The Buttinskys: Natasha and Natalie

The Buttinskys: Natasha and Natalie
Dr. Phil speaks with guests who are fed up with an interfering family member.
Natasha is a 23-year-old mother of two who feels inundated with advice from her grandmother, Natalie. "My grandmother has a very, very good heart, but she gets a little too nosey," says Natasha. Natalie gives her advice on: her weight, her finances, how she wears her clothes, what she should eat, where she should shop, how to dress her kids, and even her birth control. "I love my grandmother, but I want her to stop butting in to my life. She just thinks her ways are the best."

Natalie also calls frequently and drops by unexpectedly. One of the things that bothers Natasha the most is that grandmother will get into name-calling if you don't agree with her. "You're not sure what you're going to get called what day," says Natasha. "That's not how grandmas are supposed to treat their grandchildren. She wants the best for us, but she goes about it the wrong way."

"If you do the things you need to in life, you'll never hear my mouth," says Natalie. "Natasha should listen to me because I do not want to see her have a sad, hard life."
Dr. Phil says that the list of advice he read that Natalie has given Natasha seems reasonable to him. "Do you expect when you give advice that it will be weighed and considered?" he asks Natalie.

"Most of the advice I am giving her is trying just to get her through life," says Natalie, who justifies the birth control advice with not wanting Natasha to be burdened with too many children.

Natasha says it's her decision and it hurts her when she implies that her birth control makes her fat. "She also said that if I gain anymore weight, my husband could possibly go out and find someone that is skinnier than me," says Natasha.

"I said what my mother said to me," says Natalie. "Keep yourself looking good and then your husband won't ..."

"My husband thinks I look great," says Natasha, and the audience applauds.

In the past, Natasha has relied on her grandmother for financial support, and she acknowledges the help she's gotten from her, but since she's been out on her own, she hasn't asked her for anything.

"What would be wrong with backing up some and giving her some space in a number of ways?" Dr. Phil asks Natalie. "You're not required to support her, you're not required to provide money. There's an old saying: 'Good fences make good neighbors.' Maybe there needs to be a pretty good fence line here."

Dr. Phil explains to them that they need to redefine their relationship and come up with some simple rules. "How would it be if just the next half a dozen times you got together, you had some rules where you did not discuss certain topics that are off limits. You didn't discuss bills, you don't give advice, you don't talk about family, you just relate to each other."

"I would love that," says Natasha.

But Natalie is not so eager to change the dynamics of her relationship with Natasha and her family. "You know, I've already made up my mind," says Natalie. "I'm not going to be talking to any of them anymore."

"And you can do that if you want to," says Dr. Phil, "and if you do that's your choice and you'll live with the consequences of doing that. But the truth is you're more likely to say that in anger and then resume your old behavior like you've done in the past."

Dr. Phil tells them to decompress their situation for a while, then see if they can redefine their relationship with some boundaries.