On the Outs with In-Laws: The Divorce

Dr. Phil addresses Morgan and Anna-Laura, respectively. "You haven't seen your mother in a year, and you're divorcing him because of the stress that's brought on by the

dynamic in this family?"

Morgan shares his thoughts. "In the past, I did such a poor job at standing up to my mother and defending Anna-Laura and taking care of her and being the type of husband she needed me to be, that by the time I did, it's probably too little too late," he acknowledges. "[Janice] and my father are still dragging us to court; we're still having to deal with all types of legal issues with them. This will just not get out of our faces. I don't even see how she can begin to try to forgive me if she can't get away from it."

Janice explains that she and her husband filed for visitation of their grandchildren.

Dr. Phil explains that Morgan and Anna-Laura put their children — Morgan's from a previous marriage — in the foster care system because they need state funding to handle some of the disorders that they deal with, namely autism and Asperger's Syndrome. "You feel like you just don't have the resources to provide for them, so you've put them into the state system in order to have access to those resources."

They both agree.

Morgan believes that his mother has had an unhealthy relationship with him, and for a period of time he participated in it. In the past, he even shared information, like his frustrations about his wife, with his mother.

Dr. Phil addresses Anna-Laura. "That, of course, did not sit well with you, that he's over talking about you to somebody that's your declared enemy," he says to her.

"I had no problem with him talking to a relative when you're asking for guidance," Anna-Laura replies. "The first year t

hat we married she pretended to be my friend. She pretended that everything was wonderful and we used to do activities together. I thought she was great, until there would be little things that would happen." One incident occurred when Anna-Laura made a comment to Janice that Morgan needed to start helping out around the house. Anna-Laura says that Janice then told Morgan that Anna-Laura called him a lazy slob.

Janice denies saying that.

Morgan chimes in. "That's exactly what you told me," he says to his mom.

"Morgan, you are such a wuss," Janice says.

Anna-Laura is outraged. "This is your flesh and blood," she says to Janice. "You want to know who's a pitiful mother? You are. You are the worst mother I have ever seen. You are the worst grandmother. Call my husband a wuss on television. Take another swing at me! Go ahead. I'll let you hit me now. It'd be worth it. No one calls my husband a name."

"You don't sound like somebody who wants to divorce him," Dr. Phil says.

Anna-Laura says she loves Morgan, but she realizes that the marriage is taking a toll on her physical well-being.

Dr. Phil addresses Janice. "Tell me why you're smiling so much."

"Because this is the most incredible thing I have heard in my life," Janice says. "I mean, incredibly absurd. All these things that they're telling, it's like somebody sat down and wrote this ridiculous book."

"You admitted to a half a dozen of them," Dr. Phil points out, listing the complaints Janice has agreed to. "If just the ones that are right are right, don't you think you have some ownership into the problems of this relationship?"

"I do," Janice concedes. "I talked about her behind her back. We've never actually talked together as people."

"You say different things to my face," Anna-Laura says. "You don't have the backbone to say to me what you really feel. Because if you told me in the beginning, 'I don't like you,' I wouldn't have gone out to your house. I wouldn't have gone to lunch with you. I wouldn't have shopped with you."

"If I had not liked you, I would not have taken you," Janice disagrees.

"You don't do anything without a plan. Your plan from the beginning was to be friends with me to use it to break us up," an angered Anna-Laura says. "Diabolical ... She disgusts me."


Dr. Phil addresses Anna-Laura. "If you think this is a disgusting person who has evil intent and just wants the worst for you, why would you give her the power to totally erode your marriage, your family, your health, your peace?" he asks. "Why wouldn't you just say, 'I'm disengaging here ... You're not going to change my life.' Pick up

and move if you have to! Go somewhere. Just get away from her. Get her out of your life." The audience applauds.

Anna-Laura disagrees. "We're saying that she should get to stay and do what she wants to do, and I should disrupt my mother, my family?" she questions.

"You're exactly right, that's not fair," Dr. Phil tells her. "But this isn't about being right, it's about being successful. And you can't make her move." 


Dr. Phil addresses Anna-Laura and Morgan. "You two currently have divorce proceedings rolling down the track. You're stressed out. This is bugging you," he says.

"She's happy as a clam. Look at her face," Anna-Laura interjects.

"That's because she's controlling you like a marionette," Dr. Phil points out. "She wants you gone and she's getting what she wants."

Anna-Laura assures Dr. Phil that she's not going anywhere.