Liar, Liar: Tricia

"My 14-year-old daughter's lying is out of control," complains Melinda about Tricia. "It's ruining her life, her reputation. She went onto myspace.com and wrote she was pregnant by this 25-year-old. This was all a lie. She was spreading the rumor that she had AIDS. None of it is true."

 

Her husband, Chad, feels Tricia is crying out for attention. "In third grade, a teacher called and asked my wife what happened to the baby. She supposedly had a miscarriage," he recounts.

 

Tricia even called the cops on her father and had him arrested. "I came home and the police were in the driveway. I walked in the door, and I was very angry," Melinda reveals. "I looked at the police and I said, 'This is just a case of a spoiled brat.' Chad was arrested. We're just waiting to go to court now."

 

Melinda is baffled by Tricia's lack of remorse or emotion. "She's told people at school that he beat the crap out of her. Right now, she's living with Chad's parents," she says. "I feel like putting my house up for sale and moving to a whole other town and starting over. I'm sad. Our whole way of life is different without her here."

Chad maintains his innocence. "I never hit her. I never hit her once," he says adamantly. "It kills me to see her lying like this and what it's doing to us."

Dr. Phil explains that the court issued a no-contact order, but the judge lifted it so Chad could appear on the show.

 

Turning to Chad, Dr. Phil says, "Did you beat the crap out of your daughter?" 

"No, never touched her," Chad insists.

Addressing Tricia in the audience, Dr. Phil asks, "Did he beat the crap out of you?'' 

"No, it was just a chair and a telephone," she begins. 

"He either did or he didn't," Dr. Phil says. 

"He didn't touch me with his hands," Tricia admits. "I didn't tell anyone he beat the crap out of me."

Turning to Melinda, Dr. Phil asks, "Why do you think she's doing this?"

"I thought it was for attention for herself, just making herself look better to her friends," Melinda replies. "This most recent one she says is for attention from her dad."

Melinda recently confronted Tricia about the allegations against her father. "He doesn't even remember the last time he spanked you," she argues.


"I never said he hit me. He pushed the chair," Tricia maintains. 

Melinda challenges her. "Tricia, who pushed the chair first?" she asks.

"He did. I pushed it after it hit me."

"I would have done something if I felt he really harmed you. But I do know, Tricia, how you scream and yell," Melinda warns. "Do you feel like he intentionally hit you?" 

Tricia is sullen. "Well, he had a good target. He has an anger problem. He needs to get over it," she says. 

Melinda expresses concern. "Is there something I did to you or somebody did to you? Something traumatic we don't know about?"

"Dad's never around," Tricia says, on the verge of tears. "We're not close."

Dr. Phil turns to Tricia. "Tell me what you were thinking at that point, and what you're thinking now," he says. 

Tricia is slumped over in tears, and it takes her a minute to compose herself. "I just want to get help," she sobs. 

Dr. Phil invites her up on stage. "Tell me what you want," he instructs.

"I just want to get help to stop lying," she says. "I want my family closer."

"Tell your dad what you need from him."

She faces Chad, who has tears running down his cheeks. "I want us to be close. I feel like I don't have a dad," she cries. 

"How do you want her to feel in her relationship with her dad?" Dr. Phil asks Chad.

 

"I want you to be able to come to me. If you want to tell me something, if you want to do something, don't be afraid to tell me," he says.

 

"Tell her what you love about her."

 

"You're active, you play softball, you're an A/B student," Chad says. "She's always been good. We just catch her in lies. She just needs to stop lying."

"Do you love your daughter?" Dr. Phil prompts.

"I love you, Tricia. You know that. I'll do whatever you want," Chad insists.

 

"Even cut back on your activities to spend time with her? To teach her about boys? To make her feel special and loved and wanted so she doesn't go out hungry for male attention and make a stupid decision with the first guy who blows in her ear and tells her what she wishes she could hear from her dad?" Dr. Phil says. "You don't want her to be vulnerable to that, do you?"

 

"Absolutely not," Chad says.

 

Turning to Tricia, Dr. Phil says, "Do you know how to stop?"

 

"No," she replies.

 

"Has it just gotten to be a habit?"

 

"Yes."

"People lie because they compare who they really are with who they see in other people," Dr. Phil tells Tricia. He instructs her to look out at the audience. "Everybody here wears a social mask, but I guarantee you, there are people in this audience who have lived hell on this earth, and would give anything in the world to trade places with you, to have your skill, your ability, your beauty, your intellect. But what happens is, people think 'I'm not good enough,' so they have to embellish the truth so it seems like they're more interesting."

 

Dr. Phil wants Tricia to find meaning in her life and appreciate herself more. "If you're truly proud of who you are — if you truly accept all of the God-given gifts, skills, talents, abilities that you've been blessed with — then you have no reason to create a false identity. You have no reason to create a false life," Dr. Phil cautions. "This is all about you."