When In-Laws Cross the Line: Catherine

Is She the Victim or the Perpetrator?

Catherine begins by telling Dr. Phil that she is shocked by what she has just heard from her son and daughter-in-law, specifically that Ted

denies suggesting she report the incident. "In fact, he said, 'You have to report this incident,'" she explains.

 

Dr. Phil points out that she was asked to leave. "Why didn't you just leave and avoid that confrontation?" he asks.

 

"Because I was worried about my grandchildren. She displayed a temper that I have never seen, except the time that she did tell me to

get the F out of her house," Catherine explains.

 

"You actually believed that this woman was going to attack and injure these two children?" Dr. Phil asks.

 

"I really wasn't sure," Catherine says.

"Ted says that you have a need to control every decision about the children, and that you are just overbearing and domineering in asserting your will about that," Dr. Phil says to Catherine.

 

"That's false," Catherine replies.

 

Ted disagrees. "It's a fact. And I love my mother, and I hate that this has happened. But I really want that to change," he says. "I want her to respect the fact that I may look at something with my

children or Maria and we make a decision with our kids that's dramatically different than how you would do it, but we love our children. Maria would never attack those children, and you know that Mama."

 

Catherine responds, "I'm amazed that having brought this young man up with the high values, principles and ethics that I feel I've brought him up with, that he would come on stage here and tell these people I would do those things. As God is my witness, I have never interfered, to my knowledge."

 

"It's hard for me to picture you choking somebody, swinging on them and wrestling on the floor, but that did happen, right?" Dr. Phil asks Catherine.

 

"I was pushed into the kitchen floor," she says. "I could have harmed her, but I tried to keep her restrained from me, because she pushed me on the kitchen floor, she got behind me when I got up and sat on the chair and shoved my left shoulder into a coffee cup and coffee flew."

Dr. Phil has some questions for Catherine. "Did you say [Maria] is a horrible mom, doesn't deserve to be married to your son? Did you say to her, 'You crazy bitch, I'm going to take her down'?"

 

"No, sir, and there again, as God is my witness, I did not say that," Catherine says.

 

"Did you say to your son, 'You don't have the balls to divorce her and that's what you need to do'?" Dr. Phil presses.

 

"No, sir," Catherine says. "I told him he needed to grow some!"

 

 "Did you say to one of the children, 'Where do you get that temper from? I guess it's from the woman who did this to my arm and who's your mother.'"

 

"No, sir," Catherine maintains.

 

Ted disagrees. "Heard it verbatim," he says. In a heated tone he continues to his mother, "You did say that. You said that in the house, right there in front of those children. Now, start telling the truth."

 

"I'm telling the truth," Catherine says.

 

"So, you didn't say any of that stuff?" Dr. Phil asks. "This is your own son who's making this stuff up about you?"

 

"I don't know," Catherine says. "I'm actually just in a state of shock over him saying that."

When Dr. Phil asks Catherine again about choking Maria, she denies it and says, "I love this young woman; I don't want her hurt. I don't want my grandchildren hurt."

 

"Well, if you love her, why did you call the law on her and put her in jail?" Dr. Phil asks.

 

"I didn't do it," Catherine says, explaining that when Ted saw her, he said she must call the police.

 

Dr. Phil takes her to task. "I actually spoke to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and they said that you were the one who called, that you were the witness for the prosecution in the trial in July. You not only were upset that day and called and reported and filed a complaint, you then went in later," he says.

 

"No, sir!" Catherine says.

 

"You could've dropped the charges. You could've said, 'No, I don't want to do it.' You put your grandchildren's mother in jail," Dr. Phil continues.

 

"I didn't want her put in jail. I was crying, and I told the magistrate, I said, 'I do not want this woman arrested. I don't want her picked up,'" Catherine explains, noting that she only did it because she says her son said she must.

Dr. Phil addresses the family. "You guys have gotten into a situation where you've got no boundaries. The fact that you have let a family dispute get to the point that you've turned it over to third-party judicial

forces, that's a bad thing. That's inviting the government into your home. And now your daughter-in-law has a criminal record, and she doesn't like that," he says. He looks at Maria and asks, "You had the ability to defuse this at the time, but you got angry, correct?"

 

"Yep, I could have just gone upstairs," she admits.

 

Dr. Phil addresses the couple. "Once you get married " right, wrong, or indifferent, fair or unfair " if there is conflict between your mother or your father and your wife, if there is conflict between your mother, and your father and your husband, it's your job to fix it," he tells them. Ted must sit down with his mother and create boundaries, as well as

consequences if she breaks the boundaries. "What I would implore you to do is pick your battles wisely. The fact that Grandmother might do things differently than you would do, is it really something that you want to fracture the family over? Because let me tell you, there is no love for a child like a grandmother's love. Extended family is so important."

 

Maria explains the current circumstances in her relationship with Catherine. "At this point, I can't be in the same room as her, at best for two years, because I can't put myself in the position that she can call the police on me again," she says. "The other issue is my children. My children adore her. My children love her; she loves my children. But I can't risk her making comments to my children about me. I cannot do it."

 

Catherine continues to defend her actions and reiterates her point that Ted and Maria are lying. "I did not want her put in jail. I did not file the suit, the Commonwealth of Virginia filed it. I was only a witness. The judge found her guilty, but she only wanted her to get anger management, which is all I wanted her to do; get anger management. And in two years, they would wipe her slate clean."

 

The family agrees to participate in counseling and come up with a plan where they can co-exist peacefully.