phil tells Susan. "If you want a relationship with your daughter, you can't deny her again. She's here now saying, "This is what happened. Tell the truth, Mother, so we can deal with it!'"

"Maybe she doesn't remember it," Susan says, repeating that she has documentation.

Heidi interrupts her mother. "You did not go to a basement and cry. You went up to Irene's house. You left me," she recalls.

"Irene found me," Susan snaps back.

"No, I remember," Heidi says.

"You don't remember," her mother retorts.

"Kids don't usually forget about being molested," Dr. Phil points out.

"I don't care whether she forgets or what. It's a fact," Susan says. "It was shoved under the rug, because he was a military policeman."

Dr. Phil tells Susan that child molestation is not something the military takes lightly. "If you think I won't contact them and give them the opportunity to talk about this, then I certainly will, becaus
e [Heidi] wants answers," he says. "You said yourself that at the time you actually blamed her."

"In the beginning, I most likely did blame her," she says.

"Even if she didn't have anywhere to go through the military because she needed her way paid, she has two amazing parents," Heidi says.

"They were in the process of moving," Susan says to her daughter.

"It doesn't matter how much it costs, it doesn't matter what it is. There's no excuse," Heidi says. "You're lying. You're full of it."

"I am not full of it," Susan says. "You have an attitude."

"She's entitled to an attitude. Don't you think?" Dr. Phil says to Susan.

"You don't know the circumstances!" Susan says. "I was a victim too. I did things wrong. Yes, I handled it completely differently, but I have proof of exactly what happened." She maintains that her best friend found her in the basement after she possibly had a mental breakdown.

"As a mother myself, we have mental breakdowns quite often, but you know what? You get over it, and you do what's best for your kids," Heidi says.

 

"Don't go there, Heidi," Susan says. "She has put her daughter in abusive relationships."



Heidi laughs in disbelief.

Dr. Phil addresses Susan. "We asked Heidi what kind of mother you were outside of this during this time. She didn't give you a good report card," he says. "She says you put your son on a leash, that you borrowed money from her when she was living on her own in high school, that you stole a family member's ID and ruined their credit, that you sent your son to Austin, Texas to pilfer on the street pretending he was homeless, so he could get money. True or false?"

"That is not true," she says.

Dr. Phil asks Susan how John reacted when she caught him molesting Heidi. "Was he remorseful? Did he say, "Oh, my God. This is horrible,' or did he go play softball?" he asks Susan.

"He went to go play softball. He had no remorse at all," she says.

"Can we then agree that you continued to stay in that relationship and subject her to this monster for the next six or seven years?" Dr. Phil asks Susan.

"But I was not aware of it," she says.

"We're just talking about the facts right now," Dr. Phil says. "Is the fact that after you caught him in the act of molesting your daughter at age 9, you continued to live with him, with your daughter in
the house, for another six or seven years?"

"Yes," she replies.

"During that time, you allowed him to be alone with the children, knowing that he had molested her," Dr. Phil says.

"Yes," Susan says.

Heidi recalls, "I would be sleeping and wake up in the middle of the night and have to yell, "Get out of my room.'"

"You had no idea that he was going into her bedroom at night?" Dr. Phil asks Susan, noting that they were living in a small house.

"I had absolutely no idea," she says. "I didn't understand what a pedophile does."

"You caught him!" Dr. Phil reminds her.

"I was going to counseling. This chaplain told me that once they're exposed, that it doesn't happen anymore," Susan says. "I didn't know. I was a baby."

"You're were 27," Dr. Phil point out.

"We both were victims," Susan says. "Yes, I know I am very guilty of not handling it differently, and let me tell you right now, if it happened this day, I probably would have called every officer in the military to do what I could and protect me and my children, but

nobody was there for us."

Dr. Phil tells Susan why Heidi won't have a relationship with her. "You refuse to acknowledge her point of view," he says. "A child expects a parent to protect them. I don't care if you had to live under a bridge or go to a shelter. You don't allow your child to be fed like a sacrificial lamb to some ** who is abusing her." He explains that Susan's behavior may not have been correct then, but she should realize and acknowledge it now. "Even now, you're not saying, "You're right. I'm sorry. How could I ever make it up to you.' You're saying, "You have an attitude.' Well, hell yes, she has an attitude!"

 

"I look at her and all I want to do is grab her, and hold her, and hug her and tell her how sorry I am, that I was wrong. I made mistakes. I wasn't aware, and she sits there with a cocky attitude that I can't even get through to her," Susan says.

"You keep making this about her bad attitude," Dr. Phil says. "The fact that she is even willing to sit on this stage with you and address this, to me, is the real attitude that I see, and the fact that you think that she has a chip on her shoulder, that she has a lack of trust â€" You own that lack of trust. You own that chip on her shoulder. You own that attitude. You can't criticize it, and it begins with acknowledging what went wrong at that time."

Dr. Phil asks Heidi, "Do you want to have a relationship with your mother, and what would she have to do in order for that to become possible?"


"I would have to see that she's changed, that she's accepted her faults, that she's accepted what she did, not only to me, but to my siblings," she says.

Noticing Susan's body language, Dr. Phil asks, "Why are you so defensive when she says that?"

 

"Because Heidi's so degrading of me, and there are things that she does, and we don't sit here and put it out there and let people know," she says. "There are things she doesn't see and doesn't remember."

 

The women bicker, and Dr. Phil interrupts to say to Susan, "I really believe that you just don't get it."



"I do get it," she says.

"You can't get it if you say, "How could she? Why would she?'" Dr. Phil says.

"Because she continued exposing herself to him when she was older," Susan says. "She's making up stories that aren't true."

 

Dr. Phil explains to Susan, "The dynamic between a molester and their victim can go on for years or a lifetime. You subjected her to that. You allowed that to continue. You can't poison her, contaminate her, change her and then criticize the result. Do you not get that when you are molested it changes who you are?"

"I know nothing about a molester," she says.

"Then you need to learn!" Dr. Phil tells her. "You need to learn before you start criticizing."

The mother and daughter exchange words, and Susan asks, "How can I talk to that?"

"You can talk to it by not being so defensive. You are being completely and totally defensive," Dr. Phil tells her.

"Because I'm being degraded constantly. Why wouldn't I be defensive?" she says, noting that she can name every officer she spoke to in the military.

Dr. Phil points out that at this time those facts don't matter. "You are a mother. It's not the military's job to protect your child. It's yours," he says. "Are you trying to tell

me that the military told you you must take your daughter back and put her in the hands of that molester?"

"Basically, yes," she says.

 

"You are giving the arguments that you had then to justify your behavior, when, as you sit here today, you know better. You know that your number one responsibility in this world was to protect [Heidi] and her brothers and sisters," Dr. Phil says.

"I should have taken Heidi and my children, and left and put him in prison," Susan says. "That's what I should have done."

"Does it help at least to hear her say that?" Dr. Phil asks Heidi.

"It's the first time, and yeah," she says.

Susan begins to explain that she had a 4-month-old at the time, and Dr. Phil interrupts her. "You just screwed it up," he says. "You were doing so well, and then you had to put a but in there." He reiterates that she should have gone to a shelter or taken any type of measure to insure the safety of her children.