Brandi and Chris: What Are You Really Mad About?

Brandi and Chris: What Are You Really Mad About?
Dr. Phil gets Brandi, a wife who is consumed with rage, to uncover the source of her anger.
Brandi and Chris

Married for less than one year, Brandi fears that her overwhelming rage is threatening her relationship. She admits to dealing with her anger by yelling, screaming, slamming doors and driving 100 mph.

"I'm always mad at something," says Brandi. "When I go too far and I know I've gone too far, I can't really stop. The only emotion I know how to show is anger ... My friends call me a royal bitch. I yell at the person at my local donut shop every single day. I call my husband names ... Dr. Phil, I want to know, what am I really mad about?"

Brandi's husband Chris is also concerned. "When she's angry, she gets out of control," he explains. "It really hurts when she's judging my manliness. We do want to have children. That's one of my biggest fears. Is she going to be like this with the kids?"
"What do you think is going to happen if you continue doing this with Chris?" asks Dr. Phil.

"He'll probably leave," says Brandi.

"Is this a test?" asks Dr. Phil.

"I think it is," admits Brandi. "It's like, how much is he willing to go through?"

"Let me fast forward for you," says Dr. Phil. "He won't stay. If he has a backbone in his body and a shred of dignity, he will drop you like a 100-pound rock if you continue doing what you're doing ... What are you mad about?" asks Dr. Phil.

"I don't know," says Brandi. "Any little thing sets me off."
"As you look back through your life, do you not see where your rage and anger is coming from?" asks Dr. Phil. "Because I do, like a flashing sign over your head ... Some things happened to you growing up that were not OK."

Brandi admits she was molested for an extended period of time during her childhood by a male family member. When she told her mother, her mother told Brandi it was her own fault.

"You're telling me until this moment, you've not made any connection between the fact that as a young child you were molested and exploited at a time when you didn't have the voice, power or ability to fight back?" asks Dr. Phil. "You turned for help to the woman who was supposed to be your protector and what you got was blame. You don't see any connection between the rage and anger over what happened to you and the fact that you've got an amazingly big chip on your shoulder today?"

"I know that it happened but I don't like to use it as an excuse," says Brandi.
"You look [at the abuse] and say, 'There was a time in my life when I was vulnerable, and look what happened,'" says Dr. Phil. "It's hard for you to be vulnerable, isn't it?"

"Yes," says Brandi. "I want to be in control and I don't want to be hurt. I don't want to put my feelings out there and show my emotions." Brandi also admits that it's hard for her to show affection toward her husband, making herself emotionally unavailable to him.

"Do you get a sense of history repeating itself here?" asks Dr. Phil. "Someone was a predator and abusive with you. Then, your mother added insult to injury by being emotionally unavailable. Now, here you are as an adult and you have become the predator and abuser. And you are emotionally unavailable. Are you not becoming everything that you so detest in your life?"

"I am," says Brandi. "I don't want to be like that. But I don't know how to not be that way."
"Have you ever said one word to the man who molested you?" asks Dr. Phil.

"No," says Brandi. "I've dreamed about it but never gotten the nerve up to go and do it."

"Do you think that maybe if you did that with him, you wouldn't do it with Chris?" asks Dr. Phil. "Maybe if you were able to give that a voice, you wouldn't feel so frustrated you need to do it with everyone else in your life instead? Aren't they just substitutes for [your molester]? I want you to look into the camera and tell him what he did to you," says Dr. Phil.

"You've made my life very empty," says Brandi. "I'll probably hate you forever for it. I don't want to act this way. I just don't understand why it went on for so long ... You hurt me and I hate you. I hate what I've become and I wish it never happened. My life would have been so much easier ... You need to get help."
After the show, Dr. Phil goes backstage to talk to Brandi.

"The thing that bothers me the most is that you've never given a voice to your feelings. If you don't give it a voice, it will be like an emotional cancer that eats away at you from the inside out. That's why I asked you to tell [your molester] what you thought."

Brandi admits that she has encapsulated her rage so much that she doesn't even feel it.

"Will you go talk to him?" asks Dr. Phil.

"I will," says Brandi.

"I believe you need to go talk to this man, whether you write him a letter or look him in the eye and tell him everything you've got inside," says Dr. Phil. "Claim the right to get this out of your life."
Backstage, Dr. Phil explains to Kandi, the show's senior coordinating producer, why Brandi had difficulty talking about the source of her anger: "What I saw in Brandi is something I often see when people have been wounded in such a terrible way. They compress things inside and keep a thick shell around it because that's safe. She's protecting herself. I gave her an opportunity but not a push because I want her to unscrew that capsule and let it out when she's ready. I think we have a serious commitment from her that she will do that, but we need to respect her right to choose the time."