Mommy Confessions: Tammy

Mad at the World
"I need help because I'm an angry mom. I yell at people all day long. What scares me the most is I yell at my kids. The problem is, it's getting worse, because my kids are starting to now act like me," Tammy says on videotape. "My question for you, Dr. Phil, is how do I stop being so angry and yelling at everybody around me, but especially my children?"
 
Tammy's children, Tatiana and Tameeka, recorded their own video cams to describe their chaotic home life. "My mother is a very angry person. I'm not quite sure what she's so angry at," says 15-year-old Tatiana. "Mothers are supposed to be your best friend, and I feel like every time I go to her with one of my problems, I'm being attacked."
 
"My mom yells a lot," adds 13-year-old Tameeka.
 
[AD]"I yell at my kids every day," Tammy says. "Tatiana does a lot of things that make me really mad. Tatiana rolls her eyes at me. Tatiana slams doors and cusses at me under her breath, and it drives me nuts. Tameeka totally shuts down so that she doesn't have to deal with it."
 
Tammy admits that she calls her older daughter hurtful names like bitch, fat and thief. "Recently, Tatiana said that I called her a failure," she reveals. "I know after I've said it that I've done something that's hurtful, but I have no control, at that moment, of what's coming out of my mouth."
 
"What are you so angry about?" Dr. Phil asks Tammy.
 
"I'm not sure," she replies.
 
Dr. Phil isn't buying it. "Don't tell me, ‘I'm not sure.' What are you mad at?" he asks. "Are you mad that your life didn't work out the way it was supposed to? Are you mad that you didn't wind up with the princess existence you wanted?"
 
"I feel like I've been cheated, that I've been cheated my whole life," Tammy says, her voice breaking. "I didn't have a mom who loved me. I didn't have people show me how to do the things I need to do."
 
"I don't mean, for a second, to trivialize what happened to you growing up. I hate that for you," Dr. Phil says, as Tammy wipes away tears. "I'm sorry that somebody wrote on the slate of who you are that made you so angry, because you couldn't fight back then. Could you?"
 
[AD]"No," she answers.
 
"You couldn't say what you wanted to say then, but you've been making up for it ever since," Dr. Phil observes. "There's no way you can change what has happened in your life. But the good news is, you're the adult now. You're the mom now. That means you can choose to be different. The legacy can stop now."
 
Dr. Phil explains how Tammy can get her anger under control.