You're Not the Boss of Me: Mike, Cindy

Crossing the Line?
"Mike would like to control all of my life," Cindy says about her husband of 16 years. "Mike thinks he knows what's best for me."

"I don't think control is a bad thing," Mike says. "Cindy complains to me that I'm controlling every day."

"He used to pick out my hair color and dye my hair," Cindy says. "Mike draws my baths and tells me that I need to take a bath. Mike is adamant that our house stay perfectly clean, to the point that he goes around with his finger and checks to see if there's dust. When it comes to me walking, he's very obsessed about pushing that as hard as he can. He walks 40 feet in front of me, and I feel like he's walking me like a dog. I absolutely hate it."

"If you don't have your health, you don't have much," Mike says. "I really encourage Cindy to take care of herself."

"Mike listens in on my conversations with my family. I think he could even be sneaking around right now, listening to this interview," Cindy says.

"I would love for Cindy to take control of her own life, and I just don't see her even doing that," Mike says. "She always needs to be talking to someone else to get their input, and she's never focusing on what God would want her to do."

[AD]"Mike is in charge of our prayer life. He sets up where we sit to pray, what time we're praying," Cindy says. "Living in this situation I'm in right now, I feel I have to have alcohol to cope."

"Cindy absolutely uses me as an excuse for drinking. I'm overbearing, I'm controlling," Mike says.

"I think Mike wants me to drink because the game we play is that I'm the bad person, and he's the good person, he's taking care of me," Cindy says.

"At what point does love and concern cross over into the behavior of being controlling?" Mike asks.

Dr. Phil asks Mike, "Have you tried to control what she's going to talk about on this show?"

"We have definitely talked about it, and I would say that yes, I have had strong input, yes," Mike says. He says they mutually agree on what they don't want to talk about, but it's ultimately up to his wife. "Whatever she needs to talk about, she needs to talk about it."

Dr. Phil goes over Mike's controlling ways. "Do you draw her bath for her and tell her when to bathe?" he asks.

"Sometimes, I do," he says.

"Do you pick her hair color?"

"I was the first one to dye her hair," he says. "She asks me my opinions."

"Do you make her dentist appointments?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I have in the past."

"Do you tell her when to take a walk?"

"I ask her, and strongly urge her, ‘Would you like to go for a walk with me?'"

[AD]Cindy clarifies, "He's adamant that I walk, and he makes my dentist appointments, and he colored my hair for years."

Mike admits he breaks Cindy's things when he gets frustrated. "I get angry, I get frustrated. I don't know how to vent that feeling with her. A lot of times, I feel that Cindy just doesn't hear me," he says.

"Do you tell her when to pray? How to pray?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I have to say in the past, I have. Not anymore," he says.

On video, Cindy explains:

"My relationship with God is directed by Mike. He's praying to change me, and I don't know if he's really praying to God. He believes that I am not godly, so it's sin. It's from drinking, over spending money, whatever he feels that I need work on in my life, he uses Bible text to manipulate and change me," she says. "Mike lost his job three years ago. Our home is in foreclosure. Mike believes that God is not honoring us as a couple because of the things I do that are against God's nature and sinful. At the beginning, I was really excited about learning more about God, but I have lost my relationship with God. I now don't even really want to pray."

Cindy explains an example of Mike's behavior just that morning. She was getting ready for the show, and he wanted her to sit with him and listen to him read from the Bible, but she continued to get ready. When she was able to join him, he was upset with her. She says he makes her feel that Bible readings are a mandatory daily requirement.

"What's up with that? She says you tell her how to pray, you tell her when to pray, you say sermons over her. You kind of browbeat her with this," Dr. Phil says.

[AD]"I feel that our home is in crisis, and there's desperation in our marriage, our relationship. I don't know where to turn," Mike says.

"You reckon you're part of the crisis?"

"Absolutely," he says.