Toxic and Offensive In-Laws
Angie vs. KathyAngie says that after nine-and-a-half years with her husband, Jason, she’s had enough of her "offensive, meddling, boundary-crossing" mother-in-law, Kathy. She says that Kathy has rearranged their furniture, taken over their kitchen — and once even came into their bedroom with a video camera! "She specifically said, 'You better not do anything while I'm here,'" Angie recalls. "I was led to believe that we weren't supposed to have sex while she was staying there. I thought it was creepy." She continues, "No matter what I do, my mother-in-law thinks that I'm completely evil. I cook wrong; I clean wrong; I raise my son wrong; I treat my husband wrong," she says.
Angie also says that Kathy "spews Scripture like she's God" and uses religion as a weapon against her. "She says that I'm controlling, and that's evil," Angie says. "Kathy gets ultra-crazy on me, sending text messages like, 'I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen,'" she claims. Angie adds that after she got pregnant with her son, Kathy started referring to her as "the spawn of Satan."
Kathy insists that she's only trying to help Angie and Jason and says that Angie is lazy and ungrateful. She also claims that Angie is deceitful, controlling and manipulative. "Angie believes that she is a good person, but she’s not," Kathy says. "She's not an ugly girl," she continues, "But ugly is as ugly does, and that's what she does." Kathy admits that she has told Angie that she's evil — in very plain terms. "I have told Angie that the devil had a hold of her. I've told her that she may even be possessed," she says.
"Have you called her a bitch in front of her son?" Dr. Phil asks Kathy, continuing to go through Angie's claims.
"I don't remember that," Kathy responds, adding, "but I have called her a bitch."
“We started this show with me saying, 'If I was holding you by the ankles to drop you off a 10-story building, is there anything you can think of that you’ve done to contribute to the problems?'" Dr. Phil says. "And you said, 'Drop me — can't think of a thing,'" he repeats, incredulously.
Kathy claims that Angie is overly flirtatious with other men and says that she has serious doubts about whether her grandson, now 7, is actually Jason's child. She claims that on one occasion, she saw Angie in the kitchen with a male friend — with her robe open. "She tried to come up with some excuse like, 'I'm showing him my sunburn.' I immediately thought, ‘She’s a whore,'" Kathy says. "She's playing my son for a fool."
“I had a friend come over, and I was sitting on his lap, and Kathy now says there’s a possibility that he’s our son’s father," Angie counters. "Well, good news for you, Kathy. He's gay." She says she and Jason are offended that Kathy would question their son's paternity — let alone ask for a DNA test. "I told her, 'Bring it on,'" Angie says.
I understand that you might not have chosen her if you were doing the picking, Dr. Phil says to Kathy. "But calling her the ‘spawn of Satan'? Do you really think that?"
"You guys are not the first one to come up with problems with in-laws," Dr. Phil tells the family. "One thing we know is that in a marriage, it's your job to manage your people, and it's your job to manage your people," he says, turning to Angie and Jason, in turn. "If there's a problem with your mother, then that's your problem," he tells Jason.
Dr. Phil adds that it's especially vital to resolve the conflict because there is a child in the mix. "You have a child here who has extended family that is estranged," he says. "It's important for a child to have extended family. It helps them reach out and have confidence and grow as individuals."
The Paternity Test
Dr. Phil tells the family that he has the results of a paternity test on Angie and Jason's son, so they can finally put the matter to rest.
"Before you do that, I want you to know that he is my grandson, name-wise, and I've accepted him whether he is or isn't," Kathy says. "My concern is only for my son and his well-being. I'm hoping it is his son, for his sake."
"Your son doesn't need to know what's in the envelope," Dr. Phil replies. "He didn't ask for this. You did."
"I'm hoping we can just drop it all and, like, literally erase everything and move on," Angie says. "I know what's in there," she insists. "There shouldn't be any doubt."
“That doesn't feel good," Kathy admits. "Every time I’ve gone, it just goes horribly," she explains. She adds, "It’s not really my fault either, because financially it’s hard."
"There's a point at which you have to hit the re-set button," Dr. Phil tells her. "If you are as much of a Christian as you say, then you will seek forgiveness for yourself and for her," he says, indicating Angie.
"You need to take baby steps with boundaries," Dr. Phil says, turning to Jason and Angie. "Every situation needs a hero. You don't have to take the bait and react," he tells Angie.
Dr. Phil offers to pay for Kathy's round-trip plane ticket to visit, as well as for a hotel room, so she doesn't have to stay with Angie and Jason. "You can go and have a visit, and if things get uncomfortable, then you just leave," he explains. "All that I ask is that everybody acts like they have some common sense."
Angie, Jason and Kathy all agree to work on getting their family back on track.