Invasive In-laws: Matt, Judi and Shay

Invasive In-laws: Matt, Judi and Shay
Dr. Phil talks to a woman who fears that her husband's parents are trying to break up her marriage.
"My brother-in-law's behavior toward me is ruining my relationship with my sister," says Judi. "Matt is rude, condescending, belligerent. He's impossible to be in the room with."

Matt acknowledges that he can be mean to Judi, but says, "If Judi's rude to me, I give it right back."

Judi says that Matt is starting to get violent. "There was a time that I was at my sister's house and Matt cornered me in the hallway and said, 'If you come into my house without knocking again, I will blow your F-ing head off,'" she reports. "He was right in my face. He was making an effort for my husband not to hear him."

Judi and her sister, Shay, are both pregnant, so Judi relocated to be closer to her. She says that Matt gets irritated by how many times she talks to her sister on the phone or visits. She also feels that Shay is not keeping her husband in line. "I'm starting to be more and more angry with her. I feel like she should say something," Judi says.

Shay feels caught in a tug-of-war between her husband and sister. "It kills me that I'm stuck in the middle of the two people I love the most," she reveals.Addressing Matt, Dr. Phil says, "We invited you to come and be part of this. Why did you agree to do it?"

"Because I want to have a good relationship with her. I already hear stuff through my wife, and I figured if I offended her in any way, she wouldn't have a problem coming to me and just saying, 'Matt, you said something to me that kind of offends me,'" he explains.

Dr. Phil is skeptical. "You're saying, 'Gee, I just need her to tell me if she's upset, if I've offended her in some way.'" He reiterates Matt's comment to Judi: "'If you put your hand on my doorknob again, I will blow your F-ing head off.' Do you really need somebody to tell you that that just doesn't fit in their ear real well?"

Matt defends himself: "That's the way she took it. That's her perception of what I said."

Judi clarifies. "It was so confrontational that I felt the need to say, 'You need to back off and stop threatening me with your gun,'" she says.

Turning to Judi's sister, Shay, in the audience, Dr. Phil asks, "Is that true?"

"I'm not saying he didn't say it. I'm saying, I can't see him using those words like that," Shay replies.
When Dr. Phil asks if Matt likes Judi, he replies, "I love her. She's my sister-in-law. I want to have a decent relationship with her."

"Does she do things to irritate you?"

"She does!" Matt exclaims.

"What does she do to irritate you?"

Matt explains, "It can be something small: 'What are you looking at?' 'Well, nothing.'"

"Are you sure y'all aren't married?" Dr. Phil teases. Turning to Judi, he asks, "What do you do that inflames this situation or contributes to this situation? Do you have any ownership in it at all and if so, what is it?"

Judi explains that she may call her sister too much. "I think that's an irritant to him when I call," she admits.

Matt agrees that the frequency of Judi's calls can be annoying. "When I work 13 hours a day, my wife works all day, we have three hours between the time that I get home and we go to bed, it does."Matt also feels that Judi butts into his personal life too much. "There are times that she gives opinions about our decisions that we make in our life that I feel she could say maybe different ways or not give it all," he says.

Judi explains her actions. "He said he didn't vote because he didn't know the issues, and I said, 'Ignorance is not an excuse not to vote.' I was trying to be encouraging, not attacking him. But he was offended and I didn't realize that."

"But you're not his mother," Dr. Phil stresses. "If he doesn't want to vote, that's none of your business."

Dr. Phil digs a little further, asking about how Matt felt when he and Shay separated for awhile. During that time, her mom and Judi came in and took everything. "Did you ever get over that?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No, I don't think I have completely," he admits. "I've always wanted some kind of closure on why they would take everything."
Dr. Phil explains that one of the biggest mistakes couples make is involving their families in their marital problems. "Sometimes, you can burn some bridges that it's hard to patch later," he warns. Addressing Judi, Dr. Phil says that she needs to respect the couple's space. "What he's saying is since you girls visit so much and go back and forth, is it possible to get caught up on that as much as possible when it doesn't impact the family situation? Is that an unreasonable request?"

Judi and Shay say that it isn't.

Matt takes his wife to task. "It seemed like it was when I brought it up to her the other day: 'You want to manage when I see my sister and my family?'" he says.
Dr. Phil advises Matt and Judi to stop involving Shay in their conflicts. "Let's reduce the rhetoric, and you two talk directly and take Sis out of the middle."

Dr. Phil tell Judi if Matt says anything to hurt her feelings, she should not be so combative. "You need to say, 'Why don't you say that a different way because that hurt my feelings?'" Matt should respond, "'OK let me take a breath here and see if I can say this another way.'"

"And will she consider that she could have possibly said something to make me react like that?" Matt presses. "Because she's never taken ownership for anything."

"Why are you asking me? She's right here. We just agreed y'all were going to do this directly," Dr. Phil reminds him.
When Matt tries to explain another issue he has with Judi, Dr. Phil directs him to ask his question to Judi. "You never apologized for going through Shay for five years when you've ever had a problem. Your sister has cried about that," he says.

Judi starts to explains, "I felt like confronting you or lashing out at you would make things worse."

Dr. Phil interjects, "But did you hear what he just said? He said, 'I have a need to hear you own this and apologize some as well.' He just stated a need, which for a guy, is a pretty good statement of a need. It just went right over your head and you started taking his inventory again. So what I'm saying is listen and you guys talk directly."