On the Outs With In-Laws: Meet the Family

"I would describe my mother-in-law as abusive, overbearing, diabolical and even violent," says Anna-Laura, who has been married to Morgan for six years

and is the stepparent to his two children. She says her mother-in-law, Janice, hasn't liked her since day one. "Janice has threatened to kill me or have me killed on more than one occasion. She told me, 'I will ruin your marriage. I will take away your children.'" She says that one day a car pulled up to her driveway and she expected to see Morgan get out. "I looked up, and there is my mother-in-law, and she pointed her finger at me and pulled the trigger." 

 

"I would not have chosen somebody like Anna-Laura for Morgan. I said, 'I don't think she's very attractive. She's much older than you. She's heavy,'" Janice admits. "I think she exhibits sociopathic behavior. She lies."

 

"Anna-Laura and my mother are both strong-willed women, and it's not pretty when the two of them get together," explains Morgan. "Early on, I just tried to be neutral."

 

Anna-Laura says she could recount numerous incidents of Janice's ill-will toward her. "My mother-in-law tried to hit me in my own home, so I got

a domestic violence order against her," she shares. "My mother-in-law made a comment that her husband had been sharpening knives, and he had discussed gutting both of us."

 

Janice denies both accusations. "I didn't hit her. She's five-foot-eight, I'm five-foot-one," she says. As for the knife incident, she says, "I thought that was the most incredible thing I had ever heard. My husband and I just looked at one another in disbelief."

Morgan explains, "My mother is very much a stalker."

 

"She has to control everything," Anna-Laura explains. "She calls 12 to 15 times a day. She will drive around the

neighborhood. She peeks in the windows. She has looked in the trash." Anna-Laura says that Janice will come into their house if the door is open. On one occasion, "We were in the bedroom and the socks were coming off. We're kissing. We were very physically intimate. All of a sudden, the door pops open, and in walks my mother-in-law," she remembers.

 

Morgan admits, "It was kind of creepy."

 

"I think my husband is a very reluctant momma's boy. [Janice] has made comments to him like, 'You promised me that you would never let a girl come between us' ... It's like there's this competition that she's created between the two of us," Anna-Laura reveals. "Morgan told me that he has been in prison for as long as he's been alive, that his mother is the warden, and she never lets him get far away. He has to decide, 'Do I want a wife, or do I want a semi-incestuous relationship

with my mother?'"

 

"I really think that my mother has an unnatural obsession with me. I'm very much a surrogate husband to her," Morgan shares. "There's a large part of me that really does feel ashamed and embarrassed by the fact that I've allowed my mother to hold this much sway over me." He also acknowledges, "I do believe that my mom wanted us to get a divorce. However, the other part of what my mom wants is for me to move into her house, and that's just not going to happen."  

 

"I filed for divorce from Morgan because my mother-in-law is the other woman in my husband's life," Anna-Laura says. "I can't reconcile as long as there are too many people in the marriage." She turns to Dr. Phil for help. "My marriage is doomed. Can you help?"

Because Anna-Laura got a restraining order against Janice — she must stay 1,000 feet away — they haven't seen in each other in over a year. Anna-Laura

has agreed to appear with Janice for the purpose of the show.

"Tell us again why you think you need that protection from her," Dr. Phil says to Anna-Laura.

"She has made it clear that she will do anything to get her son and her grandchildren to leave me and to move back home with her," Anna-Laura explains. "Relentless."

Dr. Phil addresses Janice. "You do want rid of her, correct?" he asks.

"No sir," Janice replies. "If my son chooses to stay married to her, that's his choice."


"Really?" asks a shocked Dr. Phil.

"Absolutely," Janice maintains. "I mean, I don't like her at all. Do I have to like her?"

"Are you saying that you're not trying to run her off?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I made that statement one time," Janice admits, but says she doesn't want to run Anna-Laura out of town.

Dr. Phil reads a list of complaints that Anna-Laura and Morgan have against Janice. "They say that you have said, 'I will ruin you. Do you hear me? I will break up your marriage, take away your kids, destroy your career and run you out of this town,'" he says. 

"I believe I did say that," Janice admits.

Dr. Phil reiterates that he previously asked Janice if she was trying to r

un Anna-Laura off, and she looked at him like he was crazy.

"Not at this point, I'm not," Janice explains.

"Did you say to Anna-Laura, 'I don't want my granddaughter to be fat like you'?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No, I did not," Janice replies.

Anna-Laura says Janice has said it more than once. "She's also said it to my daughter," she notes.

Dr. Phil reads another statement Janice supposedly said. "'I could kill you. I could have you killed. I'll win one way or another. You'll regret the day you came up against me. There's nobody big enough to stop me,'" he says.

"No sir. I did not say it," Janice says.

Dr. Phil directs his attention to Morgan and asks, "Where are you in all of this?"

"For a long time, I was in the middle of all this. I really didn't take a side. I didn't pick the side I really should have, which is my wife's, and just put my foot down much earlier," he says. "Right now, I'm standing here with her, and I am trying

my best to save our marriage."

Anna-Laura explains why she has recently filed for divorce. "I have very mixed emotions. I had a very happy life at one time. I love my children. I'm not going to abandon my children. I'm not going to abandon Morgan, but I cannot live with constant stress and drama 24/7," she explains.

"I'm always wondering how and why people in a family, which is such a core unit in our lives, manage themselves into this kind of situation and predicament," Dr. Phil tells the family. He addresses Anna-Laura. "Have you said to her, 'You have an incestuous relationship with your son'?"

"Yes," Anna-Laura says.

"'You are not welcome in my house you short sh**,'" Dr. Phil continues.

"That was after she took the swing at me and I blocked it," Anna-Laura says.

"Did you take a swing at her?" Dr. Phil asks Janice. She says no.

Dr. Phil asks Morgan, "Do you think your mother's a liar?"

"Yes, I do," Morgan replies.

When Janice says that she hasn't talked to or seen Morgan or his family in a year because of the restraining order, Anna-Laura jumps in. "That's not true, Dr. Phil," she

says. "She still drives through our neighborhood despite the 1,000 feet."

"I have not been down their street," Janice says, denying Anna-Laura's claim. Janice recently bought a home for her mother near where Morgan and Anna-Laura live, so she is often in the neighborhood. She and Anna-Laura bicker about the location of the house.

 

Morgan adds that one day, when he was on his way home after just having been in a car accident, he saw his mother coming up their street.

"Were you there or not?" Dr. Phil asks Janice.

"No sir, I was not there," she says, noting that their town is six blocks long.

 

"I've been down this road with her," Anna-Laura says. "She will spin things to make someone else look negative, and spin things so that she technically isn't lying."

 

Dr. Phil asks Morgan, "You don't feel that your mother is a constructive influence in your marriage, correct?"

 

"That's correct," Morgan says.

 

"Do you feel that she's a constructive influence in your life?"

 

"No, I do not."

"I've often said good fences make good neighbors, and sometimes, sadly, within a family, good fences have to be erected as well," Dr. Phil says.