Dr. Phil's Get Real Retreat, Part 4: Parent Dyads

Parental Legacy

Dr. Phil leads the group through a dyad, where they face their partner. "The next two things we're going to do are probably the most important things you'll do here. I didn't do them until now because you weren't ready until now. You are getting ready to talk about some of the most important relationships in your life. But the first important relationship we're going to talk about is your relationship with your mother. I want you to see your mother's face in your mind's eye, whether you love her or you don't. I want you to see her face. Feel her presence. All eyes open."

Each person takes a turn finishing the sentence, "How I feel about my mother ..."

Jessica R. tells Paige, "I love my mom, but she's very critical about herself for the way she looks. I hate that she doesn't love herself. I hate that she doesn't know she's beautiful and that she's a good person. I don't understand why she doesn't see it. I feel that every time I look at her, and then I feel angry too because she didn't know how to raise me."

Kathleen tells Kelly in a whisper, "I hate my mother, and I can't stand to even call her a mother. I don't need her, I don't love her and I don't miss her at all."

Next, is "What I got from my mother ..."

Kathleen says, "All I got from my mom was rejection, trust issues, abandonment issues."

Jessica R. says, "I got myself into being judgmental about everything about me. I picked it up from her. She was always so critical about herself, and I picked that up."

Next is "What I wanted from my mother I did not get …"

Jessica R. says, "She was just kind of lost, and I needed her to understand what I was going through. I needed her just to be present, just to listen, and especially help with the way I looked. I couldn't do anything, and I ended up being 300 pounds at 15."

"What I resent about my mother …" Dr. Phil encourages. "Go."

Jessica R. says, "I resent that she's so judgmental of her own appearance and the way she looks and the way she perceives herself."

Kathleen says, "I resent that she abandoned us. She didn't care enough about us to stay with us, or to take us with her. She lies about what she did to us. I resent that she's happy."

Then, the group tackles their feelings about their father, or father figure.

Carina tells Don, "I feel angry about my father. Pissed off. He screwed me out of my childhood. I feel like he is a monster. I feel that he is a seething, foaming-at-the-mouth jerk."

Melissa tells Jessica F., "I feel sadness, pain. I feel anger toward him."

Kelly tearfully tells Kathleen, "I'm not mad at him anymore."

"What I got from my father …" Dr. Phil prompts.

Carina says, "I got abused. I got hit. I got pushed. I got choked. I got a broken soul. I got a broken heart. I got zero trust for men."

Kathleen tells Kelly, "I got a bad, mean, drunk dad."

"What did you want from this man you didn't get?" Dr. Phil asks the group.

Carina says, "I needed him to not be so scary, be somebody who I could approach."

"I needed him to believe me when I was molested as a child," Kathleen says. "And I needed him to protect me. He never did."

"What I gave my father. You were in this relationship. What did you give him?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I gave my father a hard time," Carina says.

Kathleen says, "I gave him freedom. Freedom for whatever he wanted. He didn't have any responsibility of any of the kids. He could go to his beer joints or do whatever he wanted to do."

"What I resent about my father …" Dr. Phil says. "Leave it here, leave it now. We will not come this way again."

"I resent that he chose to murder those women. I resent that he would tell me about trying to make suicide attempts," Melissa says.

Kathleen says, "I resented the fact that because of his alcoholism and his anger, he couldn't keep a woman. So I had to do everything. I had to keep the house, take care of the kids, go to school, do the shopping, do the laundry."

Carina says tearfully, "I resent the bruises that he left. I resent all the broken bones and everything in the house torn apart."

Kelly tells her partner, "I resent him for just leaving me his dirty laundry for me to deal with, just unloading his crap and his stupid mistake. I resent him for leaving all of that to me to deal with. I resent him for just not having the balls to be a man."

Dr. Phil tells the group to close their eyes. "I'm going to give you 30 seconds. I want you to say what you would want your father to know if he had 30 seconds left in this world," he says.

Melissa says, "Even though you've done horrible things, I love you as a person, and I'm sorry for the life you chose for yourself. I wish you would've chosen better."

Kathleen says, "That he never loved us. And I'm sorry that I failed him."

Carina cries. "I tried. I tried to be there with you. I want you to know that you hurt me."

Kelly says, "I want him to know that no matter what he did, I would've still loved him anyway."

Kelly's emotions get the best of her and she has a panic attack. Dr. Phil calms her down.

Later, Kelly says, "I just remember somebody coming up behind me. I didn't even know who it was for awhile. It's kind of weird. It's like an out-of-body experience. I remember doing that at the funeral and maybe there's a connection. I don't know."