Relationship Rescue Retreat: Parental Legacy: Parental Legacy Exercise

Relationship Rescue Retreat: Parental Legacy: Parental Legacy Exercise
Dr. Phil continues his intense workshop with six couples on the verge of divorce.


At the retreat, Dr. Phil leads the group through an emotional exercise that forces them to take a hard look at their past.

As each couple sits facing each other, Dr. Phil tells them, "We're going to talk about what I call parental legacy, that which you inherited from your parents that you brought into this relationship. I want both of you to close your eyes. Envision your mother, good or bad, happy or sad."
He instructs the wives to complete the sentence, "What I got from my mother I did not want ..."

Gelsy tells Rene: "She taught me to be very cold. To hide my emotions, and to hide pain."

Deanna tells Rob: "How to be critical. She taught me how to be cold."

Nora tells Paul: "Controlling, judging, high expectations, bossiness."


Kimberly tells Mike: "Judgmental, nitpick your husband to death."


Donna tells Vinnie: "Hollering. I got that hollering from my mother."

The next sentence they have to complete is, "What I resent about my mother ..."


Gelsy: "My father left her, when in fact she should've left him. She should've taken us away from all that hostility."


Jennifer: "I don't really think that I had much guidance. I didn't have somebody there to tell me that I was making bad decisions."

Deanna, crying: "I needed a place to go that wouldn't be critical."

Kimberly: "She judged me. And she told me that I wasn't good enough."

Dr. Phil intructs the wives to answer, "What I love about my mother ..."

Gelsy: "She doesn't want the same things that happened to her to happen to me. She wants my marriage to work."

Donna: "She taught me how to be tough. If someone's pushing me, to push back."

"Wives, if your mother had one minute left in this life, what would you tell her?" Dr. Phil asks.

Gelsy: "I would tell her that I love her because I never tell her that." She begins to cry. "I always think about that. That she'll die, and I will not be loving with her."


Deanna: "Thank you. For helping me to be a better mom and a wife."

Nora, crying: "I know that she's not a bad person. And I do love her."


Kimberly, crying: "I would tell her that I forgive her."


Donna: "That I respect her and I'm grateful for her."


Now it's the husbands' turn: "What I got from my mother I did not want ..."

Rob tells Deanna: "My passive-aggressive personality."


Paul tells Nora: "I got my stubbornness from her. The ability to unplug from the relationship."


Eric tells Jennifer, emotional: "She taught me how not to show love. She taught me how to hate. I wanted to be loved. I wanted her to care about me. It destroyed me inside."


Vinnie tells Donna: "Stubbornness. I wanted her to stick to her guns."

Dr. Phil instructs the husbands to answer, "What I resent about my mother ..."


Rene: "I never got the attention that I wanted that I should've received."


Eric: "I resent everything. She gave me away, Jen. She didn't want me. I resent that her evil has affected me, infected me."


Rob: "I resent the fact that she let my dad walk all over her."


Vinnie: "Yelling. And she used to break some of my stuff."


Rene: "I'd never get hugs from my mom. Ever."


"Husbands, how my relationship with my mother contaminated my marriage ... Go," Dr. Phil tells them.


Rene: "She contaminated me with the ability to drive people insane."


Eric: "She taught me how not to give compassion to someone you truly love."


Paul: "I've contaminated this relationship by keeping everything in. By being passive-aggressive."


Vinnie: "The yelling. She did it my whole life. When you do it, it hits home. I hate it."

They share what they love about their mothers.

Rene: "She's funny. Loves her family."


Rob: "My mom is one of the most loving people in the world."


Paul: "She is forgiving. She's not judgmental. She accepts you for who you are."


Mike: "She taught me there is good in everything and everybody. No matter what."


Vinnie: "Her caring ways. She's very generous."


Eric: "She gave birth to me. And now I have a family. It's the only one I can think of."


"Husbands, if your mother sat before you with one minute left in this life, tell her what you want and need her to know," says Dr. Phil.


Rob: "Thank you for your complete and utter sacrifice. I love you."


Paul: "I would thank her for always supporting our relationship even when I wanted out."


Mike: "I forgive you for what has happened. You will always be in my heart."


Eric: "What did I do to you? I was a boy who loved his father, who loved his mother, who didn't understand what he did wrong. She hated me that much that she died without saying anything."

"Husbands and wives, with all eyes closed, I want you to come in to the presence of your father," Dr. Phil tells them. "All eyes open. Wives, what I got from my father that I did not want ... Go."

Gelsy: "All the anger. And the hostility. And the pain that he so very well knew how to inflict. I mirror him in that."


Kimberly: "Yelling and screaming when things got tough. Anger. Rage."
"What I resent about my father ..." Dr. Phil prompts them.


Gelsy: "I wanted him to stop hurting my mom. I didn't want him to leave, and he didn't care about the pain he caused us."


Jennifer: "I wanted to get hugs. He never told me he loves me until recently."


Nora: "Name calling. Kicking me out. And the verbal abuse."


Donna: "He didn't take an interest in things that I did."


Kimberly: "I resent he was a drunk. And you couldn't just be a kid and come running in. Instead of protecting us from pain, he inflicted pain."

Dr. Phil instructs the wives, "Tell your husbands what it is in your relationship with your father that has contaminated this marriage."

Gelsy: "A lot of anger. A lot of pain, a lot of hostility, a lot of negativity."


Jennifer: "I don't know, I just felt like I wasn't important enough."


Nora: "My ongoing anger. My need to control situations and people."


Kimberly: "Lack of trust. When he doesn't do his number one job, how can you ever trust a man again?"


Deanna: "My desire to constantly try to please him over you."


"What I love about my father ..." Dr. Phil starts them off.


Gelsy: "I love the fact that he's very smart and he's very strong."


Jennifer: "I love that he still loves my mother after all these years."


Deanna: "I love how he's tried to help our marriage."


Nora: "I love his relationship with Taiya and how he does like to spend time with her."


Kimberly: "He's sober, and he's trying to make a difference, and I love that he cares so much."


Donna: "His business sense, his ability to talk to people. His work ethic."

"Wives, stay in the presence of your father," Dr. Phil tells them. "If you had one minute left in this world with your father, what would you want him to know?"


Gelsy: "I still resent everything he did. But I forgive him. Because he's human."


Nora: "I forgive him for not accepting you."


Kimberly: "I forgive him. And I would thank him for having the courage to get sober. That I love him."


Donna: "How great I think he is. That I love him."


Dr. Phil instructs the husbands again. "What I got from my father I did not want ... Go."


Rene: "I got his temper. All the anger, the banging, the screaming."


Paul: "The ability to leave a marriage and think that it's OK. Not to put the effort in that it deserves."


Eric: "How to run away from problems, rather than to deal with them."


Rob: "I got his anger. His drinking issues. His desire to be alone."


Mike: "Constant criticism. The pain. The anger. Not allowing me to be a kid."


Vinnie: "His nitpicking. Correcting people."

Dr. Phil: "What I resent about my father ... Go."


Rene: "Not being able to have my mom stop drinking."


Eric: "I resent that I needed him to stand up for me when I was a kid."


Rob: "I resent the fact that he emotionally checked out many, many times."


Paul: "I didn't get love from him. I didn't get any support from him. I didn't get how to treat a woman. You know, how to be a man."


Mike: "I just wanted my dad to be sitting there saying, 'Way to go.' I was not able to accelerate where I wanted to. My dreams."


Vinnie: "I don't know if my father ever told me he loved me growing up."


"Husbands, I want you to tell your wife what it was that you got from your father that contaminated your marriage," says Dr. Phil.


Gelsy: "The way he taught me how to be tough. Not to take sh** from any woman."


Rob: "My father didn't communicate. He told you the way it was, and if that didn't work or you disagreed, it was an instant fight."


Mike: "The constant disrespect for my mom. 'I know everything, I'm the man of the house.'"


Paul: "I got one emotion and that's anger. I got that from him and it is contaminating our relationship."

"Husbands, tell your wife what you love about this man," Dr. Phil says. "Go."


Rene, wiping his eyes: "He's funny. Loving toward the kids."


Rob: "If we needed him to do something, he was there in a heartbeat."


Paul: "I love his sense of humor."


Mike: "Strength, leadership. The willpower to keep pushing forward no matter what."


Vinnie: "He's tolerant. His patience. He's very caring, very giving."


"Stop. All eyes closed," says Dr. Phil. "Husbands, maybe your father is still alive, maybe you've since lost him. You're going to say what you would say if you had one more minute in this world with your father. Go."


Eric, crying: "I do love you. You are a good man. I needed you to be stronger for me when I was younger, but I forgive you."