Childhood Secrets: Being Sisters Again

Childhood Secrets: Being Sisters Again


Hollie has something to say to her sisters. Wiping away tears, she says, "I don't want you to forgive him, and I never said that. I couldn't care less what happens between you and him, and that was before I even came here. But I want to know, where have you guys been? Since the day I had my daughter, you have not been anywhere near. You never answer your phone. You never call me, you never talk to me. And that might be issues that you have with me, but you're never there for me, never, and all you ever have to say are negative things. Micki, I was close with you for awhile, and you try. But Cathy, I don't even know you. You don't even know who I am."

Cathy explains that she has trouble communicating with Hollie, which is why they're not close.


Dr. Phil speaks for the older sisters as he explains, "They will never, ever, ever get over it, unless and until they know that they have been heard. They'll never get over it, until they know the people they care about understand the gravity of what happened, so they know this isn't being trivialized, this isn't being swept under the carpet. Time heals nothing. Nothing. It's what you do with that time that heals it. You can heal it in a week with the right stuff. You can't heal it in ten years with the wrong thing. And you two feel like she has never heard and acknowledged what happened to you, and wants you to just move on to the new phase with your dad. And what you should understand, is you are so important to them, that it matters that you get it. It matters that you understand. You're their sister. They want to know that you know, that you get the gravity of what they're dealing with."

"That is exactly what I've been trying to tell her and my mom for 12 years," says Cathy.


"I don't know what to say," says Hollie, in tears.

"You do know what to say. Look at your sisters and tell them that you know they have been hurt and that the wounds are still open," says Dr. Phil.

Hollie looks at her sisters, but has trouble speaking through her tears. "I already know that. I knew that before I came here," she says.

"But they don't know that you get that," Dr. Phil reminds her. "What you know inside and what you give to them are two different things."

"I know you're hurt," she tells them. But Hollie is also hurt. "I still don't understand why you guys have been so distant." 

"You're right," says Micki. "We haven't been great sisters. And you've been left by yourself from us, from Mom, from your dad, everybody has left you alone."

"It's harder after you have a child," says Hollie.


"Tell them what you need," encourages Dr. Phil.

"I need you to be there for me," Hollie tells her sisters. "I need you to stop locking me out of your life for what my father did. I'm not him. I didn't do those things to you."

"You're absolutely right," says Micki.

With tears streaming down her face, Hollie says, "You have no idea who I am, or what I go through every day. You have absolutely no idea, and you don't care to know. And you're not there, neither of you are there for me at all. I'm sick of doing it by myself. It is so hard. And it is make it or break it. We either connect, or I'm disconnected from this whole family for the rest of my life, because I've tried so hard, and I've lived this situation, the molestation, everything. I've lived it every day since it happened."


"Everybody has a unique response to any circumstance, or any situation," Dr. Phil tells them. "You're in different places on the arc of healing about what's happened. And you have to be willing to respect each other's position. Your job is to find a way to support one another. She's in a different place, and you guys are still very much pained by this. And you do need to get closure on that. You do need to forgive this man. Not for him, not because he deserves it, but because you deserve it. You'll never forget this, but you can make the decision to forgive. That doesn't mean that you will ever have a relationship with him. I am not asking you to give him back his daughters. What I am asking you to do is give yourself back your life. Give yourself back your hope. One of the things he's doing is taking your sister away from you. Your sister needs you."


Dr. Phil recommends they find their Minimal Effective Response — the least thing that they can do to find closure. "Maybe that's confronting him, I don't know. Maybe it's writing him a letter and telling him, I don't know. Whatever it takes for you to be able to close that book, that's what you need to work toward."

In order for the sisters to begin to establish new relationships with each other, they first need to set some boundaries. They should start by agreeing to stay away from the topic of Hollie's father, and just spend time together as sisters. "Learn about her life. Learn about her little one. Learn about her hopes and dreams, and this graduation that's coming up. Put him to the side for now, until you have a foundation that's strong enough so that it will withstand some burden

of resolving these issues, OK? And that's where you start," says Dr. Phil.

He offers the women some professional counseling in their hometowns, to help them all heal and find closure. And to get them started on being sisters again, he offers to send them all to a nice dinner together after the show. "I just want you to go be sisters," he says.

They all agree to give it a shot.