Behind Closed Doors: Susan

Robbed of a Childhood

"My stepfather molested me when I was 5. My mother did not do anything, and I really hated

my mom for that," says Heidi. Her stepfather, John, continued his assaults for 10 years. "I would wake up in the middle of the night and catch him in my room fondling me ... I can't comprehend as a mother allowing somebody to violate your child."


"I was a victim too," says Susan, Heidi's mom, who walked in on John molesting her daughter when Heidi was 9 years old. "My ex-husband's reaction was it didn't faze him. There was no remorse. There was no guilt." She stayed with John for six years after she discovered his behavior. "I didn't believe it would happen again."


"I was so relieved and thankful when she caught him molesting me," Heidi recalls. But that feeling didn't last long. "He continued to molest me. My mother did not ask me how I was doing. My mother did not hug me. She went and sought out consoling from her friends." Heidi doesn't understand why her mother did not press charges against John. "My mom was supposed to be my protector."


Susan admits, "I blamed her," and claims she was young and ignorant. "I've never been exposed to this situation before. I was 27 years old," she says. "You don't know anything about life." She explains why she didn't bring charges

against John. "I had to protect my children. He would have been put in prison. I had no income, no car, no career, no nothing," she says.


Heidi says she has other bad memories from childhood, including seeing her mother smoke from a bong and snort cocaine. "She had a lot of flings while being married to John. I'd find her in our home with men," she reveals. "I cannot comprehend a lot of what my mom has done."

"By this all happening, I've lost a relationship with my daughter. She has told my ex-husb

and that she forgives him, but she doesn't forgive me. I'm her mother. She wouldn't be here if it wasn't for me. My greatest fear is that I'm going to die and that my relationship with my daughter will never be resolved," Susan laments. "Heidi has completely turned her back on me. She has completely put me out of her life."


"My mom is just a manipulative, selfish person," Heidi says. "How in the world could you allow somebody to abuse your child and stay with them?"


Susan joins Dr. Phil onstage, and he reiterates her daughter's question, "How do you know that somebody is molesting your innocent, precious child and you stay with him?"

Susan explains that when she learned about the abuse, she and her family were living on a military base in Germany. She contacted the authorities, and Heidi was taken to a military hospital. "Everybody knew about it, and they basically told me

that me and my children will be sent back to the United States and, basically, dropped off. We would have to find our own transportation to where we were going," she says. "I had four kids at the time and I had no job, no income, no car, no career, no nothing."

"What's your point?" Dr. Phil asks. "Still, to this day, you justify it."

"There's no justification," Susan says.

Dr. Phil calls her explanation a list of excuses. "Not only did you not take her out of the situation, you didn't stop him from continuing to molest her," he says.

"I did not know he was continually molesting her," Susan refutes. "I had absolutely no idea."

"How did you not know?" Dr. Phil asks. "You caught him doing it when she was 9." He reminds Susan that she can't change what she doesn't acknowledge.


"A chaplain told me that once a pedophile is exposed, that most likely it stops," she says. 

"That military chaplain is full of crap," Dr. Phil says sternly. "A pedophile will typically, throughout their life, if not apprehended, molest between 100 and 400 victims. Come on. Where was your common sense?"

"It was in 1983. It was not as

exposed like it is now," Susan says.

Dr. Phil reviews the facts. "You walk in and find your husband performing oral sex on your 9-year-old daughter, and at that point, he just says, ‘Well, whatever,' and goes to play softball," he says.

Susan says she doesn't remember what took place. "I think I had a mental breakdown," she says. "My girlfriends found me in the basement in the garage crying."

"That would make a whole lot more sense than what you're telling me, which is, ‘I wouldn't have had military benefits and had to get my own ride from somewhere if they sent me back to the states,'" Dr. Phil says. "I would have walked across the ocean if I had to get away from a predator. If you had a breakdown, you had a breakdown. That's a different story." He explains that he is drilling down attempting to get the facts from her, because Heidi needs to know that Susan understands her wrongdoings before she will resume a relationship with her.