The Buttinskys: Angie and Bobby
Dr. Phil speaks with guests who are fed up with an interfering family member.
Angie says she knows she's a backseat driver and it's causing problems with her marriage. "When I'm in the car, I stomp my feet, I pout, I cry, I scream. I check mirrors for him, I tell him where to turn, when to put his signal on, turn down the radio, how fast he's going ... I butt in all the time," says Angie, who has even jerked the steering wheel away from her husband while he was driving.


Angie has been in two car accidents herself, and her husband, Bobby, was in a life-threatening accident a few years ago. "I live in a spirit of fear of being in another car wreck," says Angie.


It's gotten to the point where Bobby has pulled over, gotten out of the car, and walked off, down a major highway. Bobby is tired of her relentless nagging and criticizing about his driving. "I just want peace," he says.
Dr. Phil asks Angie if her behavior is reasonable. "Yes, it's reasonable," says Angie. "I'm scared in the car with him."


"Is your fear really proportionate to the danger?" Dr. Phil asks.


Angie says it is because she's really scared and she doesn't want to die.


"You are distracting him!" says Dr. Phil. "If there is anything that is going to cause an accident, it is somebody screaming in your ear and grabbing for the steering wheel."


Even Angie's friends say they don't like being in the car with her because she gets frantic. Dr. Phil tells Bobby, "This doesn't have anything to do with your driving." He turns to Angie, "The stimulus for your fear and anxiety is not his driving, it's not your friends' driving. If you're scared with everybody, the common denominator is you. So doesn't that tell you that you're bringing the fear into the car with you?"


Angie agrees but says she doesn't know what to do about it.

"You clearly have a phobia about driving, about riding in the car," Dr. Phil tells her. "There's really only one phobia, and that's the fear of losing control. You ride in a car, you feel out of control and that scares you. You have an anxiety reaction to that and that's what needs to get resolved. It's not the driving."


Dr. Phil tells Angie that phobias are very manageable and offers her counseling in her hometown. Angie agrees to see a counselor. "It won't take very long," says Dr. Phil. "The average time to eliminate a phobia from people's lives is less then 12 hours of intervention."


Read Dr. Phil's advice about controlling phobias.