Family Grudges

Family Grudges
Dr. Phil talks to a woman who wants to end her 29-year grudge against her mother, and a man who hopes his sister will end her 5-year grudge against his fiance.
Barbara and Crystal

"My mother and I have not spoken in about two years," explains Crystal. "My mom had me when she was 17. When I was 6 months old, I went to live with my grandmother, Mae. I'm angry toward my mother for betraying me. Growing up in my grandparent's home was tough. It was an abusive environment ... My grandfather was a major alcoholic ... I have a grudge against my mother and there are times that I hate her ... Dr. Phil, I want to be able to forgive my mother. But how can I forgive someone who doesn't seem to be sorry for abandoning me?"

"I was 17-years old," says Crystal's mom, Barbara. "I couldn't take care of myself and I couldn't take care of a child ... My father basically told me that if I tried to take Crystal, he would take me to court. I've tried to have a relationship with my daughter, but every time we get close, she backs away and shuts down. Crystal has told me she hates me and that she always has."
When Dr. Phil asks Crystal and Barbara why they have agreed to come on the show, they both say they hope to find some

Dr. Phil asks Barbara, "Do you think it's valid that [Crystal] would have concerns and feel funny toward a woman who
mothered her and then left her?"

"Absolutely," says Barbara. "That's totally valid ... but she won't talk. Every time I try to communicate with her and it's something she doesn't want to hear, [she says], 'See ya! I don't want to talk about it.'"

"Do you guys notice that you're blaming each other the entire time?" asks Dr. Phil. "You [Crystal] are saying, 'She did all these bad things to me. The reason we don't get along is because she created this horrible history for me. She dumped me and left me with my grandmother.' And you [Barbara] are saying, 'Don't look at me. My daughter won't talk to me. She shuts me off.'"
Crystal says the reason for her biggest current grudge against her mother occurred two years ago, when she was separated
from her husband Mitch (pictured left) and staying with her mom. Crystal admits that she began seeing another man, but claims that her mother began relaying details of her activities to her husband. Barbara denies telling Crystal's husband that she was having an affair.

Crystal is back together with her husband but has instated a rule: Mitch is not allowed to talk to her mother.

Crystal's grandmother Mae (also pictured left), who is in remission from leukemia, says, "It's terrible my family is fighting all the time. This grudge has gone on too long ... I'd very much like to leave this world knowing that my children are good friends and that they
love each other."
"You are so focused on being right and defending yourselves, you're letting your relationship go straight down the tubes," says Dr. Phil. "There comes a time when you have to stop blaming and judging each other. You have to ask yourself, 'What can I do today to make this relationship better?'

"You have the ability to forgive," says Dr. Phil. "I'm not going to tell you that you need to be vulnerable and open your hearts to each other because neither one of you has demonstrated the worthiness to have the vulnerability of the other person. How much you trust the other is a function of how much you trust yourself to be able to handle what she might do.

"Hatred, bitterness, anger and resentment are pervasive," says Dr. Phil. "It's a stench that permeates every relationship you have. It affects every area of your life because it makes you draw back and not be who you really are ... Two things I want you to hold on to are: number one, trust is up to you; and number two, forgiveness is up to you."
Dr. Phil tells Crystal and Barbara that he wants them to begin talking for an hour a week for the next month, and they are not allowed to discuss anything that has happened previously. "Start talking about things that don't matter," says Dr. Phil. "Because if you can't talk about things that don't matter, you'll never be able to talk about things that do."

Backstage, Barbara, Crystal and Mae react to the advice:

"When he says to talk about nothing, I think it's going to be difficult," says Barbara. "We used to chitchat but a lot has happened since then."

"I know I'm going to be the one making that call," says Crystal. "I want her to be my best friend and my mother. I just wish she would, like, love me."

When Grandma Mae tells Barbara that Crystal is crying and hurt, Barbara asks, "What does that have to do with anything? She's hurting? She's caused a lot of hurt."

"Dr. Phil told me to make sure they call each other," says Mae. "And I will!"

Tina and Bob

Bob says his sister, Tina, has been holding a grudge against his fiancée Kimberly for five years — ever since she found
out that Kimberly cheated on him. Kimberly and Bob say they have moved past the issue in their relationship, but Bob and Tina haven't spoken in almost a year.

"It's breaking my heart," says Bob, who explains that he and his sister were very close growing up. "When I was 11, my parents divorced and my sister took on the mother role for me."

"I raised my little brother," says Tina. "I protected him from bullies at school. The fact that [Kimberly], who said she loved him but was hurting him, really angered me. My brother is a completely different person now that he's with her ... I thought that my brother and I would be there [for each other] at the biggest times of our lives."

"About a year ago, I called my sister and told her that she could no longer call my house until she accepted my relationship with Kimberly," explains Bob. "She became very upset and hung up on me. We haven't spoken since. She also told me I could no longer have a relationship with my niece, Caryssa. We've had to exclude her from our wedding. Dr. Phil, I desperately want a relationship with my sister. I feel that nothing can be worked out until Tina can work out her grudge with my fiancée."

"Are you ready to see your sister face to face?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Absolutely," says Bob.

Tina walks out onto the stage and sits down.

"How does it feel to sit next to your brother?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Nervous and sad," says Tina, before breaking down and sobbing, "I miss him."
"What has been so important, so monumental that the two of you were willing to take this lifelong, critical, pivotal
relationship and just rip it out of your lives and throw it away?" asks Dr. Phil.

Tina says that Bob and Kimberly chose to sever ties with her, while Bob insists it was Tina who did so.

"Is everybody a victim?" asks Dr. Phil. "There has got to be some ownership here between you two."

Addressing Tina, Dr. Phil says, "This is about the fact that [Bob] is absolutely the light of your life. You love him, feel protective of him, you feel a motherly relationship with him, and you feel like she hurt him by doing what she did. Isn't that what this is all about?"

"My brother came to me and was devastated and was crying on my shoulder," says Tina. "I saw the devastation. Yes, it really does hurt when somebody who says they love him was loving on somebody else."
Turning to Kimberly, Dr. Phil says, "You have a very forceful personality." The audience applauds in agreement. "Two or three times, you've kind of gotten up on your hind legs and told [Tina], 'Here's what we're going to do. We're going to resolve this right now' ... I see the hair standing up on [Tina's] arms every time you do that. So you have to ask yourself, 'Is this working for me?'

"And you are in huge denial about what is going on here," Dr. Phil tells Tina. "I think you are very connected to your brother ... Sometimes when you're in the parent role you think that nobody is going to be good enough for Prince Bob here ... And it's OK to have those feelings inside. But you're punishing Bob. Bob has decided that she is good enough. Can you find a way to say you're going to be happy for your brother? Part of it is, she's become the woman in his life, and it was you. Maybe you're grieving that."

"Maybe," admits Tina.
Dr. Phil tells Tina and Kimberly that they don't have to like each other. "Sometimes, we have to put our own personal agendas aside for the good of the group."

Dr. Phil advises Kimberly, "You need to realize that [Tina] was here a long time before you. She's got a long history. You don't want to be bossy with her because that isn't going to work."

Turning to Bob, Dr. Phil says, "You need to relax and not feel like you are being disloyal to Kimberly if you are being loyal to your sister ... You have a romantic love with Kimberly and a family love with Tina. Neither is at the other's expense ... You need to relax and stop spitting out these ultimatums because you feel like it's the thing to do to show your commitment to Kimberly. And if she's asking you to do that, that's an unfair request."

Addressing both women, Dr. Phil says, "Out of respect for Bob, the two of you need to work this out ... You need to talk this through and take him out of the middle because he feels like a tug-of-war rope."