Pain from the Past

Erin joins the conversation, and Dr. Phil asks her, "How are you two getting along?"

"We're definitely doing better," she says.

Dr. Phil plays a clip from a previous show of Alex in tears explaining that she wants her mother by her side supporting her. When the clip ends, Erin says, "We're past that. We've definitely moved on. That was a pretty hard thing for both of us to go through." She continues, "I think I was so focused on Nathan and Leilah, and I was very angry with some of the choices Alexandra had made, that I just couldn't put my arm around her. Now, I feel like we can be together and not see eye to eye on everything exactly but be closer." She adds that their family has boundary issues and a lack of respect for each other.

[AD]"Do you guys just have things that fester beneath the surface?" Dr. Phil asks. "You two are always one spark away from explosion."

"I would agree," Erin says.

"This relationship has to be healed in order for you to have a different next several years than you've had in the past," Dr. Phil tells the mother and daughter. "In anybody's life, you're going to face challenges, you're going to face problems. When you do, you hope that you've done maintenance on your relationship, you've worked on it enough that you don't have a bunch of pent-up problems and resentment that keep you from being there for one another." He tells them they must resolve their unfinished emotional business before they can truly move forward.

Dr. Phil plays a clip of what he thinks shows unfinished emotional business between Erin and Alexandra. Six years ago, Marty, Erin's husband and Alex's father, revealed that he had an affair. Alex knew about his infidelity but never shared the information with her mom, and she believes Erin still holds this against her.

Dr. Phil asks Erin, "Did she betray you by not telling you what she knew when she knew it?"

"No," Erin says, telling her daughter that she doesn't remember being angry with her. "When I found out that there was a girlfriend, I was furious with Marty that he would take the kids with him to see her."

"I felt like you were angry with me, because you made me go stay with one of my friends, and Katherine got to stay with you," Alex tells her mother.

[AD]"I feel really bad that I don't remember that like I should," she says.

Dr Phil asks Alex, "What do you say to yourself when your sister is at home with your mother and you're sent packing?"

"I felt really bad," she says with tears in her eyes. She adds that when she learned the truth about her father's affair, she felt guilty for not telling her mom.

 

Erin maintains that she doesn't remember feeling angry with Alex about that. She turns to her daughter and says, "I'm sorry, Alexandra. I didn't even see it like that at all."

Erin says that she wants to ensure her daughters don't make the same mistakes she's made in her life. "I don't know how to tell her that," she says.

"How about just telling her?" Dr. Phil asks. "If there's unfinished emotional business, finish it, get it over with, start fresh. If you want to be a healthy woman, you've got to take care of yourself before you can take care of anybody else."

"That doesn't happen," Erin says.

 

"We don't' need martyrs, we need mothers," Dr. Phil says. He asks her why she doesn't take care of herself.

"Because everybody else comes first, and they have important needs. I'm here to help them do better in life," she says.

"The most powerful role model in this girl's life is her mother," Dr. Phil tells Erin. "What do you model if you model martyrdom, if you model suffering, if you model putting yourself last? And then you wonder why they settle for less than quality."

"I never thought of it like that," Erin says, adding that she wanted to be opposite of her mother.

"Did you mother scream and yell?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Oh, yes," Erin replies.

 

"You go from psych speak to raving, yelling, screaming upset. True?" Dr. Phil asks.

[AD]"Yes," Erin confirms. She explains that her mother left their family when she was 10, and she wanted to be opposite of that, but in being there for her children, she sacrificed everything about herself. "All I wanted for them to do was appreciate the things I've done for them, and I feel like they don't appreciate anything I've done for them."

Dr. Phil mentions that although Erin was there for Alexandra through many of her difficulties, Alex says she wasn't there during important times as well.

"Now what?" Erin asks. "I don't know how to change any of that."

"What do you want?" Dr. Phil asks Erin.
 
"I want to move to Arizona, work in a convenience store and do my photography," she says, with tears welled in her eyes. "That way, nobody will bother me anymore, and I won't upset anybody else."
 
"Why is that hard to say?" Dr. Phil probes. "Why is it hard for you to talk about your feelings?"
 
"Because I don't want to abandon people for me," she says. "My mother abandoned me for herself … When Alexandra does that, it's like that wound that's never really healed gets peeled back open, and now Alexandra is suffering some of the anger that I feel with my mom."
 
[AD]"What are you feeling right now?" Dr. Phil asks.
 
"I'm terrified that Alexandra and Katherine won't want me in their lives," she says.
 
"That's what you're thinking," Dr. Phil says. "What are you feeling?"
 
"I feel sad. I feel hurt," she says. "I feel hurt because I want to move on with my life, and I want to be me, Erin … I guess I want to start taking care of Erin, and I feel like I can't do that because I have to worry about Alexandra, and Katherine, and Leilah and Nathan â€" something really bad is going to happen to them " and I'm hurt, because Alexandra can't seem to see that about me."
Dr. Phil plays a video of Alexandra telling her mother that she just wants to be loved by her, and another telling her mother that she is angry with her.  
 
In the emotional conversation that ensues, Alex tells her mother where her anger stems from, and Erin reveals a secret she's been hiding.
 
[AD]"During that time, was I that way?" Erin asks Alex.

"No. You weren't, and that was nice," she says. "I just wish you would do what you had to do to have that, and do it the right way. I want you to be happy, and I want you to have what you want, but don't feel like you have to be with somebody " I feel like then that's my fault, because you're staying with dad because of me, Katherine, Leilah and Nathan. I don't want to feel like that. I don't want to be the but. I don't want to be the only reason you're staying with dad."