First Wives Club: Chair Exercise

First Wives Club: Chair Exercise


In a powerful exercise, Dr. Phil asks all the women to kneel down in front of their chairs and rest their heads with their eyes closed.


"I want you to go inside yourself, and I want you to think about all of the pain that you have been through at the hands of this man whom you called your husband. I want you to think back to the most humiliating moments. I want you to think back at the times that you've begged. I

want you to think back at the times that you blamed yourself for his bad acts. I want you to think of all the times that you sat there, scared and alone. 'Am I going to have enough money?' 'Am I going to be able to feed the children?' I want you to think about him getting in bed with you, smelling of her perfume. I want you to think about him talking about you as a stray dog on a farm that people like to kick. I want you to think about that pain. And in just a moment, when I say go, I want you to raise your head up and beat the
seat in this chair, and I want you to say, 'Damn you, you hurt me! It wasn't my fault.' And I want you to beat that chair, and I want you to beat it hard, until I tell you to stop. Ready? Go!"


The women vent their frustrations and pain by beating the chairs, yelling and cursing as if they were confronting their ex-husbands. Dr. Phil coaches them through it, getting it all out.


"Stop. Lay your head down in your chair. Close your eyes, and just be with yourself for just a moment," he tells them.

Dr. Phil takes a moment with each of the women, asking them what they're feeling.

"This wasn't my fault," Holly cries. "And, anything he did was because of him, not because of me. And I'm smarter than him. I'm smarter than he ever thought I'd be, and I can get through this."

"I didn't deserve this. I'm a better person. I love myself, and I should've had better. I need better. I will have better," says Heidi.

"I allowed him to do this to me, feeling I'm worthless, and I'm not. I'm a person. I don't deserve this. And I hate him. I hate him, and I want him out of my life," says Donna.

"It was not my fault, what happened to me," says Pam. "I can't take responsibility anymore for his actions. My life isn't over. It's not over at all. I have to stop beating myself and be a better person."


The women, emotionally exhausted, return to their chairs. They share why this exercise was helpful.

"I needed to forgive myself. I needed to stop blaming myself," says Pam.

"It made me realize that I am worthy," says Heidi. "I am a worthy person."

"I need to realize that I wasn't the one who allowed it to happen. And I don't need him," says Donna.

"It felt really good to get a lot of that out, because I couldn't ever do that with him," says Holly, crying.

"I think you need some time to think," Dr. Phil tells the women. "I strongly suspect that tomorrow is going to make the short list of the most important days in your life. Come prepared to be real. Come prepared to be honest with yourself, and with each other."


The women get a night of relaxation with some lovely gifts, courtesy of Red Envelope.