"Call it Off": Matt"

"Call it Off": Matt"

Jessica's brother and her boyfriend, who share the same name, once came to blows over her relationship. "My brother, Matt, did not like the way my boyfriend, Matt, was treating me," she says. 

"What I remember is they came over to the house, and her brother stood in front of me and said, ‘Get up. Go outside. I'm going to kick your ass.' I went to stand up, and I was thrown over," Matt recounts. "From what I remember, that's when the other three guys came into the picture with a baseball bat. I was stomped in the forehead, in the face. I had a cracked rib. I was really busted up."

"My boyfriend, Matt, and I pressed charges against my brother," Jessica says softly. 

Ellen shows no sympathy for Matt. "I was on one side of the courtroom with my son and Jessica was on the other side with this idiot boyfriend, who brought pictures of his black eye to the courtroom to prove that my son hit him. I don't trust the guy. He's caused so much damage in my family," she says, raising her voice.

Matt joins the family onstage. "They've actually said you are the devil, that you are just an evil, vicious, abusive and hurtful kind of guy. True or false?" Dr. Phil asks. 

"False ... today," Matt replies, explaining that he is no longer an addict. Turning to Bruce and Ellen, he says, "I was a self-seeking, selfish, self-centered, manipulative " I was a horrible person in my addiction."

Ellen doesn't believe Matt is truly reformed. "You've been in and out of rehabs since I've known you," she retorts. "And I'm sorry for your addiction. You need help, but you don't need to bring my family or my daughter down while you're trying to get well."

"I understand. I have been in rehabs before, but I'm in recovery now," Matt maintains.

"You've been in recovery for two years!" Ellen counters. "Give us a break. Jessica walks away from you; she's glad when she comes home, and then you just call her on the cell phone, and she just melts and starts over again."

"I call him; he doesn't call me," Jessica says.

Ellen turns to her. "So you're going to make another excuse for him?"

"You've been clean and sober how long?" Dr. Phil asks Matt. 

"Over 60 days," Matt replies. When the audience makes a sound of derision, he says, "People laugh, but to me, that's amazing because I was in such a place in my addiction, I couldn't even see 60 days ahead."

Dr. Phil addresses Jessica. "How long has it been since you've used?" 

"Almost two months," she replies.

"So you lied about that too?" Ellen asks, incredulous. "You said you'd been clean for a year. Are you just saying that? I'm sorry. That's news to me." 

"What [drug] did you do?" Dr. Phil asks Jessica. 

"Meth."

 

"Y'all met at a meth house, right?"

Matt answers, "Yes, sir."

Pointing out that Jessica plans to marry Matt by the end of the year, Dr. Phil asks, "What's your sense of urgency? Why do you need this relationship?"

"It's not really that I need it, he's my other half. He makes me feel much better about my day when I wake up. He's my best friend," she responds. "I know I can tell him and go to him for anything, even the things I can't tell my mother because I'm afraid of the judgment that's going to come behind it."

"Well, it's hard to not judge something that's counterproductive and destructive. I understand that you fear criticism and judgment," Dr. Phil says. "What is your parents' agenda? Do you think that they're sitting there saying, ‘We need to make this little bitch miserable'? Do you think that's what they say at home? Or do you think they sit behind closed doors and say, ‘This is our precious child. This is our baby. This is the most beautiful girl in the world, and we want her to be happy, and healthy, and thriving, and do wonderfully in this life'?"

Jessica acknowledges that her folks want the best for her, yet she questions their motives. "Sometimes, I feel like it's more of what they think is the best for me," she says.

"You really think they don't want you to be happy?" Dr. Phil presses.

"I know they want me to be happy."

Ellen wants a closer relationship with her daughter. Her voice breaks as she recounts a shopping trip with Jessica. "You've been away, and I've missed you. I've missed our friendship, and drinking coffee and going shopping was a fun mother-daughter thing," she says tearfully.

"I've been dead in the soul for many years, and you just now are trying to grab me?" Jessica asks in wonder.

"No, you've just now started asking for advice. You've never taken it. You've never wanted it. You've always done what you wanted, no matter what," Ellen insists.

"Why are you so angry at your mother right now?" Dr. Phil asks Jessica.

"I've been gone since I was 12, pretty much, mentally," Jessica explains. "I started using when I was 12. Where was she when I needed her?"

"Honey, I was there."

"I needed you so much, and you were not there," Jessica says, her face crumpling in remembrance. "I would come to your work. I would be as high as a kite, and you wouldn't even see me. You picked a picture to show the [Dr. Phil] producers about how much fun we're having, and I'm as high as a kite in the picture. We would go to Thanksgiving dinner, I wouldn't even eat. I would be in the bathroom, doing lines off the back of the toilet. The first person who is there, and helps me, and gives me the motivation to get clean, you're trying to take him away. When I'm not with him, when I broke up with him for that month, the only thing I wanted to do was use [drugs] because I hated who I was so much, trying to put on this façade."

"What do you want now? What do you want these people to do now?" Dr. Phil asks Jessica.

"I just want them to see that it's possible for people to change, no matter how dirty their backgrounds are, and it is possible for them to come to the other side and live together, and be healthy," she replies.

Dr. Phil issues a bleak prognosis for Matt and Jessica's future. "The chance of you two having any kind of relationship at all, ever, going forward from the position you're in right now is something less than zero. Won't happen," he says. "Could it happen? Yes, it could happen, and you want to know how it can happen? You've got to stand on your own two feet first. The most important relationship you will ever have is with you. When you say, ‘He's the only one,' then you fail the test. You don't need him. He can't keep you sober. He can't keep you clean."

He turns to Matt. "She can't keep you sober and clean. If you really care about her, you would man up and get a year or two under your belt, clean and sober, before you got in her life. If you love each other, you ought to take a break. You ought to not see each other, not talk to each other, for at least 90 days," Dr. Phil suggests. "If at the end of that time you want to talk, if at the end of that time you want to see how the other is doing, make that decision then."

Dr. Phil promises to arrange help for the couple if they will accept it, but he wants them to be accountable as well. "You've got to do something for me. You two need to be apart right now," he tells Jessica and Matt.

Dr. Phil checks in at the end of the show to see if Jessica and Matt have reassessed their relationship. "If you two really, really want any chance of a future at all, you'll get right yourselves first. Because when you step into a relationship, you bring with you your baggage, and you set it down right there in the living room. If it's full of contaminants, you poison the whole house; you poison the whole relationship," he warns. "If you show up, you're going to bring a history with you, and if it's full of logic, and clarity, and focus, then you're going to contribute to the relationship. You two, for your sobriety, for your health, and for your future, need a break from each other. That's my professional opinion. Are you willing to do that?"

 

Both Matt and Jessica say yes.

 

"I would say, to begin with, 90 days, zero contact," Dr. Phil advises. "I think the world will look a lot different to you in 90 days."

 

Noting that Jessica has used drugs as recently as two months ago, Dr. Phil offers to get her professional help, and she accepts.