Childhood Secrets: Beyond Physical Abuse

Childhood Secrets: Beyond Physical Abuse


Cathy and Micki reveal what they say really happened growing up with their stepfather. 

"My stepdad was a sexual person. He exposed himself to me. He's taken pictures of me naked," says Micki. "He would lay in his recliner and say, 'Get over here and comb my hair,' or, 'Get over here and rub my feet.' I hated it. I hated rubbing his big, old, stinky feet."

"There was one sexual incident where he had asked me to get him a glass of water. He was naked on the bed," says Cathy. In another, "I was scratching his back, he asked me to go lower, and then we switched. I remember him saying, 'This is just our little secret.' I feel pretty violated. He was very open with us, fondling my mom in front of us. He would lift her shirt up, so we could see her. I remember one time finding Polaroid pictures of him and my mom naked."

But what really concerns Cathy and Micki, is the relationship between Hollie and her father. "When she was about 13, Hollie was living with him alone, and she had said that he was making her sleep in his bed with him," Cathy explains.

"I think the relationship that Hollie has with our stepdad is sick and twisted. He's very good at brainwashing her," says Micki.


"No one has held him accountable for what he's done. That's the worst thing. It's not what he did, it's the way that my mom and Hollie reacted to it," says Cathy.

"It just makes me sad, because I love Hollie so much," says Micki. "And I cannot be her sister with the way that things are. I feel like I'm experiencing a slow death in my family."


Hollie interrupts Dr. Phil, clearly affected by what she saw in

their taped interviews. "I never, ever knew what happened." She begins to cry. "There was no open communication between us. I never, never knew what happened to them. Ever. Never once have they told me. The only person who's told me anything is my father. And that's where I got it from, so, no, I never thought it was that bad." She tells her sisters, "I mean, if I knew anything different, maybe I would've listened, or even respected anything that you've said. But I just thought you were mad for the same reasons that I was mad. And that what I've had to get over is verbal abuse and just all the mental abuse. I thought that's all you guys had to get over, too."

"How do you feel about it now, from what you've heard, what you've seen?" Dr. Phil asks her.

"I don't know. I feel like they do have room to speak, and I feel like I should listen. I don't change my view against my dad, now, I guess, because I mean, he showed me everything changed. But, yes, I want to know," says Hollie.

"But can you respect the fact that we don't want anything to do with your dad?" Cathy asks her. "And when we say over and over on the phone that we don't want you to mention his name, and we don't want you to talk about how well he's doing, and how great he is, and you still ignore those requests, does this in any way clear that up for you?"

"Yeah," says Hollie. But she also feels she can't talk about her life at all because her father is a part of it.


Dr. Phil asks the older sisters, "There comes a point where you have to stop complaining and start asking specifically for what you want. What is it you want from her that you're not getting?"

"I want you to respect my feelings," Micki tells Hollie. "I'm sick of defending myself to you and your father. I'm sick of you sticking up for your father. I'm sick of you making me feel like I'm the bad guy. I'm absolutely sick of it. I don't want you to defend him to me anymore. I don't want to hear his name. I don't want to see his face. I don't want to hear his voice. I want nothing to do with him. Your father affects the way I live
my life, even today. He affects the way I mother my children. He affects the way that I am a wife. And I feel like you're saying to me, 'Well, you know what? Who cares about all that, Micki? In the meantime, my dad's hurting. You need to realize that my dad hurts, and that he's suffering, and that he feels bad.' Well, you know what? I'm not the one who made your dad feel that way. Your dad's the one who made me feel that way. I know I can't blame him for the rest of my life, but I want you to realize that I'm not the monster here. I'm not the one who asked for this. I'm not the one who made him do this. Nobody has ever, ever made him be accountable. Even today, he's minimizing it. To me that means, 'I don't want help. I don't feel sorry for what I've done. I'm just going to do what I can to stay out of trouble.' And it p***es me off!"