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Topic : 07/22 Child Caught in the Middle

Number of Replies: 71
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Created on : Friday, January 30, 2009, 02:16:36 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 02/04/09) Divorce is well known to be a source of pain, bitterness and often conflict. When parents who have split up carry their fight beyond the courtroom, the child is usually the one caught in the crossfire. Dr. Phil sits down with Ronald and Cathie, who say they both love their 15-year-old son, Matthew, tremendously, though what they feel for each other is a different story. After a tumultuous divorce, Ronald says Cathie abandoned Matthew and has been out of his life for nearly 10 years. Cathie says Ronald is the one responsible for that separation. She claims he did everything he could to get in the way of her relationship with her son. Now, Cathie is back in the picture, but Matthew is having a hard time adjusting. In fact, the stress is making him literally sick, and he vomits up to 40 times a day. Matthew has a list of pressing questions for his mom, including why she has been gone for so long. With Dr. Phil’s help, will this young man get to the bottom of the mysteries in his life, and can he ever trust his mother again? Share your thoughts here.

Find out what happened on the show.

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February 4, 2009, 1:24 pm CST

Matthew is awesome

What a sad story. I must say I think Matthew is such a great kid. He seems like a really nice, thoughtful guy stuck in a horrible situation. After each segment, Matthew would look over to his mother, lean in, smile and comfort her. This despite just skewering her for her bad behavior. He clearly loves her despite the crap she's put him through. I think he deserves a medal for not kicking her to the curb.

The mother is clearly in a bad place, and carries a lot of baggage, broken emotional capabilities, and a weird inability to empathize with her son. The woman need to step up in a big way but I think she is doomed unless she gets some professional counseling. She is in denial or extreme ignorance about her role and place as a mother which appears to be tied to her failed relationships with her past and current husbands.

Hang in there Matthew and lets hope she comes around. Whatever happens, try to smile and stay stress free because you're a great guy.
February 4, 2009, 1:52 pm CST

02/04 Child Caught in the Middle

I just turned on the tv and am catching the last 30 minutes of the show. I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO empathetic to the boy's feelings. My own mother has put me through the same hurt, only mine started with my brother and myself at the age of 8 or9. Now, 30 years later, I am still struggling to believe things that she tells me. More power to the fathers in the world that stay strong for the children that this happens to.
February 4, 2009, 2:06 pm CST

divorce and i know the feeling

I know about kids being caught in the middle.  Im currently raising my daughter with very little help from her dad.  She is autistic and really doesnt understand why her dad dont pay attention to her and dont return her phone calls and I think she calls him daily just to be disappointed.  She acts out in school and the communinty.  When I approach her dad about it all he can say that Im white trash and I need to give custody to him because I cant raise her.  Not sure how he can say this since he really dont pay attention to her he dont know her doctor schedules or wrap arounds or even what is going on with her medication.  Which he says she dont need it.  Shes only 9 and Im just worried that she is dealing with more than what she expresses.  My current boyfriend is very helpful with her and is there for her anytime she wants to talk and she does express some of her feelings to him.  I have therapists working with her but Im just afraid she is holding so much in.. Jen in PA
February 4, 2009, 2:09 pm CST

my poor sister

my little sister is stuck in the middle of my parents bitter divorce. She is the youngest of 4 and is the only one not allowed to make her own decisions. she is 7 the others are 16 17 and 19. My mother moved out of town with her..however my stepfather still gets to see her every other weekend and on arrranged by the court. My step father is being so vindictive and is trying to put my mom in jail because she moved out of town, which is in contempt of court. I feel like my step father is getting to see her when he is supposed to and the only reason he wants my mom to move back is to be vindictive and spiteful. what should my mom do?
February 4, 2009, 2:09 pm CST

medal of honor

I'm just sick watching this show. This boy clearly is craving love from his mother and all she can do is rant and ramble about "your dad" this or "your dad" that. This boy deserves a medal of honor! I can only imagine what he has had to endure during his life.  All he could do was turn to his mother or lean in to her w/nothing but love in his eyes. I want to reach in and hug him. I want to send him a PS3 I want to take him to a haunted house....I want to tell him that he is loved.  I'm just sick and my heart goes out to anyone who has gone through this.  I wish I could do something for him....thanks for reading...Someone...anyone for God's sake, say "I love you Matthew, I am a horrible selfish person and I don't deserve you, I'm sorry for all the lies and broken promises."  THAT'S ALL HE WANTS TO HEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
February 4, 2009, 2:16 pm CST

02/04 Child Caught in the Middle

Quote From: casvuk

I feel so bad for matthew, mainly because i know what hes going through! My mother kidnapped me when i was 5 years old, and left my brother behind. My parents divorce was so incredibly vicious & truly horrible i would never wish my childhood upon anyone else. After being a missing child for 2 years my mother dropped me off on my fathers doorstep with nothing but a garbage bag of clothes. Im now 24 and ive seen my mother a total of 2 times since she "gave me back" to my father. Growing up i would have these insane daydreams that she would appear at christmas, or at my school to "surprise" us with a visit. She never did. After 10 years of wishing she'd come see us, i gave up. I feel for matthew, and i think his mother is a very selfish woman. I hope he can overcome everything he's been put through and realize that though he may not have any control over the things happening in his life right now, that if he stays strong it will better his future. ive been the "child caught in the middle" of a divorce thats been ongoing for 19 years....its not a good place to be, and i wish parents made decisions based on their children other than acting out of pure selfishness and trying to "win".

I'm so terribly sorry for everything you've been through and I hope that you have found a way or are finding a way to deal with your tragedy.  I pray that you remain strong!!

February 4, 2009, 2:18 pm CST

Child Caught in the middle

Quote From: stephaniecan

I can totally relate to this show.  My fiance is currently going through a divorce and custiody battle where his two small children, ages 4 and two and a half are constantly being used as pawns between both parents.  The eldest just started preschool this week and my fiance didnt not want to let her go because her mother set it up and it would be in the town where the mother resides.  Right now there is no type of custody agreement in place ane until this past Sunday we were taking the girls 4 days and 5 nights a week and their mother had them the rest of the time.  We would travel 2 hours from our home once a week to pick the girls up, usually getting there around 8 and not getting home until between 10 and 1030 at night.  Since the eldest started school, we will now be taking them every other weekend as agreed by my fiance and his ex.  However, my fiance is thinking about changing his mind and recanting on the agreement because is afraid that by only taking the kids every other weekend that it makes him look like a bad dad.  His ex and he were having a disagreement this past Sunday when she came to our home to pick the kids up and I sat watching as the eldest daughter stood between her parents as they argued, her head moving back and forth between the parents as they bickered about where the kids would be better off.  They were using the school thing as a base for the fight and like I told him after the fight was over, the only one they were hurting was the kids.  They had not only fought with her right in the middle, they had used something she was involved in which woud cause her to think that she was the reason they had been fighting in the first place.  I told my fiance to his face that both he and his ex are selfish people who are not at all thinking about whats best for their two girls, but, only about what they want and who can get more over on the other person.  The kids are not kids in this, they are merley peices of territory that both parents want just to say they get it.  I dont think this should be  a custody battle at all, the kids are just possesions obtained during the marriage, I think they should settle it as a divorce settlement.  Now, my three small kids are affected by this as well and I have had enough.  I say they both need to come to some kind of agreement based solely on whats best for those girls or give them to someone who can put the kids above their own selfish needs and wants!!!!

Dr. Phil, I think that the father was let off, he is a big part of the relationship being broken, I think he but bad memory in the boys head, yes the mother now has to keep her promises. off the the subject Dr Phil did you see some femme behavior in Matthew ? will you check into Matthew and the father relationship, I got a real strong vibe. I hope the father hasn't abuse Matthew sexually.


P.S. I believe the mother when she said she was afraid of Mathew's father.

February 4, 2009, 2:24 pm CST

Child caught in the middle

My husband and I divorced when our children were ages 11 and 3.  It was a very dysfunctional relationship and it was time for the marriage to end.  The children spent many a Saturday morning sitting on the front step with their suitcases, waiting for their dad tp pick them up for a visit.  More often than not, he didn't show up.  After 13 years of believing that life would be perfect if only she could live with her dad, my daughter finally got her chance.  At the age of 16, she went to live with her dad and his current lady friend.  After 2 1/2 years, having graduated from high school, she came back to live with me, her mother.  It was a tough experience for both of us, but a necessary one.  Both children now know who their father is, and why.  They love him, but have little respect for him.  No one had to bad mouth him.  They learned on their own.  Over the last 30 years, we have always celebrated important days together.  Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, baptisms, confirmations, graduations.  This past Christmas, my ex-husband actually spent the night in my guest room, due to bad weather conditions.  No matter who is right or who is wrong, this is a family.  There were four of us 30 years ago, and now we number 12.  Dispite each of our faults and short-comings, we are our children's parents.  We love them and only want the best for each of them.  Those people need to grow up and put their child on the top of their priority list.  You can never arrive  at the top of the list when you continue to take pot-shots at each other.  I wish them all my best.
February 4, 2009, 2:50 pm CST


this poor boy does not deserve this, he is sooooo much more mature than that mother of his! he would of been better off if when she left she never contacted him .  i wanted to hug him. he was such a sweetie. ihope the mother makes up for some of her mistakes but i don't think she will!
February 4, 2009, 2:55 pm CST

where is the father's accountability

I want to start by stating that I do not agree with the mother walking away from her son.  I now being separated from your children is the hardest thing for a parent to have to go through.  What I want to address is the fact that the father is creating some of the emotional hardships for this child by spewing his opinion and adult issues to this child.  Dr. Phil states that the father is willing to help build this relationship, however, a father who tells his 10 or 11 year old child that his mother made her self abort a child shows the father's role.  The father has fully included this child in adult issues which have lent to the child's opinion and trust of his mother.  Yes, he may be interested in protecting his child but what underlying motives does he have?  The father has shown some of his anger through the adult conversations that he writes off as "explaining the history".  There is more to this story and the woman's excuses that the father was limiting her ability to interact with her child.  The father is very smooth and quick to offer explainations to gain sympathy.
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