"If I don't get my anger under control, I could seriously hurt one of the kids," said Michelle, when she last appeared
on the show. She worried that her two daughters would be taken from her because she couldn't control her violent temper.
Backstage in the greenroom after the show, Michelle reflects on the
advice she received. "The look on Dr. Phil's face, I feel like he was disgusted with me," she says. "There were times when I wanted to just go off on Dr. Phil, but I was scared to do that because I need his help. Every piece that had my daughters in it was hard. It was hard to hear them speak. I have a different outlook on the way I'm going to treat my kids now," she says.
Michelle's husband, Jamey, says she got a much needed wake-up call. "She definitely didn't win a popularity contest," he says. "Dr. Phil made me realize today that maybe I should have taken the children before this. If there is the same situation as we saw in the film, there is no doubt in my mind, the children will be gone."
The thought of having her children removed from the house makes Michelle sob. "I'm nervous about that," she says, through tears. " I don't want to lose them."
In the two months since she sought Dr. Phil's help, Michelle says that she has become more patient, but is still easily irritated. Watching a tape of herself on the show, she observes, "It really was a cold-hearted person up there. Nasty. Miserable. A bully. And I don't like it."
Jamey agrees with her assessment. "She didn't realize she was such a bitch," he says, but acknowledges that he needs to step up more. "The piece of advice that Dr. Phil gave me that hit home was when he said, 'Your family is on fire. And you, my friend, must be the fireman.'"
When Dr. Phil told Michelle that she was addicted to anger, she calls that an eye-opener. "I never thought twice about it being a medical problem. I just thought it was me being an angry mom," she says.
She admits to being shocked by some of the messages people posted to the DrPhil.com Message Boards criticizing her parenting. "That's totally chickens**t. Confront somebody face to face. Don't do it on a Web site," she says.
Acknowledging that she still has work to do, Michelle feels optimistic about her future. "My relationship has improved with my daughters. I show more attention, more affection. Every time I go to yell at my kids, I think about that angry person on TV, and I don't want to be that person," she reveals.
Although Michelle now curbs her anger toward her daughters, she admits that her relationship with Jamey hasn't improved. "I hope that there's love there, but why do all the pointing and the blaming? If I'm that bad, why is he still around?" she wonders. "I'm hopeful about my future, but I have a long road ahead."
Jamey agrees that there is still work to be done. "It's still pretty rough at times," he says. "I can still see the old Michelle in there. I'll most definitely intervene if Michelle gets too tough with the girls."
Michelle wants the changes in her life to be more than superficial. "I smile more around my kids, but deep down inside, I'm still hurting," she confesses.
"She feels like she's pretending at this point," Jamey adds. "One of her biggest statements to me was, 'I know that I'm doing better, but I don't feel like this is me.'"
Michelle worries that she could still unleash her wrath on her family. "I feel like the raging lunatic is inside me, and it could come out at any given moment," she says.