Son-in-law Vs. Mother-in-Law: Rape Incident

Moving Forward

Dr. Phil addresses Anneka and Marcia. "You two have a history, and that history has included some pain," he says, referring to when Marcia sent Anneka to live with her father. He faces Anneka and says, "You felt like she wasn't there for you at a critical time in your life." She agrees.

 

Dr. Phil plays a video of Anneka describing a difficult time during her teen years. "I was raped when I was 15 by a family member, and the way my mom handled it was to forget that it ever

happened," Anneka explains.  

"I don't know why Anneka feels that I'm not standing up for her. I defended Anneka," Marcia says.

Michael expresses his view. "My mother-in-law would put that family member in the same room as my wife. What do you expect? You idiot. Why would you do that? And then to say, 'It's family. Let's just suppress it. Let's not take this to the police,'" he says, frustrated. "I will never trust my mother-in-law."

 

"Talk to me about that," Dr. Phil says to Anneka.

 

"I trusted my mom to give me the choice of what to do when I was raped. My mom felt that it was better, because it was family, that we just, you know, let it go. There's going to be more turmoil if we don't

let it go," explains Anneka.

Dr. Phil asks Anneka to face her mother. "Tell her what she should have done, what you wanted, what you needed so badly," he says.

"I needed the option and the support behind whatever option I chose, and let it be my decision, not yours. I was 15 and naïve. I didn't know, and I trusted in you as my mother to take care of me and do the right thing in that situation, and I don't feel it was right. I don't feel that if I would have chosen otherwise, I would have been supported," Anneka says.

 

A momentary silence falls over the mother and daughter.

Anneka has forgiven her attacker, but she doesn't have a relationship with him. "My mom does. My mom gets Christmas cards from him. She talks to him on the phone," Anneka says.

 

"How does that make you feel?" Dr. Phil asks.

 

"It tears me up, and I've told her that," Anneka says.

 

"How do you feel about that?" Dr. Phil asks Marcia.

 

"I don't call him. I don't have a relationship. I feel terrible that she feels this way," Marcia says. "I gave her a choice after it happened for counseling, and she didn't want counseling. I don't know if Dan recalls saying, 'No, we don't want you to press charges against this because it's family.' I don't ever recall saying that to her. But I feel bad that she feels bad, but I thought I always supported her."

 

"It's apparent to me that you guys are dealing with topics. There's so much baggage here," Dr. Phil tells the family. He points out that Marcia feels condescended to and talked down to by Michael. Michael doesn't trust Marcia because of certain incidents in the past, and Anneka has unresolved hurt from the past.

 

Michael interjects his thoughts. "One of the relatives blamed her for the rape, and Marcia just stood idly by reading the e-mails and not saying anything," he explains.

"This is not about being right. This is about finding a way to be happy. This is about finding a way to bury these things that are done, deal with the things that are not done," Dr. Phil points out. "There's so much raw in this family. I've described to you the pain that [Marcia] is feeling. I've tried to describe to you the pain that [Anneka and Michael] are feeling. I've tried to put all of this on the table so you have an idea of what's going on here. It's not just about a peanut butter sandwich for God's sake. This is about so much more."

 

Dr. Phil assures the family that it's not too late to work things out so Miah can have a relationship with her grandparents. "That's so important to a child, if it can be there. It's so important for [Marcia]. The day's going to come in the cycle of life when you're going to bury your mother, and if you can do that knowing the joy and the peace that she felt in her life from your child, that will be a piece of life that you will cherish in years going forward."

 

"I can't allow it to destroy my marriage in the process," Anneka says.

"Absolutely not," Dr. Phil agrees. "If it's either/or, you're the family now. You're the mother and father now. You're the ones who have to take care of who you are and what you are, but it doesn't have to be either/or."


"I know it doesn't have to be," Marcia says. "I don't want her marriage destroyed." 

 

"Wouldn't you love to have a peaceful, loving relationship where they could drop her off and go out for an evening?" Dr. Phil asks, referring to Miah.

"Absolutely," Marcia says.

Dr. Phil asks Anneka, "What do you want to see happen?"

 

"I want to see that my mom can allow Michael to be a father and allow him to be a parent in her life, because he is her parent, not only me," Anneka says. "I want us to be able to move forward so she can have a relationship with Miah, but it's not her right as a grandparent to see her, it's a privilege."

"What you think is going to happen is that she's going to leave here and be hugely mad about things that you've said, and things that Michael has

said, and throw up a wall and go pout," Dr. Phil points out.

"Blame it on everybody else," Anneka says. 

"Just totally play the victim and not participate in being part of the solution," Dr. Phil clarifies. "That's what you think is going to happen, not what you want to happen."

 

"What do you want to see happen?" Dr. Phil asks Michael. 

"I know you say this is not about individual things, but if you tie them all together, it creates a picture," Michael explains. "She told all of her relatives how bad of a person I am. I see in the e-mails them attacking me, and I've never even met these people. I've done nothing. She turns everybody against me to focus everything on me. That's why I see that she is trying to push me away from Anneka, by having all of the relatives tell Anneka how bad of a person I am."

"And you would want to see that stopped," Dr. Phil says.

"Absolutely, and I would like to see apology letters from all of her relatives for lying to them and telling her husband that I disrespect her house, because I didn't do something she told me not to do," Michael says, getting worked up.

"So you think you've been slandered, dogged on in every way, and as a result, you're a pariah to the family?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Yes," Michael agrees. 

"What do you want to see here?" Dr. Phil asks Marcia.

"I want them to be happy. I want them to be together. I want my daughter happy, number one, and if it's Michael, praise

the Lord," Marcia says. "But most of all, I want to be able to see my granddaughter, and I'll do whatever it takes to see Miah."

"Do you think that in anger and frustration you have lashed out in some ways that have been unfair?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Probably, I'm not perfect. I'm sure everybody has," Marcia admits.

"Are you willing to try to re-trade that reality and try to get back to a point where we can start this over?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Anything to have a relationship with my grandchild. You betcha," Marcia says.

 

"Everybody has got their guard up here," Dr. Phil tells the family. "Are you willing to try to start one step at a time, respecting boundaries, and trying to put this situation back together?"

"Yes, sir," Michael says. 

"Yes," Anneka agrees. 

"And you're willing to do that?" Dr. Phil asks Marcia. 

"Yes," Marcia replies.

"I don't know that you all can do this by yourself," Dr. Phil says. "I am certainly willing to help you in anyway that I can. I'm certainly willing to bring in family counselors to try to set up boundaries where we can walk before we run, and just begin to behave our way to success and negotiate some terms that we can live with." He tells them to start off slow and let the relationship grow as the trust is earned. 

 

Dr. Phil offers Anneka advice based on his own experience. "I've buried a parent. When they're gone, they're gone forever, forever, forever, and I don't want that to happen to you. And I don't what you to say, 'I wish I had taken one more pass at trying to create some peace,'" he tells her. 

 

"I'm willing to take that step," Anneka says.

 

"This isn't all about getting around a campfire and singing 'Cum Ba Ya,' so we're all fixed," Dr. Phil tells them. "You have things that you feel you need, and there are ways to get that done, and you go in and you try to figure this out. But sometimes objective professionals can calm the situation and move it forward."

 

The family agrees to participate.