Family Chaos: Lauren's Dilemma

Family Chaos: Lauren's Dilemma

Video cameras captured a serious parenting dilemma unfolding at Mike and Bridgette's house. Their 20-year-old daughter, Lauren, had an argument with her live-in boyfriend, Nathan. He came to Mike and Bridgette for help.

"You probably need someone normal, and I'm so sorry that Lauren is a wacko," Mike tells Nathan.

Bridgette agrees. "Lauren is totally out of control. She's fighting her boyfriend and threatening to call the cops on him. She ripped his shirt!"

On the drive over to Lauren and Nathan's apartment, Bridgette says, "I don't want to be around all their problems."

"Toxic, they're toxic," Mike mutters. "She's such a f***ing basket case, godd***it. I don't know where she picked that s**t up from."

Bridgette and Mike stand outside of Lauren's apartment and try to de-escalate the situation. In frustration, Lauren says, "He keeps me in the dark about everything. He lies to me constantly."

Mike chimes in, "To make a relationship work, it's give and take."

One hour later, Mike and Bridgette head home. "I think we had a positive impact," Mike says. 

Bridgette isn't so sure. "This is the stuff that sets me back totally. We're just getting home at 1:25 in the morning. I can't even get better because of stuff like this," she complains. 

"You can't possibly watch that and not see that this is a perfect reflection of your marriage and your family. Is that not like looking in the mirror?" Dr. Phil asks. 

"I guess I do," Bridgette says. 

Turning to Mike, Dr. Phil says, "You're driving there and you say, 'Where does she get this?' It's a puzzle to me!" Dr. Phil quips.

Bridgette argues, "They have so many problems, and they bring it to us and we have to deal with it."

"They got them [at home], left with them and they bring them back," Dr. Phil corrects.

Bridgette's children aren't in the studio, but they wanted to set a few issues straight.

"My mom won't admit it, but she's taken us to porn shops before," Lauren maintains. "I think she's a drama queen."

David agrees. "When we got back, my mom still denied it. She's like, 'Why the f**k did you guys put that on the show? You f***ing embarrassed me.' I still stand by the pornography," he says. "When I was on the show, I wasn't there for attention. I was there to speak the truth."

David is saddened by the division in his household. "This family's a separate unit. My mom even told us, 'This show is not about you guys. I don't know why you guys are on the show. This show is about me and Mike.' It's all about my mom and dad, because they don't give a s**t about us," he says.

Lauren makes a startling revelation. "From watching my mom cut herself, I use a razor to cut myself. I never used to do that," she says.

David and Lauren are both on food stamps, but David says he's getting his life together. "Right now, I'm proud of myself for getting an apartment and getting a good job. I still think my mom and dad treat me like s**t, like I don't exist to them."

"What's your response to that?" Dr. Phil asks Bridgette.

She shakes her head, perplexed. "That's David. He's a liar and I'm going to stick by my story. It saddens me, but there's nothing I can do," she says. 

Dr. Phil tells the couple they're heading down a dangerous road. "I said there was one thing that predicts with great power whether you're going to end up with a divorce or not," he warns. "It's not whether you fight or not. It's how you end the fight. If the fight ends with you staying on issues, staying on topics, if you win the argument and you allow your partner to retreat with dignity, then both of you can recover and you can move on. But when it deteriorates to character assassination, name calling, humiliation, demeaning, anybody with any kind of backbone, anybody with any kind of spine at all, is eventually going to say, 'I would rather be happy alone than sick with you.'"

Bridgette acknowledges that her rage toward Mike is misdirected. "I don't even mean that. All this anger I have is about me," she says. "This is my s**t, and I have to deal with it."

Dr. Phil wonders if the couple can even imagine living without turmoil. "Can you even, just for a few minutes, think about waking up in the morning and not having to open the book of pain and read from it?" he asks. "This is insanity! You're constantly worrying about money and bankruptcy. You're living in a big house. You're driving a Mercedes. You're funding these kids. You're shopping. I'll tell you what: I would rather be happy and peaceful in a tent, than I would be miserable in a five-bedroom house stuck out in the suburbs with a couple of shiny cars in the driveway."


He turns to their therapist, Dr. Cristy Lopez. "You think they're making progress?" he inquires. 

"Yes, they both have tremendously improved," Dr. Lopez divulges, "but as you said, there are a lot of things that have happened in the past — a lot of hurts, a lot of problems. It took a while to get that way, it takes time and effort for it to keep going in the right direction."