Family Drama

Playing Favorites?

"Tyler is the favorite one over me and my sister," says Amy during a taped segment.

"I'm jealous of my dad and Tyler's relationship," Ashley adds.

Loretta explains why she believes the twins resent their father. "Devin doesn't spend much time with the girls at all. He treats Amy and Ashley like they're stepchildren," she says.

 
"I don't favor my son," Devin says.


"My dad takes Tyler to do everything he does. He pays for him to get anything he wants. He doesn't get in trouble because he's a boy," Ashley says.

"Tyler is his unconditional love right now," Loretta says. "He didn't even really want him to go to preschool. He didn't want him to leave the house. He's his everything."

Devin says he feels caught in the middle. "I see Tyler as a young, innocent individual, whereas my daughters allowed their anger to build up to where they distanced themselves from me," he says.

When the videotape ends, Dr. Phil turns to Loretta. "You said you are desperate that this family needs a miracle or it's going to fall apart," he notes.

"It's already fallen apart. I just decided a couple days before I wrote my last letter saying, ‘I'm out. I have to take care of myself.' My health is not good," Loretta replies. "I can't take care of me when I'm trying to take care of everybody else."

"I've been asking you to work on your health for a long time, Loretta," Devin interjects. "Those issues have been longstanding for many years, as well as with the children. These are not things that have just cropped up recently. We've even gone to counseling, and you quit going to counseling because [the twins] didn't want to go anymore."

"You don't try to help her; you criticize her," Ashley tells her father. "You say hateful stuff."

Devin defends his behavior. "We eat, and then an hour later, you're eating chips and dips, and I say, ‘Loretta, that's not something you should eat because of your health issues,'" he explains.

"This is what I say to him all the time: 'It's not what you say; it's how you say it,'" Loretta tells Dr. Phil.

"I just say, ‘Loretta, you're eating chips and dips. Should you not eat something healthier? You're having heart problems.' Since we've been out here, we couldn't go sightseeing because she had chest pains," Devin says.

Dr. Phil turns to Amy and Ashley. "You've used the word hate with regard to your father," he observes. "Do you really hate this man?"

"Depends on the day," Ashley says with a shrug.

"I don't hate my father. If I have said I hate my father, it was out of anger. I have an anger problem; I will admit that. I have a hard time communicating with my husband, and we just got married. Already, I have a hard time communicating with him because of what I've grown up with," Amy replies. Then she has a question of her own. "Do you expect your son to love you if you would have gotten into a physical fight with him, if you would have choked him, or slammed him against the wall or thrown him down on the ground?"

"I never choked you. I grabbed you by your shirt and took you into the room," Devin says.

Ashley chimes in, "I wouldn't say that I hate my dad. I would say that I hate the way my dad treats me."

Dr. Phil can't believe his ears. "The stuff you are fighting about, the stuff you are jockeying for position and trying to be right about, is embarrassingly trivial," he admonishes the family. "I would be embarrassed to talk about it if it wasn't for the pain that's behind all of this."

"I have asked specific things of him. I've heard you say, over and over through the years, ‘Tell him exactly what you need from him.' I have. I've asked him to say one nice thing to us each day," Loretta tells Dr. Phil. "I've asked him to do Relationship Rescue, which is sitting on my nightstand and has been there since '06, and asked him several times in between if he would do that with me. He just turns everything around to look like it's all on me."

Dr. Phil takes Devin to task for getting physical with Amy. "There is no justification for you laying your hands on your daughter in anger. You are the father. You have to rise above it," he says sternly.

He turns to Amy. "You've got a huge chip on your shoulder," Dr. Phil says. "You can't come in just wanting to fight everybody every minute."

"She's looking for a fight always," Devin says.

"They're mad," Loretta adds.

"Yes, and I understand why they're mad, because their parents aren't parenting. Their parents have become part of the kids," Dr. Phil admonishes.