Ultimate Moochers

Ultimate Moochers
Dr. Phil talks to a 29-year-old who doesn't work, pay bills or contribute to his family.
"In the last 10 years, Ryan has lived in at least 15 different places — from the back of his car, to a tent in the woods, to my house," says Heather of her mooching brother. "Most of the time, Ryan can't hold a job for more than a month or two."

Ryan has been fired from a grocery store, bike shop, gas station, and printing factory. "I think the artistic parts of my mind rely on kind of an erratic lifestyle," he says. "Both of my sisters hold me to their standard of living. As soon as they got out of
college, they got married, moved into a house, had children, bought a SUV, had a dog. That's not really where I'm at right now."

Heather has ended up footing the bill for her brother's expenses, including putting him up in an apartment. Eventually, he was evicted for not paying the rent, so she let him live with her family. "He would sleep well into the afternoon. I would vacuum around him. The kids would play right on top of him and he would not get up," she complains. Ryan also didn't help out around the house, didn't say thanks, didn't pay his sister rent, and would take hour-long showers.

Jeri is fed up with Ryan's lifestyle. "My brother and I don't really have a relationship because of his mooching," she says. Both women think he only agreed to come on the Dr. Phil show so he could get a free trip to LA!
Jeri and Heather feel that their mom, Brenda, looks the other way when it comes to Ryan's mooching.

"My parents tend to coddle my brother," Jeri explains. "My mother still sends my brother care packages."

Heather agrees that Brenda enables Ryan's behavior. "My mom cooked for him, cleaned for him, did his laundry. She also got him little odd jobs," she says.

Brenda defends herself. "It's hard as a mother to hold back on the things that you know your child needs," she says, as she bakes Ryan brownies. "Part of Ryan's problem is that he is so likable, people are willing to do things for him."

Jeri complains that her parents are still paying back her brother's student loan and that they cosigned for his car. "Watching my mother makes me angry because she treats him like he's a child," she says.

"Over the past 10 years, we have spent approximately $20,000 on my son Ryan," says his father, Charlie. "My biggest fear for Ryan is that some day he could be standing on the street with a sign saying, 'I'll work for food.'"

Turning to Dr. Phil, Heather says, "I think Ryan has turned mooching into an art form. Can you please help him take some responsibility for his life?"
"In this life, people do what works. If you see people doing something on a repeated basis, any kind of pattern, it's because it works," Dr. Phil explains to Heather and Jeri. "Turning to Ryan, he asks, "You get a huge payoff out of this lifestyle, don't you?"

Ryan agrees. "To a certain extent," he says.

Dr. Phil runs down Ryan's work history. "You got fired from the gas station because you failed to check the ID on a girl because she was cute. Turns out she was a cute cop. Grocery bagger, you just quit showing up. Flower shop, quit showing up," he observes.Turning to Ryan's parents, Brenda and Charlie, in the audience, Dr. Phil asks, "Did y'all help him buy a new car?"

"It wasn't a new car. It was a used car and we made a down payment on it so he'd have a car to get to work," Brenda explains.

"He doesn't work!" Dr. Phil exclaims, pointing out that Ryan didn't take over the payments and the car was taken away. To Ryan, he asks, "You don't have a driver's license anyway, do you?"

"Not anymore. It got suspended for driving without insurance," Ryan replies.

Dr. Phil calls Ryan's bluff that the reason he can't hold down a job is because of his creative spirit. "If you want to go be a starving artist, then why don't you go be starving instead of living off of your family all the time?" he questions.
Addressing, Brenda, Dr. Phil asks, "Do you think you're enabling him?"

"Well, I didn't do it intentionally. I didn't think I was," she admits.

"As you now look at it, what do you think?"

"I knew it would come back to me anyway, because it's always the
mother's fault," she laughs. "And I knew that my daughters thought that I spoiled him. I probably have to some extent, but I really have also tried to make him do things on his own."

But Brenda's not the only one looking after Ryan. Dr. Phil points out that Jeri has furnished an apartment for Ryan and his belongings ended up being auctioned off. She got him a drafting table, and he lost that because he didn't pay for storage. She also got him one of his jobs, but he stopped showing up.
"Did you come here because you just wanted a free trip to sunny California?" Dr. Phil asks Ryan. Observing that Ryan was put up in the posh Renaissance Hotel, Dr. Phil says, "Last night, you apparently went out and just met a bunch of people on the street, brought them back to your room for a party. I have here a two-page invoice from the mini-bar for about $250."

Sheepishly, Ryan explains that the mini-bar malfunctioned, and he tried putting some of the drinks back. When Dr. Phil asks about the empty containers that housekeeping found in his room, Ryan admits to drinking them."You're good at this. You do what you do because it works," Dr. Phil tells Ryan. "If it wasn't working, then you would get a job because you would get cold. And you would get hungry. And the truth is you actually have some talent ... You're in college. This is a chance you can turn this around and make a change right now."

If there are no consequences to Ryan's behavior, he'll continue mooching. Dr. Phil tells Ryan's family, "The problem I have is that you're not helping Ryan ... I want you guys to get tough here ... You need to let him do it and don't try to do it for him."

"We can see the cycle coming. It just keeps going around and around," Jeri protests.

"Here's what's different in the cycle: Bail out," Dr. Phil says sternly. "Don't be part of it this time. Let him do it on his own."