Relationship Rescue Retreat: Vinnie and Donna

Relationship Rescue Retreat: Vinnie and Donna
Dr. Phil's intense workshop with six couples on the verge of divorce.Vinnie and Donna met when he, as a police officer, responded to a domestic violence situation that she was having with her ex-husband. After her divorce, they became friends and eventually started dating. They've been married for three years and have two children — one from Donna's previous marriage and one together.


"We have the most angry, volatile relationship I think anyone has ever seen," says Donna, expaining that they have marathon fights that last all day and then continue when they wake up in the middle of the night. Vinnie and Donna have worked with several therapists, and their last one told them not to return. They've separated once, and on that day, Vinnie started an affair. "The affair destroyed me," says Donna. "I can forgive the arguing, but I can't forgive the affair. If I didn't have the baby, I would've booked."


"The girl that I had the affair with showed me that it shouldn't be this hard and life should be enjoyable," says Vinnie. "She made me feel good about myself and she was nice to me. I told Donna a thousand times there's a simple way to fix our marriage. Two words: 'Be nice.'"
Dr. Phil gets off to a rocky start with them when Donna hesitates before agreeing to follow all of Dr. Phil's instructions.


"Stand up," Dr. Phil tells Donna. "You were very reluctant to raise your hand. You were the last one out of the 12 to raise your hand and that's a real important signal to me. You're a right-fighter, aren't you?"


"You could say that," Donna responds.


"You like to fight. Well, lady, you're going to lose this fight," Dr. Phil tells her. "I told you I've never done this without kicking somebody out and you're the first one on the block." Dr. Phil asks her if she wants to stay or go.


"I want to stay," says Donna.


Dr. Phil reiterates that she's not going to like some of the work she'll have to do.


"I need the help," says Donna. "I'll stay."

Dr. Phil turns to Vinnie. "You agree that you're going to do this 100 percent, all the way?"


Vinnie agrees.


"What if she gets mad and says, 'Let's go home'?" Dr. Phil asks.


"I'll tell her we're staying to finish," says Vinnie.


"What if I kick her out of here?" Dr. Phil asks.


"Then I'll probably be going home with her," Vinnie responds.


Dr. Phil explains that if Vinnie says he's going to finish this retreat, he needs to do so with or without his wife. "You're going to have relationship demands whether she's in the picture or not, and you aren't very good at relationships right now, are you? So you need that help whether it's with her or with somebody else."


Dr. Phil tells Vinnie and Donna that they are each 100 percent responsible for their marriage problems, and they can't change their partner. "The only person you can control is you. It begins now and that's why you've got to be 100 percent here or 100 percent gone."