Meddling Mother-in-law

Meddling Mother-in-law
Tara says her husband's mom intrudes on their lives.
Dr. Phil takes the couple to a church in hopes of helping them rekindle the feelings they had when they made their vows. Dr. Phil asks, "Did you have hopes? Did you have dreams? Did you have a vision of what life was supposed to be like?"


"Has that come true?"
"Not entirely."

Kathy observes their conversation from another room. "I think both of them are the victims," she says of her son and daughter-in-law. "I think it's just because they don't have a clue about what it takes to be a husband and a wife, a mother and a father. I just think that they need the guidance and the direction.""You are living in a train wreck — emotionally, mentally, behaviorally," Dr. Phil tells Tara. "As you walked down this aisle a year and a half ago when you got married, what were your dreams? What were your hopes?"

"I wanted to spend my life with him. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to have a family together," she says.

When Dr. Phil asks Tara if she's willing to settle for the relationship she now has, she replies, "I can't imagine my life without him. And maybe I should just settle for what he'll give me."

"What hurts you the most in your marriage right now?"

"He doesn't look at me the same as he did when we were younger and dating. I feel like he thinks I'm a failure as a wife and mother," Tara admits. "I need him to be my rock. I need him to really be there for me." She worries when her husband comes home in the middle of the night, especially because Steve cheated on her in the past. "I don't trust where he's been. He's hurt me before that way. It's hard to get that trust back."
"You've got very significant suspicions about him now," he says. "I can't help you if you're not willing to help yourself ... You cannot be a victim — scared to death that someone's going to hurt you or leave you — and get what you want out of your marriage. You've got to be willing to demand from yourself and your husband what you want in this marriage," Dr. Phil urges.

"I don't know how to do that," Tara admits.

Dr. Phil wants Tara to look at Steve's past indiscretions. "He's cheated on you before. He goes and talks to his mother about intimate things between you. She just walks into your house and takes over," he observes. "Why do you allow some woman to come in there and take over? Are you going to have a better chance than today to say, 'You need to stand up and be the man I married, the man that stood before me and made the commitment?' Are you ready to do that, or are you just going to curl up in a fetal position and say, 'I'll take what I can get?'"
Steve joins Dr. Phil and Tara in the church. "I talked to Tara before you got here today about her hopes and dreams and vision about what was going to happen when she got married. Did you have them?" Dr. Phil asks.

Steve reflects. "I had asked her a long time ago what she wanted out of life," he says. "I was surprised to hear that the only thing she really wanted was a family."

"Do you want to be married to her?"

"I don't know," Steve replies. "Sometimes I feel that I'm happy with family life and everything that we have. And then there are other times when I feel I just want to be alone."

Acknowledging Steve's ambivalence, Dr. Phil says, "Does it register with you that you have two children with this woman? That you have obligations there?"

When Steve argues that he takes care of the bills and other household responsibilities, Dr. Phil interjects, "Providing is more than monetary ... It's providing for your wife and children a safe, secure place to fall."
Dr. Phil brings up Steve's late-night activities. "What's going on when you're out until six o'clock in the morning?" he asks.

"I was out with a bunch of friends from work having a good time," Steve explains.

Turning to Tara, Dr. Phil questions, "Didn't he come home and you found a pocket full of condoms?"

When she says yes, he probes, "You thought he was out having sex with somebody."

Addressing Steve, Dr. Phil asks, "Were you?"

Steve hesitates. "Yes," he says.

As Tara breaks down in tears, Kathy, who's listening from the other room says, "I can't believe he told the truth! Not that I'd want him to lie, but he must be so serious about this. I'm just hoping Tara has the strength to work with him."Emotionally, Tara says, "I hate you! I'm done. I don't want to do this anymore. I'll never be able to trust him again."

Kathy shares her thoughts. "He's very brave to admit that on national TV. I think she had an idea that he did do that. I'm just hoping that she's not going to run out the door and leave him," she says.

Dr. Phil wants Steve to consider the consequences of his behavior. "It may feel good to go sleep with some girl, but sometimes we have to take it to a higher level," he admonishes. "We have to say, 'Look, I have responsibilities here. If I don't want to be married, then OK. I may get out of this marriage. But while I'm in it, I have a responsibility to do the right thing. I have a responsibility to treat my wife with dignity and respect and treat my children with a deep regard for their future.'"

Dr. Phil thinks Tara is in denial. "Are you telling me you didn't know what was going on when you reached into his pants pocket and there's a pocket full of condoms in there?" he asks. "Did you think he was out throwing water balloons or something? ... I think you are playing the victim. And it's hard to respect someone that just kind of walks around like a whipped dog and takes what they can get."

"Well, I'm not going to play the victim anymore because I'm not going to do this anymore," she announces.
Addressing Tara, Dr. Phil says, "Tell him what it does to you when he cheats on you like that."

"It makes me angry. It makes me feel like garbage. 'If you won't love me, who will?' That's how I feel. If he's not going to love me, then why would anybody else?"

Instructing Steve to look his wife in the eye, Dr. Phil says, "Do you see pain or do you see joy?"

"I see anger and pain."

"What has she done to deserve that?"


"Do you have any feeling for her at all? Do you have any compassion for her at all?" Dr. Phil asks. "Do you have any remorse for what you've done?"

When Steve apologizes for cheating on Tara, Dr. Phil asks, "Are you sorry for what you've done or are you sorry you got caught?"