Is This Normal?: Sean and Linda

Trashy Behavior
Dr. Phil talks to a 17-year-old who wants to know if it's normal for his mother to dig through his trash.

Sean, 17, wants to know if it's normal for his mother Linda to look through his trash.

"Sometimes when I come home, I find out my mom has gone through my room and garbage," says Sean. "It really makes me mad. I'm old enough to do what I want and don't think this is normal."

Linda admits to searching her son's trash in order to piece together his activities and defends her actions by saying, "I feel like I need to. Sometimes I find things he shouldn't throw away. On one of my searches I found out he was in a fender bender and never intended to tell me about it.
Until he's 18, he's mine. He belongs to me."

"Does the word 'boundary' mean anything to you?" Dr. Phil asks Linda.

"He lives in my house," she responds. "I do it out of love."

Dr. Phil asks Sean, "Do you feel love when she's going through your trash?"

"Not at all," says Sean.

"Relationships are mutually defined," explains Dr. Phil. "Sean, if you were more forthcoming, she wouldn't look through your garbage. And Linda, if you didn't give him the third degree, he could be more forthcoming.
Give your son some credit for being a good kid. Sean, give your mom more credit for feeling like she's responsible for what you do. You are under her roof....People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing."