Out of My Family Tree: Melissa, Betty

In-Law Issues

"I have the mother-in-law from hell," Melissa says. "My mother-in-law has told me that I have ruined her son and that I've stolen him from her."

"I feel she's taking him away from me, and he's allowing it to happen," Betty says.

"After nine months of Tyson and I dating, he decided to propose to me on my birthday, so we got married in June in Jamaica," Melissa says.

"When we finally got married, that was a breaking point," Tyson remembers. "My mom completely did a 180, telling me that marrying Melissa was wrong."

"Melissa wanted to marry my son really bad, and the first thing she wanted was a baby," Betty says.

"She said that I was brainwashing him and trying to trap him, that he really didn't want a child with me," Melissa says. "Betty called Tyson's co-workers crying, asking them for their help in making Tyson see the light and true colors of me. Betty told some family members that if Tyson was to leave me that she would cook his meals, clean his house, do his laundry and take care of the children so there'd be no need for me. She is frickin' obsessed with him."

"I've heard that Melissa has called him a mama's boy," Betty says.

[AD]"It kind of hurts, because I'm right in the middle of everything," Tyson says.

"For Betty putting Tyson in the middle of all of this and making him have to choose, makes me hate her even more," Melissa says, growing tearful.

"He says, ‘I love you because you're my mom, but I don't want you in my life,'" Betty says, fighting back tears. "And I'm wondering, why?"

"My husband and I have decided that if she does not change, that we are going to be cutting her out of our lives," Melissa says.

Betty tells Dr. Phil, "To me, it's all a lie, because I never, ever felt those feelings of wanting to get between them. It never came to my mind to hurt my son, to hurt Melissa. Never."

Melissa has multiple sclerosis. Dr. Phil asks Betty, "Have you said, ‘I hope someday the MS is going to get her'?"

"No," Betty says.

"Did you say that she stole her son from you?" he asks.

"I didn't say that she stole him; I feel that she's done something to keep me out of his life," she says.

"Did you say to her, ‘You have ruined him. You are a monster. The worse thing he could do is have a child with you. I wish he never met you. You're trying to trap him. He will learn the truth about you, and he will leave you'?"

"No, I haven't ever said that to her," she says. "When?" she asks Melissa.

"Those things were either directly said to me, directly said to my husband or the Internet guy," Melissa says.

Dr. Phil continues reading. "‘I just want my son back in my life without her ... She has ruined everything for me. I am left out because of her. She brainwashed him into getting a vasectomy reversal.'"

Betty explains that her son didn't want anymore children, which is why he got the vasectomy. "You wanted children right away, Melissa," she says.

[AD]"Isn't that between the two of them?" Dr. Phil asks Betty. "Your son is 37 years old. This isn't even his first wife. So what business is it of yours if he does or doesn't? He's 37 years old."

"I'm his mom. I'm his mother!" she says.

"Well, I've got a mother, but she doesn't tell me what to do every day!" Dr. Phil quips.

"But I'm his mother," Betty repeats. 

"Did you say, ‘Why are you wasting money on this elaborate wedding when it isn't going to work?'" Dr. Phil asks Betty.

Betty denies saying it. "Melissa, when you first met my son, I thought the world of you. I really liked you, Melissa. You're beautiful. You brought a good part of my son out. Please understand, I am not here to hurt anyone. God is my witness," she says passionately.

"OK, well, let's leave him out of this for a minute. Did you recruit a spy on the Internet?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No, I didn't," Betty says.

Dr. Phil digs further into the Internet spy plot.


Betty continues to deny her part in the instant message conversation, although she admits to talking with the man on the Internet. Melissa is not buying it. "This is your problem, Betty. You're the victim in everything. You are poor Betty, the victim. You went on the Internet and found an Internet guy, a complete stranger, and told him things about my private life. That is dangerous!" she says.

Betty tries to argue, but Melissa cuts her off. "This is a stand-up guy who got a hold of us and said, ‘Hey, this is what's going on.' What if you would've contacted some frickin' killer who was going to help you out " there are people out there like that, Betty " who are going to help you out and off your daughter-in-law for you. There are people out there like that."

[AD]The women argue back and forth. Betty accuses Melissa of pretending to be the man she was talking to on the Internet.

Dr. Phil interrupts and makes it clear that Betty never solicited any criminal acts from the man but acknowledges Melissa's fear that the stranger could've been a bad guy. "That's the danger of the Internet," he says.