Explosive Anger: Melinda

Explosive Anger: Melinda

"My 17-year-old daughter, Melinda, can go from being the sweetest, most loving person i

n the world, to just boom. It's over. She explodes," says Traci. "Melinda has kicked a hole in the wall, destroyed picture frames, dishes. I don't have any glass in the house anymore. I got rid of it all, replaced it with plastic."


"Melinda's anger goes on and off like a switch," says Amanda, Melinda's 18-year-old sister. "It's like walking on eggshells."


"Nobody would believe that I am a monster with my anger. I'm always so happy, smiling," says Melinda, but when she gets upset, her ugly side comes out. "When I explode, it's like shaking a pop until the cap blows off. I feel like somebody is pushing me and pushing me until I blow up." She often grabs the closest object and throws it at whomever she is mad at. "It's like there's somebody else inside of my body. I get a really bad headache. I can feel my head pounding. My muscles tense up."


Traci says that when her daughter grows so infuriated, she looks like she's possessed and going to explode. "She swears at me relentlessly. ‘You're nothing but a f***ing bitch. I'll kill you,'" she says. "When I'm a

round Melinda, I am extremely careful of what I say."


Though Melinda screams, yells and cusses at her mom and sister, she wants to have a good relationship with them. "My relationship with my sister, Amanda, is I love her to death. She's one of my best friends, but sometimes I feel like I want to hurt her," Melinda admits. She can be talking and laughing with her sister one second, and then a few seconds later, she hates her. She has even chased Amanda through the house with a baseball bat. "I told her a couple of times that I wanted to kill her." Another time, Melinda picked up a knife and slammed it on the counter yelling, "I could just cut her throat."

Traci is concerned for both of her daughters. "My daughter, Amanda, is pregnant. I'm worried that the stress in the house is going to cause her to lose this baby. I am afraid that Melinda may hit her," she reveals. "Melinda's anger is definitely tearin

g this family apart. I love my daughter, but I just can't live like this anymore. My husband and I live in separate homes at the moment because he refuses to live with Melinda." Traci turns to Dr. Phil for help. "Melinda gets angrier and angrier every day. If we don't find out what's wrong and get this under control, someone is going to get hurt."


As the videotape ends, Dr. Phil asks Melinda, "What do you think about watching yourself?"

"I didn't know it was that bad," she says, wiping a tear from her cheek. "It's not me. I'm not a mean person."


"At what point did you give yourself permission to say and do the things that you do?" Dr. Phil asks.


"I don't think about it. It's out of anger. I don't even know what I say," Melinda replies.

Dr. Phil points out that his previous guest, Bob, uses the strategy of, "Get them before they get me." "What's yours?" he asks Melinda.

"To try to get it all out any way I can," she says.

"What does it do to y'all when she goes from [sweet and fun] to just attacking you viciously?" Dr. Phil asks Traci and Amanda.

"She scares me," Traci says.

"You never know when she's going to go off, what will set her off," Amanda adds. She says that she becomes upset when Melinda screams
and yells at her. "She blames a lot of it on me, so I kind of question myself," she explains.

"I want to be sure that we understand, and that you understand, the gravity of what we're talking about here," Dr. Phil says to Melinda. "You've threatened to kill your stepfather. You got fired, [and] you threatened to take your boss out over the counter." He lists Melinda's violent history, including
telling her mother that she wanted to take a knife to her sister and chop her up. "What do you say about that?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I really don't know what to say about it," Melinda says. "I don't want it to be this way."

"Do you think you're entitled to this behavior?" he asks.

"No. Nobody deserves to be treated like this," she says.

"Do you resent [Amanda]?" Dr. Phil probes.

"Yes," Melinda says. "I've had to grow up competing with her my whole life."

"You said that there's a song that really describes your feelings about Amanda," Dr. Phil says. He reads the lyrics. "'She's the prom queen; I'm in the marching band. She's a cheerleader; I'm sitting in the stands. She gets the top bunk; I'm sleeping on the floor. She's Miss America, and I'm just the girl next door,'" he says. "Do you have that bad of an opinion of yourself?" 

"Yes, I always have," Melinda admits.

Dr. Phil describes a technique people use called leveling. "It's when they see themselves below somebody else," he explains, "they have to do something to try to level that out." Some people do it by developing an enormous ego and inflating themselves, while others do it by trying to tear the other person down to their level. "I see you struggling for a place," he tells her. "What you fear the most, which is being rejected, being hurt, being put aside, being forgotten, is exactly what you're doing, because you're driving everybody away from you."

Melinda nods.

"What if, like Bob, you learned that there are other ways to respond?" Dr. Phil asks. He points out that Bob is 14 years older than Melinda, has been to prison, has been fired from jobs and has alienated friends and family because of his anger. "Look at him. Don't look away," Dr. Phil tells her. "Do you want to be sitting here in 14 years, having been to prison [and] gone through what he's gone through?"

"No," Melinda says.

"Talk to her, Bob," Dr. Phil says. "Save her 14 years."

"Get help if it's available. I wish I would have had it, you know, 20 years ago whenever everything started

happening, and my life started going a different way," Bob says to Melinda. He notes that he wishes he recognized his problem many years ago and listened to the people who were trying to help him.

"You're at a crossroads right now," Dr. Phil tells Melinda. "You can either say, ‘I need to simply require more of myself. This is not OK. I don't have the right to do this. I'm not entitled to do this. And if I'm testing these people to see if they'll love me no matter what, the answer is no.' They'll love you from a distance, but there is a point at which they'll say, ‘I'm not going to put up with this anymore.'" Melinda has to be willing to look inside herself and find out why she's so angry. He asks her how long it's been since she cut herself.

"Last May, June," she says.

"Why did you do that?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Because it was a way to get my mind off other things," Melinda says.

"Isn't this the same thing?" Dr. Phil asks.

Melinda nods.

"At some point, you've just got to stop and say, ‘I've got to deal with me. I've got to deal with what's going on,'" Dr. Phil tells her, noting that she may have some chemical imbalances as well.

Dr. Lawlis offers to work with Melinda. "We know that hormonally " and maybe even thyroid issues " may be at the base of some of the release and explosions," he says.

"Would you like to find out what's really going on with you?" Dr. Phil asks Melinda.

"Yes," she says.

Dr. Phil tells her that she can get her body image and self-image where she wants it to be, if she does the work. "You've got to resolve, ‘I'm going to stop this. I'm going to do whatever it takes to do it,' and you need to make that pledge to these two women right now," he says. "You need to look at your mother and look at your sister, and you need to tell them the absolute truth."

Melinda turns to her mother and sister and tearfully says, "I love you guys. I really do."

"We love you too, but we can't do it anymore," Traci says.

"I do want to do anything I can do, because I can't be like this anymore," Melinda continues.

Traci and Amanda agree to support Melinda through her process to change.