Relationship Rescue Retreat: Getting to the Truth: Eric and Jennifer

Relationship Rescue Retreat: Getting to the Truth: Eric and Jennifer
Dr. Phil continues his intense workshop with six couples on the verge of divorce.

"Tell me about losing your family," Dr. Phil asks Eric.


"It's the greatest fear I have," says Eric. "Being a part-time father to my boy. I haven't been a good husband to my wife."


"Your son is 5 months old. You hold the key to his future. So how are you doing?"


"I'm failing," Eric answers.


"I know you say, 'I would die for my young son' ... Then why won't you live for him?" Dr. Phil asks Eric. "I mean, isn't there a point at which you say, 'This crap's got to stop. I mean it's just ridiculous ... There's no standard, there's no quality, there's no commitment to tell myself no so I can tell my son yes. Yes, you get a future. Yes, you get to grow up strong and proud. Yes, you get to go to school knowing you come from a good family and they are loving and caring.'"


Dr. Phil asks Eric about his upbringing. "Tell me what it's like to grow up without that. Tell me what it's like to go to school knowing that your parents just had a knock-down, drag-out at the house."


"It's brutal," says Eric, "and that's how I grew up. Fist-fighting in the house, name-calling. Product of two divorced parents."

"What does a child say to himself when his mother bribes him not to tell about her affairs?" Dr. Phil asks Eric.


"It's something that stays with you forever. It hurts forever," responds Eric. "It kills me because it's not fair. I was a 5-year-old boy that was taken to the toy store to get a toy as long as I didn't tell my father that there was man there during the day."


Jennifer gets emotional while she listens to Eric talk about his past.


"You grew up in a house full of fistfights, infidelity, yelling, screaming, divorce, absolute chaotic, emotional hell. What are you living now?" Dr. Phil asks Eric.


"I'm living in my self-created hell," he answers.


"Isn't there a point at which you say, 'I am going to shut my mouth and start living with some dignity so I can look my son in the eye and say, "Boy, you just won the lottery because you are going to get a daddy who loves you"?' How would that feel?" Dr. Phil asks him.


"I would feel proud to be that person," says Eric.

"Stand up with your husband," Dr. Phil instructs Jennifer. "Is this guy just some worthless nothing?"


"No he's not," says Jennifer. "He's wonderful. And he can be very loving and very caring about other people."


After questioning the choices Eric makes about playing video games instead of spending time with his family, Dr. Phil asks Jennifer, "What are you doing to support him being a husband and a father?"


"I do tell him when he does a good job. But I also tell him he's doing a bad job when he's doing a bad job with things," Jennifer admits.


"Would you consider yourself a right-fighter?" Dr. Phil asks her.


"I really don't think I am," she says.


"Really?" Dr. Phil asks. "You don't argue and say you're right all the time?"


Jennifer starts to argue, but then relents. "Yes, I do, yes. I guess I am," she says.


"Why is your first response to lie about the truth? You know it's the truth," Dr. Phil tells her.

"The truth is that you think you are right. It's not that you're just trying to be right, you think you are right," Dr. Phil tells her.


"OK. Yeah," agress Jennifer.


"Look at him. Do you think he's a dummy?"


"No," says Jennifer, turning to Eric. "No, I don't think you're a dummy. But I think I do make you feel that way sometimes. And I'm sorry."


"The truth is," Dr. Phil tells her, "particularly when it comes to relationships, home, marriage, you think you're smarter than he is about those things."


Jennifer disagrees. "No, I don't think I'm smarter. I think that I think about those things more, and I think that I've read more about them, and so I think that I have a greater knowledge base to draw from." She stops, realizing what she just said. "OK, yes. I guess I do."


Dr. Phil clarifies: "You said, 'No, I'm just better read, better studied, and focused on it more than he is.'"


It hits home for Jennifer: "That sounds so snotty when you say it that way," she says.

"I'm just an old country boy, but doesn't that kind of add up to smarter?" asks Dr. Phil.


When Jennifer begins to defend herself, Dr. Phil says, "OK, you're right. No, really, you're right." He asks, "If you're so smart, how come your life is such a train wreck?"


"Because I'm not so smart," says Jennifer.


"If you were my life manager, I'd fire your ass. If you're such hot stuff, how come you're running this off in the ditch so bad?"


"I don't think I'm hot stuff," she argues.


"Really?"


"I don't think I'm so smart," says Jennifer, turning to Eric. "Do you think that I think that?"


"I think that you think that your way is the right way. All the time," says Eric.


"OK. But do you think that I think I'm smarter than you?" she asks.


Dr. Phil interrupts her. "Wait a minute. You asked the question and he answered you, so now you're going to argue until you're right, correct? Well, let's just agree that you're right. OK? So you win. You're right."