Two Months Later

Two Months Later
"I needed to bring Anna back today for an urgent meeting, because we discovered that she was not telling us the whole truth," Dr. Phil announces. "As you saw earlier, she wanted my help to get four of her children out of an extreme religious group. Now, ironically, she has lost her other six children. They were taken away recently and placed in foster care."

Anna is being charged with abuse and neglect. "When I asked her the hard questions about how she was treating the six kids she already had, she consistently denied getting out of hand," Dr. Phil says.


Anna sits in a room waiting for Dr. Phil to enter. After greeting her, he gets down to business. "Tell me what's happened since I saw you last," he says.


"A lot. We decided to set up the cameras in the home, of course," Anna responds.


"Do you watch the Dr. Phil show?"




"You don't know much about me," Dr. Phil says. "What I'm known for is cutting to the chase. People who come to me come to me because they want to change something."




"I asked you several questions when you were here before, and you said that you lied to me because I caught you off guard."


"I never lied to you."


Dr. Phil is exasperated. "OK, I think we're done here," he says, preparing to rise.

"You asked me about hurting my children, Dr. Phil. Are you going to just give up on me and not hear me out?" Anna pleads.


"Yes, I am going to give up on you, because you are not telling me the truth yet. You are wasting my time," Dr. Phil says sternly.


"I don't beat my children. You asked me if I beat my children."


"I asked you if you  yelled at your children. I asked you if you were brutal with your children," Dr. Phil says.


"Yes, I do yell at them."


"You said, ‘No, no, no. In fact, I'm a pushover.'"


They watch footage from Anna's first visit to the show. On tape, she says, "I think I'm too lenient. I have a really hard time disciplining my kids."


After the tape ends, Dr. Phil says, "I was pleading with you then. I said, ‘If you have a problem, tell me, and I will help you with it.'"


"I understand."

"You daughter tells us that, after the show, you got on her because she made you look bad by hesitating to answer that question [about corporal punishment]," Dr. Phil points out.

"I did. I said, ‘Why did you do that? Why didn't you just tell them if there is something on your heart or you felt that way?'"

"I was not honest then either," Dr. Phil admits. "I had to make a decision at the time whether to front this girl out or not, because what she told our producers backstage was, ‘My mother is horrible. She is a yelling, screaming, out-of-control maniac, and I am scared of her. She has hit me. She has pulled my hair. She has hurt me, and I'm going to tell the truth.' When she was onstage, I said, ‘Tell me about your mother.' She froze and lied about everything she had told us backstage. I had to make a decision right there: Am I going to call her out for lying to me now in front of her mother, or am I not?"
"I'm constantly being looked at like I'm the bad guy, and I'm causing all this," Anna says, face crumpling. "You have no idea what I live with every day with my kids. They run over me. I blew up on them, but I'm human. How long do you stand there and let your daughter call you a bitch? ‘I hate you.' 'I want out of this house.' When you say, ‘Get off the computer at 3:00 in the morning,' ‘No, you cannot have boys in your room, in your bed, making out with them,' but I don't beat them. Hannah and I have had a fight when I was pregnant. She pushes me out of her way " I was eight months pregnant " knocks me down, we start pulling each other's hair. I'm worried about the baby. I reach over and grab a curling iron because I didn't even know " I was just freaking out because I'm pregnant " and I hit her with it. For three weeks, I begged my daughter to forgive me. I just felt completely out of control with my children."

"How many children do you have?" Dr. Phil asks.


"I have 11 children," she replies.


"And you're thinking about having another child?" Dr. Phil asks, incredulously.


"My husband would like to have one because we have one together."


"Would you actually think about having another child?" Dr. Phil reiterates.


"Yes, I love babies."


"But babies grow up and get hit with curling irons," Dr. Phil points out. "You came to us and said, ‘I have children stuck in what I believe to be a cult, and I want you to help me get them out and bring them back to me.' I will work to get these children out of this sect, or cult, as you call it. Whatever it is, I will work to get them out of there and back to you, but I want to know where I'm putting them back."

Dr. Phil instructs Anna to watch footage captured by the home cams in her house.


"I wish you guys would just grow up and get out of my house," Anna says on tape. "Pack and go. Hit the * road!"


The videotape shows Anna struggling with her daughter and appearing to strike the teen. At her boiling point, the mom says, "These * cameras. I'm not filming my house. I want every * one of them out of here!"


The next morning, a contrite Anna sits in front of the camera. "I don't know if the video is still recording. I don't know where my kids are right now. I'm so sorry for everything " for losing my temper and getting upset. I just pray to God that Dr. Phil helps my family through this. We need to get help."

"I lost control," Anna admits as soon as the videotape ends.


"I didn't put those cameras in there for you to turn them off," Dr. Phil reprimands her. "We really don't know what happened when you turned it off, do we?"


"No, but Hannah will tell you. All of them will tell you."


"Hannah, Deanna, Rebecca, Morgan and Alexis have all been removed from your home by the state," Dr. Phil says, consulting his notes. "They've been put into foster care. They say they've done this because " these are the allegations against you " the children are without proper care and supervision. The children have been exposed to domestic abuse. The children report that you are physically and verbally abusive to them. You have pulled their hair, struck them, choked them, that you have supplied alcohol to your children and their friends in your home, and that you were recently arrested, and during the search of your vehicle, marijuana was found. This is what was in the public record."




"Did you or did you not mislead me when you were on the show?" Dr. Phil inquires.


"I didn't mean to, but I guess I did," Anna admits.


"If that's what you did when the cameras were on, doesn't that make you think I would wonder what you do when they're off?"


"You said you wanted to see it. You wanted to see how it is," Anna replies. "I let them get away with a lot."


"Do you use corporal punishment with these children? You hit them, you choke them, you grab them, you spank them, you pull their hair."


"I never realized it ""


"What do you mean you didn't realize it was that bad? Do you have a memory problem?"


"Maybe I do. This opened my eyes up a lot," Anna says.


"You've got some monsters here. You created them. They have learned what they have lived. You have modeled lack of control, rage, rebellion, defiance. They have learned it well," Dr. Phil says.


"I don't know how to control them. I'll admit I need help. I need counseling," Anna says, voice breaking. "I love my kids, but I'm screwing up badly."

"You are the adult. You have to rise above the fray. You don't get on their level. You don't throw F-bombs," Dr. Phil admonishes. "You are abusive. That's an ugly word, and you don't want to hear it, but the truth is, you are abusive."


"I'm abusing them emotionally," Anna says. "I was very abused in that cult. I think the biggest mistake I made in my entire life is when I got out of that cult, I should have stayed in counseling with my family."


"Do you think that the right thing to do is to get those four kids out of this sect or cult, as you call it, and bring them back to you?"


"Not now, no," she replies. "I have sisters who are willing to take them, but until I go through counseling, I don't even want any of my kids back home, because this has been a huge eye-opener for me. I'll do anything to change what happened. I miss them with all my heart, but I've really let my kids down."


Dr. Phil says that Anna's kids are doomed to repeat their parental legacy of abuse. "They've learned it, and that will be their legacy with their children, unless you stand up and give them a different model," he says.


"I don't know how to do it," she says tearfully.

"You've got a rage problem. I don't like that your children have been taken away from you. I can only imagine what that does to a mother who loves her children as much as you do," Dr. Phil sympathizes. "If I make more resources available to you, are you willing to do the work?"




"You're a smart lady. You can do this, but you have to be brutally honest. The first sentence you need to say is, ‘I am an out-of-control, rageaholic mother, and I've lost my kids, and I need to get under control.' That's where you start. You're not an evil person," Dr. Phil says. "When I see that kind of rage, I look past the rage, and what I see is pain."


Anna turns her face, sobbing.


"You need to be selfish for a while and say, "I am hurting so bad inside.' When you get the pain under control, then you can start changing the behavior. The legacy has to stop now," Dr. Phil warns. "It has to stop by you saying, ‘I will heal myself, so I can heal my children.' You can do it if you want. Deal?"


"Yes, sir."


They shake on it, and Dr. Phil gives Anna a hug.