Dr. Phil Takes on a Town: Jim, Jennifer

Dr. Phil Makes a House Call
Dr. Phil checks back in with the Horvath family to see how they Dr. Phil adopts the people and town of Elgin, Texas to help them with their community and family problems.

"When I first married Jim, I wasn't really in love with him. I married Jim because I was ready to have children," admits Jennifer, who is currently separated from her husband of 11 years. Their marriage has been rocky from the beginning. "Jim was physically abusive through the first four years of marriage," she says.


Jennifer says she had a poor relationship with her stepfather, and Jim's behavior was bringing up bad memories. "When I was younger, I didn't have a choice, but as a grown adult, I didn't have to put up with that," she says. She kicked him out of the house, but let him come back the next day.


"I remember one time she was pregnant and I had her pinned down and I hit her. I had such a rage going," says Jim.

"I am very afraid of Jim. I don't like him walking behind me," she explains. "He has just torn me apart emotionally."

"Jennifer has a way to make me angry to that breaking point. I told her, 'If you wouldn't have pushed me that far, I wouldn't have hit you,'" says Jim.Jennifer has had two affairs during their marriage. The first one was purely a sexual affair,
but with the second one, she "liked the feeling of being wanted. Of feeling attractive to somebody," she says.

After the first affair, Jim tried to commit suicide and went to a mental hospital for a week. When he returned home, the family started going to church regularly. Jennifer points out that Jim would come home and look at pornography on the Internet.

"I just felt that whenever I didn't get sex, then I wasn't being loved," he explains. "I turned to masturbation and pornography
... The sexual fantasies is what really, really messed up our marriage," Jim admits. "Me with other men, her with other men, me with other woman, her with other women."

"Right now, there is absolutely nothing that Jim could do that would make me want him to stay," Jennifer reveals. "If our marriage ends in divorce, I want to know that I did try everything."

Jim says, "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to save our marriage."

Jim and Jennifer have three children together and Jim has two children from a previous marriage. They have all seen and heard all of the fighting, abuse and pain. Their 5-year-old son, Devon, explodes and gets very angry at things. "He will yell at you and he'll even try to hit you," Jim says.


"Duston, our 8-year-old, he's very anxious. He's very worried," says Jennifer. Ten-year-old Preston has a horrible temper. "He's gotten mad enough where he's picked up a wooden bat and broken it across the tree outside," Jennifer explains.


"I've done marijuana recently. I've looked at pornography," says 16-year-old Jesse, who has been sexually active since May and admits to having acted out his anger. "I did get in a fight with my sister and I did strike her."


"I definitely want to break this cycle. I do not want my children to be abusive husbands," Jennifer admits. "Dr. Phil, I really want to know how much and for how long does a person have to suffer before they have had enough?" she asks.

"The hitting has stopped but the intimidation hasn't stopped. The terrorizing hasn't stopped. The isolating and control hasn't

stopped," Dr. Phil clarifies.


"Right," Jim accepts.


Dr. Phil turns to Jennifer. "This is not OK. You don't have to put up with this not another minute," he tells her. "If you ever lay another hand on her again, I will personally come here and take you to the police station myself and force you to file charges against him and put him in jail," he sternly warns. Dr. Phil makes it clear to Jennifer: "Something has happened here today that you need to understand. From the second I rang that doorbell, you are not alone anymore."


Dr. Phil confronts Jim. "You don't like who you are."


"I don't. I hate it. I hate it with a passion," Jim replies. "I hate that my marriage is the way it is because of my actions. It's driving me crazy. That my wife doesn't love me anymore. All I want to do is be able to show her love in the right way, but I don't even know how right now. I want to get there for her, for my family. I want to be able to show my children that I can change." Jim describes the pain he feels about his marriage. "This is my second marriage, and when we got married, I told myself I would never get another divorce. I did not want to put my children through that," he explains. "This is not the way I wanted my marriage to go, at all."

Dr. Phil made a house call to Jim and Jennifer's home. They appear to be a happy couple, but their relationship is on the rocks, and inside, Jennifer says she's "dying."

"You've said that Preston, your 10-year-old, is your protector?" Dr. Phil questions Jennifer.

"Uh huh," she replies. "That's pretty sad, isn't it?"

"It's really sad for him," Dr. Phil points out.

Dr. Phil asks Jim for his opinion.

"The hurtful things that I've done to Jennifer are wrong," Jim admits.

"But at what point did you decide that you have the right to get this woman behind that closed door and terrorize her?" Dr. Phil asks Jim. "And I want to know what you said to yourself to give yourself permission to do that to her and to your children." Dr. Phil points out that when Jim hits Jennifer, it's the same as hitting and hurting his children because they suffer too.


"I honestly don't know," Jim admits, but makes it very clear that it's been over seven years since he has hit her.

Dr. Phil points out that Jennifer is on her last leg of hope. "Right now you feel like you are doomed to a life of bitterness, hostility, anger and fear?" he asks her.

"If I stay in my marriage, yes," she replies.

Dr. Phil turns to Jim, "Is it too late for you?"

"No, not at all. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make the changes. Whether this works or not, I have to change," Jim says. "Whether it's with Jennifer or not, I still have to do it for myself and my children."

Dr. Phil gives his thoughts on the situation. "If you've made a mistake, it's staying too long," he tells Jennifer. "But you are here now." He suggests that she start changing within herself. "The house you've got to clean first is you own," he tells her.

He proposes why she is so angry. "The reason you embrace [the anger] is because it protects you," he explains. Jennifer is always tense and ready for the fight, but she no longer needs to be this way. "Reinforcements have arrived. If you trust me there, I got your back. Your lives are going to change. So you need to relax," Dr. Phil tells her.

He gives them some advice to get started on making changes. "I

don't want you to make a decision whether you stay married or not," Dr. Phil says. "You have these children. You still have to have a relationship." The first thing that has to happen for the children's sake, is that Jennifer has to start being Jennifer again. "It's hard to even remember who that was," Dr. Phil points out.

Crying, Jennifer agrees, "I don't know."


"We're going to find her. She's going to move back in," Dr. Phil assures her.


He looks to Jim. "And you're going to have to go way back to find Jim, because you quit being who you are," Dr. Phil says. "You've become this kind of insecure bully mentality. And that just comes

from fear, Jim. That's not who you are."

 

Jim agrees.


Once they discover who they really are, that's when they should decide whether or not they want to be married. "Because you're not married to Jim. You're married to a ball of scar tissue," Dr. Phil tells Jennifer. He turns to Jim: "You haven't even really met Jennifer." He tells both of them, "When y'all do, you may fall in love for the first time in your lives."