Seventeen-year-old Lindsay sent an e-mail through the Teen Talk message board to Dr. Phil. In it, Dr. Phil says, she said she feels as if she's living a double life and the secret she's keeping from her parents is eating her up inside.
"What's going on here?" Dr. Phil asks. "Why are you doing this?"
"I don't know," she says.
"Let's talk about the photos. Why do you send these [racy] photos to people?" Dr. Phil asks Lindsay. "These are fully nude photos. You know once they are out there " they are out there. They could send them to the pastor in your church, your college admissions board, everybody they know or blow them up and put them in the locker room."
Lindsay acknowledges she knows any and all of these scenarios could happen. "My parents have told me that before."
"Yet you said you'd still do it again," Dr. Phil interrupts.
"Yes. I guess just the fact someone wants themâ€¦" Lindsay says.
"That's not an answer. There's some reason you do it. You've said you crave male attention, and you're flattered if they want them," Dr. Phil says.
"Then [after I send them] they tell me how pretty I look," Lindsay says. "I guess it's a bittersweet thing." Lindsay says she's deeply regretted her actions on occasion. "One time I sent pictures to a guy that I didn't know, and he ended up putting the photos all over Facebook. He sent them to my mom, my brother's friends and posted them on my profile where everybody could see them. Luckily, I was online when it happened so I could delete them right away. Still, I don't know who saw them. It was really, really embarrassing."
[AD]"So, you want to share this with your parents?" Dr. Phil asks. "You want me to bring them in here, and you want to tell them the truth? They really don't know the extent of this." Dr. Phil asks Lindsay how she hopes her parents will react, and she says she hopes the conversation goes well and they have a level of understanding that she's not out to hurt anyone.
"You've said you want to come clean about everything that's going on," Dr. Phil says to Lindsay with her parents now in the room. "You recognize this is self-destructive."
"The focus needs to be on why you are so willing to devalue yourself; why you are so willing to allow yourself to be used. That is such an unhealthy level of interaction. You could not have a healthy self-worth and a healthy self-esteem " and be willing to do what you are doing," Dr. Phil says to Lindsay.
"I think this happening at age 14 years old was a terrible violation of this child," Dr. Phil tells Lindsay's parents. "I don't want you to be mad at her. I don't want you to be upset at her. I want you to understand that some things have happened to her that have changed the game and changed the grid. She is not a perpetrator " she is a victim."
"They love you," Dr. Phil says to Lindsay, "but they hate this behavior. They hate that you have been so devalued that this is OK with you. This is a reaction to molestation, and she needs your love and support."
[AD]Lindsay's father tells her there is nothing she can do to lessen his good opinion of her. "You're still my daughter, I still love you, and I'm still proud as hell of you," he says.
"I hate your behavior, but I'm proud of you," Dr. Phil says to the teen. "I'm proud that you wrote, and I'm proud that you're looking your parents in the eye and getting this on the table."
"Thank you for being the person she could talk to," Lindsay's mom says.