Relationship Rescue Retreat: Self-Defeating Games: Mike and Kimberly

Relationship Rescue Retreat: Self-Defeating Games: Mike and Kimberly
Dr. Phil continues his intense workshop with six couples on the verge of divorce.

Kimberly and Mike sit in their respective groups and identify the self-defeating games they play in their marriage.


Kim recognizes "get them before they get you" as her self-defeating game. "A specific example," she explains, "we're in the hotel room and he's trying to be so nice, loving and kind, and he's hugging and trying to kiss me and I'm just like, 'Don't even come near me.' So I push him away. If I have sex with him, then I'm acknowledging that all these other things he does are OK."


"And you need the leverage, right?" asks Dr. Phil. "You need the power. You've got to have something you can use against him."


"Exactly," says Kimberly.


"And if you give that up, then all you have left is you," he says.


"And I just don't feel like I'm worth it," says Kimberly.


"So you punish him."


Kimberly gets emotional. "Yeah, so I punish him. Because I hurt so bad," she says.

In his group, Mike says, "I guess my big offender is "don't participate." Mike explains that he shuts down when Kimberly calls him on his cell phone while he's working out of town. "I don't try to put myself in her shoes and understand what she's saying, so I'll simply flip that emotional switch to off, and say, 'What do you really want me to do about it?'"


Robin asks him, "How does that make you feel when you do that to her?"


"Absolutely terrible," says Mike. "I mean, I want to get in my car, get on a plane, and fly home and be there to help, but knowing that when I get there, I'm going to get beat up as soon as I walk in the door."


"And what would you stand to gain by not playing that game?" asks Robin.


"I'd gain tons of self-respect. I mean there's no self-respect for a husband who just hangs up the phone and emotionally checks out."


Later, Dr. Phil asks Mike for his definition of success as a man.


"My definition of success as a man is a loving household, a loving family to come home to, financially stable," responds Mike.

Dr. Phil explains there's more currency than monetary currency; there's emotional, security, spiritual and physical currency as well. And although Mike is doing well at providing a financially stable home for his family, he's failing in the other areas.


"I used to be that way," Dr. Phil shares. "Young master of the universe. And then with the help of my wife, I got smarter. And now I'll tell you what's at the top of my list: If my wife can stand in a room of a thousand women and know there isn't a woman in the place who's treated better than her behind closed doors. What do you think that would mean to your wife if she could stand in a room with the feelings of worth and dignity?"


"It'd mean the world to her," says Mike.


Dr. Phil turns to Kimberly. "Do you deserve it?"


"I think so," she says.


"You just sat right there and told me you didn't," Dr. Phil points out.


"I want to believe so, but I don't," she admits.

"You said, 'If he's nice to me, if he loves me, if he cares about me, if he nurtures me, then I don't have an excuse to be a flaming bitch anymore.' Isn't that pretty much what you said? ... So you don't want it if he gives it to you ... You won't give it to her, and she doesn't want it. Other than that, this is going great," says Dr. Phil. "What do you think the man's job is here, Mike?"


Mike answers that his job is to provide for his family as best he can.


"Is that your justification for withholding every other kind of currency from her?" Dr. Phil asks. "Because you know what I wanted you to say? 'I need to stop the standoff and I need to lead us out of this. I need to open my heart, if it gets trampled, it gets trampled, but if this thing goes down in flames, it is not going to be because of me.'"


Dr. Phil tells Kimberly to give her husband credit for being a willing spirit in the retreat.


He tells Mike, "You're on the threshold, man. I mean, I hear you talk about God in your life, and it's a short step from word to deed. And isn't it time you started walking the talk?"


Mike nods his head.

Dr. Phil turns to Mike and Kimberly, who are now sitting in the audience. He asks Kimberly how it felt the first night Mike told her she could go take a nap while he took care of things.


"Oh, it was unbelievable," says Kimberly. "I kept questioning him, I was like, 'Are you sure? Is it OK? Can I do that?' It was awesome."


"How did it feel to do that?" Dr. Phil asks Mike.


"Great. The biggest thing for me was to allow her to go have some time to herself because I know it's hard at home, especially when I was gone because I lived in another city Monday through Friday, and then I'd come home for the weekends. That has since changed. And now I am home, which is where I need to be," says Mike.


The audience applauds.


"Why did you make the change that you've made?" Dr. Phil asks Mike.


"I made the change because she did. We both came here, poured it all out, it was 'fix it or forget it,' basically. Thank God I plugged back in because it's great."

Dr. Phil asks Kimberly, "So you said you saw him for who he is now. Who is that to you?"


"How do you put it into words? He's wonderful," she says. "He is kind and caring and he's there and he wants to do the right thing for our family, and he has done so many things since we were here that he never did before. I mean, he'll get up and he'll help. If he says he's going to do something, he now does it ... Now he says he's going to do something, and I can let it go, and know that it's going to be done. And it's just changed everything."


"See, what guys don't get is that very thing is really romantic to a woman, isn't it?" Dr. Phil asks.


"Oh, yeah," Kimberly agrees, and the audience applauds.


"That is really, really romantic. Flowers, OK. But 'Go take a nap, I got it,' that's sexy, buddy," laughs Dr. Phil. "You guys have a glow about you," he observes.


Referring to Rene, Dr. Phil asks Mike and Kimberly, "Having spent the time here, is it as apparent to you guys as it is to me, that he doesn't get that yet?"


Mike nods. "Yes," he says, and to Rene, "Sorry."


"Being right is a really lonesome place to be," says Dr. Phil.