Know it All In-Laws: Charlene, John and Chrissy

Know it All In-Laws: Charlene, John and Chrissy

"Johnny and Chrissy have a very dysfunctional relationship. If it were just Johnny, I would

say, ‘John, cut your losses and get the hell out,' but when you've got a child involved, you have got to work it out somehow," says Charlene, whose son, John, has been engaged to Chrissy for a year and a half. "I try not to get involved, however, the majority of the time Chrissy will call here saying, ‘You want to know what your son's doing?' Generally, the first comment that I would make to them both is that both of you need to grow up."


John and Chrissy often engage in screaming matches where they curse and become violent in front of their 8-month-old son. "The majority of our fights are misunderstandings.

Instead of just disagreements, it turns into a verbal and physical fight, a blowout," John shares. "We have gotten in fistfights. She has smacked me. I have smacked her back."


Chrissy agrees that they can never disagree in a civil manner. "Our arguing or fighting has gone over the limit," she says. "He has grabbed me and put me up against the wall, pushed me a little too hard, and I fall, and smacking me."


Charlene has strong words for her son and future daughter-in-law. "You can't fight in front of this child. You cannot bad mouth one another in front of this child," she says, tears welling up in her eyes. "You two have got to get help. Whether you stay together or not, you have to get help for Ethan's sake."


"How are you putting up with this?" Dr. Phil asks Charlene.


"It's affecting my health. My blood pressure is going through the roof," she says.

Dr. Phil asks John, "You're as involved in this as [Chrissy] is, right?"


"A small percentage of it, yes, I am," John says.


"A small percentage of it?" a surprised Dr. Phil asks. "Do you call her bitch? Slut? Whore? The C-word? All in front of your child?"


"Yes, I have," John admits.


Chrissy describes a fight she had with John while he was driving, that ended up with him biting her finger and her smacking him in the mouth. "I told him that I wanted things to end since we can't communicate. I'm drawing a line, and I want him out until we can make things better," she recalls. "He got upset with me, and we got into an argument."


"It's not really a small percentage, is it?" Dr. Phil asks John. "You're allowing it to escalate, just like she is. The two of you are out of control."

John defends himself, saying he only reacts to Chrissy's behavior.


"You can't change what you don't acknowledge," Dr. Phil reminds him. "I'm getting you to acknowledge that you're a participant in this."

"I agree," John says.

"If you brought her in here to get her fixed, it's not her problem. This is y'all's problem," Dr. Phil tells him. Turning to Chrissy he says, "You are out of control. What are you thinking, doing the things that you're doing? You're in the car saying, ‘Daddy's going to go out and F some whores.'"

Chrissy explains that she told John to find a job. "I go to work, and I was explaining to him that it has to be 50/50, or I'm out," she says.

"I can't even say, there's no way they can even bleep the names that you call him," Dr. Phil says.

"I've called him several names," Chrissy admits.

Charlene and John claim Chrissy has an anger problem, so John videotapes some of the arguments he has with his fiancée. Dr. Phil plays a video of one of their fights.


John: Mommy's being such a pain in the ass, isn't she? 


Of course, Chrissy. I didn't clean anything. You're P-M-Sing, and you're being an ass**** to me. Shut up, and don't talk to me.

Chrissy: You need to stop. You need to grow up and get out of your little childish stages and be a man, because I'm sick of you. You're a ****ing child.

John: Are you done yet? Will you shut your mouth?

Chrissy: I was going to have your mom and dad come and get you. Then maybe you'll leave.


John: I'm not doing anything wrong.

Chrissy: You have been doing stuff wrong, Johnny. You've had the camera in my face just to start stuff.

John: You're the one screaming and yelling to turn on the Christmas lights. (Screams for his mom.) She's just being a c***.

Chrissy: Oh, yeah. I'm just being a c***.

"What do y'all think about that?" Dr. Phil asks the couple.

"It's horrible, and I want help. I know I have anger management problems, and I know I get very uncontrollable," Chrissy says, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I try so hard, and I work, and I try to make things last. I take care of my son and do well, and I feel like he doesn't try that hard. And I feel like sometimes I'm doing it all on my own."

"You understand, you can't scream your way to responsibility. You can't scream your way to maturity," Dr. Phil tells her. He explains that he has brought them to the show in order to help their child. "I want to be the voice of this precious, precious baby," he says. "You get in these fights. Do you understand that this can get out of control and somebody can get hurt?"

Chrissy nods.

"Do you understand the baby can get hurt?" Dr. Phil probes. He asks the couple to look at a home video clip of Chrissy hitting the camera that is right above their baby's head. Dr. Phil describes the action. "[Chrissy] slaps the camera, and watch the lens. Bang," he says. "Do you realize how close that was to hitting that baby in the head? Hitting that baby in the face, the eye. That is a perfect example of how just throwing a fit, just getting upset, just getting angry and accidentally the child is injured. That's got to stop, or you don't deserve to have that baby, either one of you." Turning to John he says, "You do provoke her, just as she does you."

Dr. Phil plays another video on which Chrissy yells at John, "I'll call your little mommy on you," and John retorts, "Ooh. I'll call yours."

"Here's the significance of that:" Dr. Phil says, "her mother's dead."


"She did not hear that, and I apologized 100 percent," John explains.

"He hid it from me," Chrissy says, crying. "He told me he was taking it to the cops. He told me he would take my son away."

"That you would do that in your head, whether she saw it then or later, is just wrong," Dr. Phil tells John. "Using the baby as a pawn, this is not a rope in a tug-of-war between two immature people." He tells them that they should not try and remove the other parent from their child's life.


Dr. Phil offers the couple advice. "Can we have an agreement? Number one, you're not ready to get married," he says.

"Agreed," Chrissy says.

"Number two, do not get pregnant


"I don't want another child. And he has stated that he did want another child, and it scared me, and I totally cut it off," Chrissy explains.

"You guys are just too emotionally out of control, emotionally immature, angry, impulsive," Dr. Phil tells them. He offers to provide them with premarital counseling where they can discuss their anger and negotiate what a marriage truly is. "I will provide that counsel for both of you in exchange for ... that you won't get married at least until you complete that, and you won't get pregnant again until you complete that."

Chrissy and John agree to participate.