Reed and Margaret
“My mom tries to control everything in my life: what I wear, who I date, where I go to college, what I’m going to study in college, what my career is going to be,” Reed, 33, says.

“I refuse to let him fail. I do everything that I do out of my love for him,” Reed’s mom, Margaret, says. She says she pays for Reed’s schooling, health insurance, cars, vacations and more. “[I paid for] everything that I felt would help him become the person that I wanted him to be.

“A lot of times, I stick my nose in where it doesn’t really belong,” Margaret admits. She says when Reed first told her that he and his fiancée, Mandy, were getting married, she told him he needed a prenuptial agreement. “I’m a very controlling person, but I don’t try to control anything that [is not] in his best interest.”

[AD]“It feels like a warfare on my own independence,” Reed says of his mother’s actions.

“I’ve always felt that Reed did not fit the mold of what I thought that he should be,” Margaret says. “He was supposed to have graduated, married someone who had a good background, whose family was educated and knew which fork to use.”

Reed says his mother will call, and if he doesn’t respond within her time frame, she’ll call again, send an email and even call loved ones in order to track him down. “She’s got to stop,” he says. “One of two things is going to happen: she’s going to stop or she’s not going to be in my life.”

Reed and his mother join Dr. Phil onstage. “I can’t imagine this happening if you don’t really want it to happen,” Dr. Phil tells Reed. “Wouldn’t you have put up a stop sign in the last, I don’t know, 10 years?” he asks.

Reed says he has tried to do that for 15 years, to no avail. “She makes me feel bad for not being a good son. She makes me feel like I don’t care about her, I don’t love her, I’m not appreciative — and all these things are not positive feelings.”

“So, she guilt-induces you?” Dr. Phil asks Reed, who says yes. He turns to Margaret and asks, “Are you tough to deal with?”

“Absolutely,” Margaret responds.

“What is your motive?” Dr. Phil asks her.

“I have one son; he is my life. I love him more than my own life,” she says. “I had ideas that I wanted for him. These were my goals for him, not his goals for himself. I want to be able to say to him, ‘Reed, you’re on your own. You have graduated, you’re working.'” She says he’s made one really good decision: choosing Mandy to be his fiancée.

Is Margaret setting Reed up for failure?

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Margaret does something that no other Dr. Phil guest has done!

Dr. Phil tells Margaret that he wants her to celebrate Reed. “I want you to [AD]celebrate his independence. I want you to celebrate his mastery of life,” he says. “Wouldn’t that be great if you could just brag on him to everybody else, instead of controlling him?” he asks her.

“I do brag on him,” she says. She explains that if Reed were to fund his own schooling by working full time, it would take him too long — in her opinion — to earn his degree. “He couldn’t do it,” she adds. “Do you think I like writing these checks?” she asks Dr. Phil.

“Oh, I think you do,” he tells her. “I think you like it a lot, because I think it’s how you get your hooks in him, and then you pull him in.”

In a previously-recorded interview, Reed explains why his mother’s funeral would be a cause for celebration. “I’d be expected to say something at her funeral. I just know I couldn’t. I’d be too happy,” he says with tears in his eyes. “And I hate that.”

Back onstage, Dr. Phil tells Reed, “You say that not because you wish her ill, but because you think it’s your only way to freedom.”

Reed agrees. “My life will never be my own unless she stops this meddling and stops her controlling and manipulation,” he says. “I don’t believe it will ever change until she’s no longer living, and if that’s what it takes, then that day will be happy for me.” He turns to Margaret and says, “I hate that, Mom.”

“I’m sorry, Reed, that you feel this way,” she responds. “I love you dearly.”

“That’s not an apology,” Reed tells his mother.

“My apology is: it doesn’t matter,” she tells him. “I’m more concerned with working something out with you while I’m alive than for you to feel good when I’m gone.”

“Then how come it’s taken me 15, 20 years for me to do this?” he asks her.

“You’re a slow learner!” she exclaims.

“If he’s a slow learner, you must be in reverse, because you are twice his age, and you haven’t figured it out,” Dr. Phil tells Margaret. He turns to Reed and says, “You need to step up, man-up and own your life, and if that means that you have to put up a wall and put up boundaries with her, then that’s what you have to do.”

Dr. Phil tells Reed how to stand up to his mother. And, Reed reveals something his mother doesn’t know.

“She will never grow to this until she is required to,” Dr. Phil tells Reed. “You will never grow until you are required to.” He tells Margaret that he’s going to get Reed a therapist to help him take control of his life. “You’re going to have to [AD]learn a new way to relate to him,” he tells her. “Bribes, threats, pouting, guilt-induction — all of those things that you are so good at are going to fall on deaf ears.”

“I think you’re right, and that’s what I want,” she responds.

Reed tells Margaret, “I’ve said many times, ‘If you’d just butt out, I would open up myself to you.’”

“Will you give it a chance to let it happen?” Dr. Phil asks Margaret.

“I will give it 100-percent,” she responds.