A friend in my mom's club - I'll call her A. - emailed me last week about flying out to L.A. to appear on the Dr. Phil Show. I wrote her back telling her not to let Dr. Phil push her around. But I feared much worse would happen to her.
I read in Miriam Peskowitz's book, "The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars" that his "Mom vs. Mom" episode - where Dr. Phil pits working moms against at home moms - was edited and cut to make it into a Mommy Wars battle scene.
In fact, the moms were actually cooperative and supportive. After the show aired, two of them released a joint press release calling on women to put aside their differences and join together to improve the lives of mothers and families.
So when A. emailed me the following I wasn't surprised:
Well I just wanted to thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for my family and the visit we made to the Dr. Phil Show. It all turned out to be very fortunate and actually quite the miracle - only of God's orchestrating, no thanks to Dr. Phil or any of his affiliates. The show experience was horrible!
The initial part of the stay was fabulous. When we arrived to L.A. we stayed at a five-star hotel, had a great dinner and breakfast, and was transported around by a chauffeur. Then we arrived to the studio - that's when it all went chaotic.
We were all under the impression that we were going to sit with Dr. Phil before the show (or at least after) but the first time we saw him was when he appeared on stage and last time we saw him was when he walked off stage.
When we got on stage with him it was a quick handshake then onto the situation, well at least the situation they made out of it. [my emphasis] This is in short how it went:
He introduced us all, then showed a "clip" of our home interview. They cut it up making complete lies out of the tape. The only one they kept pretty straight forward was mine.
We were all in shock, and it didn't help help that we were all intimidated by being on TV for the first time, and sitting in front of Dr. Phil. Looking back there were so many ways we all could of handled it but we were, like I said, in shock.
We all tried to keep focused on the real situation, but after he would ask a question to one of us, the others were not allowed at any time for rebuttal. Also we were never allowed any time to challenge the clips.
There was one point when Dr. Phil asked me to talk about something. I guess I was taking too long and he started tapping his watch and said, "Are you going to get to the point? We are on minutes here, not hours." I was understandably flabbergasted and of course I then started stumbling even more.
We all looked like idiots up there, and absolutely nothing was resolved. In fact it made it 100% worse. I walked off thinking I never wanted to see my mom again...ever. I later found out that my mom was thinking the same thing.
We left the stage only to be escorted back into our dressing room and have another camera shoved in our faces to get those emotions on tape. Both my husband and I were furious at that point. I was crying and said that I would never talk to my mom again and the director yells "Roll camera! Quick get this on film"! I yelled back, "Do not film me!" as my husband stood in the camera man's face demanding they all leave the room! Then we were hurried to get our things together because our car was waiting.
We were never thanked for appearing. We were also treated like our problems really didn't matter. We felt that we were completely used for their ratings.
It was a nightmare. A complete circus.
It wasn't till the next morning that we started to see that this was all part of God's plan. (Quite the sense of humor He has, I have to say.) My husband told me that it was in our best interest if I called my mom to confront her on the lies that she said on tape. (At this point we hadn't put two-and-two together that her comments were edited.)
The phone call was very heated at first, then we all started realizing what had truly happened. That's when my mom opened up and took complete responsibility for the whole original mess. That in turn opened my husband and me up. We spent about an hour discussing everything and working most of it out.
We realized that this is what God wanted us to do, communicate with each other and rely on Him to fix it, not Hollywood. It was an eye opener for all of us, but especially for my mom because she idolizes Hollywood and celebrities, especially Dr.Phil.
This was a true testimony to trust in Him in all things. "Trust the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight" Proverbs 3:5-6. That is one of my most favorite verses, and I admit that I rejected it in this situation. This has all been a true testimony to God's greatness.
In closing, we are all talking again and my husband, my daughter, and I spent the weekend visiting my mom. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it is all working out not because of the circus of the Dr. Phil Show, but because of God.
P.S. Also, we don't know when the show will air. We were told to keep checking drphil.com. When I find out when it's on I will let you know, that is if you are interested in seeing how stupid we all looked up there.
As I wrote back to A.:
I’m so sick of shows like Oprah and Dr. Phil who are always telling us to “Get real!” but aren’t real themselves.
Dr. Phil is a lost cause, but Oprah is getting better especially after the James Frey “Million Little Pieces” controversy. Just the other day Garth Brooks and Trisha Yarwood on her show. While I don’t like Garth's music, what he was saying about his kids, divorce, and career was very down to earth and rang true. (Though in the back of my mind I would like to see the show again when Garth and Trisha announce their divorce, since these celebrity marriages never last. After all Garth is on his second marriage and Trisha on her fourth!)
When Oprah asked him about his first marriage, she said that she had wished she had asked Tom Cruise about his marriage with Nicole – was he happy then or only with Katie? But since she was rather shocked at his bizarre couch jumping behavior, she didn't have the wherewithall to do so. I thought that was very real of her to say that, since I feel she constantly kisses celebrities' butts because their appearances help boost her ratings.
I also told A. that I truly believe God (or karma, serendipity, or fate – whatever you want to call it) puts us in the situation we need to be in to make our lives better. Dr. Phil was only a tool (and what a tool he was!) in helping her improve her relationship with her mom._________________________
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