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Topic : 08/24 Reunited

Number of Replies: 50
New Messages This Week: 0
Last Reply On:
Created on : Friday, August 19, 2005, 03:17:32 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1

(Original airdate 04/20/05) Dr. Phil looks at the pain of being separated from someone you love. Susan was only 15 when she placed her baby for adoption. She soon returned to high school, where she was then tormented by her classmates. After 27 years, is Susan emotionally prepared to confront the classmate who she says made her life hell? And where is her daughter now? Join the discussion and share your thoughts.



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August 24, 2005, 3:14 pm CDT

standing up for sherry, susan, and others like them

Quote From: sherrytee

I am posting this message because I see that this show is airing again today.I would like people to know that the bullying that can occur in school can stay with you for a lifetime.I am now a 40 year old woman married with kids of my own. I continue to live with the emotional scars of being bullied in school.I was a good student who absolutely loved school until I entered the 7th grade.Thats when all the kids in our community go to one school to attend middle years. The boys and girls were awful to me. I was not aloud to wear makeup or have my hair long, and of course that in itself singled me out. I was caught at my locker each morning my books torn to shreds thrown around, kicked many times in the small of my back. The reason that was told to me was this is what you do with ugly dogs.Teachers turned there backs and did nothing to help me. They even went so far as to tell me it is probably my own fault.I endured this until grade 11. By then I had lost all hope of a boyfriend or a friend in school. I didn't care about myself or school work. I simply wanted to lay down and die.Long story shorter I quit school, never reached my dream of the prom, going to nursing school. So next time somone says to you people or your kids hey it's not a big deal it will pass please stop and  think  about this message. It doesn't pass it never will!!

  Hey Sherrytree, that's pretty horrible what happened to you in school, with getting beat up and all, and then the authority figures do nothing to enforce the rules.  Obviously they were too chicken to get involved.     

  To all the people who say to just get over it, they are only half right, especially if they were never victims of violence that went un-punished by authorities, in addition to being psycologically abused.   

  To Jada ok, I'm glad you got over your pizza face, and the teacher shouldn't have picked on you for your speech impediment.  It's cool that you could stand up for your self, but some people can't, I don't know why.  You probably learned how to stand up for yourself  from your mother, whether you are aware of it or not.     

  Yours and the comments of some other people's incompassionate, and are far too simplistic and demeaning.   

  Back to Sherrytree-I think you will feel better once you go to nursing school, (there are special programs for people your demographic to get them to return to school) and you will also feel better maybe taking some self defense or martial arts classes and work out some anger by kicking butt.     

When you return to nursing school you may also be pleasantly surprised by how you are treated at the college level.  I know that where I go, the adults normally make better grades than the rest of us, because they work harder at it because they are nervous about going back to school.    

I say go for it- It might actually turn out to be a kind of healing experience.   

August 24, 2005, 3:41 pm CDT

Please move on

This woman is still being troubled by a mean girl in high school!!  Pleeeeeze!  We all were not Prom Queens!  We all got our feelings hurt in high school.  She clearly cannot get past this even as an adult!  Why is she living in the past??  If she allows this to continue, than she is not being responsible for her own life.  I have always believed if you are not happy....look in the mirror, there is the person who can fix it!! 


I love the advice you normally give, it is straightforward and reasonable.  But even bringing this woman on TV makes me crazy!  As an adult she has to be able to move on, otherwise she has more problems in her life than living in the past!   


I felt horrible for EJ having to be 'hated' on TV for something she did as a youngster.  And you and your guest getting all over her because she can't remember.   


If we all clung to our disappointments from high school, we would all be basket cases!  Get over it! 

August 24, 2005, 3:55 pm CDT

Ya'll This ain't Judgemrnt Day...

I had not seen this particular show before. As I watched I felt enormous sadness for Susan and a bit of the same for E.J. I felt sad for Susan because she has declined so many life opportunities because of her obsession with unresolved anger. Living with this every day as well as mourning the loss of the child she was forced to give up for adoption. I found myself wondering how much of this anger and hurt were displaced onto E.J. and wondered if a lot of the anger came about as a result of family abandonment during the adolescent pregnancy, labor and delivery.   


I'm currently working on 'Self Matters', Dr. Phil's, book and I'm at the point where I am writing about my own adolescence. Geez!!! I am SO glad I NEVER have to DO THAT again!!!! The BEST news is that's OVER!!!!!!   

August 24, 2005, 4:27 pm CDT

if you were watching you would know

Quote From: lealarry

In watching the show with Susan and EJ I just wanted to scream.  Susan should get over it!  I really hate that she experienced teasing in school.  I did too.  It wasn't as severe as Susan feels her's was, but I did get teased.  I didn't hold on to that.  Most people don't hold on to that.  EJ said she was teased and moved on.  It's really sad that she's established herself on the cruel comments that were alledgely made by someone else.  Put the crutch down.  I could have shaken her through the TV when she said she didn't go to college because she was teased.  Bull crap!  It's no ones fault, but your own, if you didn't further your education or yourself.  If I were EJ I would not be your scapegoat when it comes to your education or your self esteem.  Let it go.  You may need counseling or God, but you have got to figure out what you're missing in your life that makes you harbor all this resentment towards someone else.  EJ should truly be admired for coming on TV and taking all of this because in my opinion it was a waste.  Susan should be taking care of her own personal issues not confronting EJ.  Just my opinion. 

  If you were watching you would know that Susan Did not ask to meet EJ.  Susan did not drag EJ to the show. EJ showed up on her own, and is probably enjoying how much she is being talked about on the posts, except for posts that call her on her manipulative oratory.  

Also, miss EJ offered no real heart felt apology.  If she had, she would have been off the hot seat in under five minutes.  She could have done that and shown compassion and then Susan would see how silly she was to hold on to that for so long.  

   Since EJ tried to exonerate herself by lying on national tv about never having done that kind of thing at all it just made it ten times worse. I would be embarassed if I were her.  She's not embarassed, just inconvenienced, and tried to use it as an opportunity to appear compassionate with out taking any blame. I almost felt sorry for her when she talked about being teased, until she tried to pile everything back into susan's lap by using the word "you", meaning susan, susan, susan.  

August 24, 2005, 6:11 pm CDT

Bullies forget because they don't care

Bullying, sexual harrassment, boyfriends hitting girlfriends, etc were all allowed back when Susan (and I) were in our high schools. Time has definitely changed things, but unfortunately too late for kids like Susan.  

If a bully doesn't remember his or her victim, it's probably because s/he had so many. As a public high school teacher (currently a stay-at-home mother), I have had to deal with bullies. Sadly, the bullies are so preoccupied with their insecure selves that they don't CARE who they bully (which is why they don't even take the time to carve their victims' names into their memories). Their victims don't have names or faces. 


If EJ had been a caring, mature teen, she would remember when she hurt someone's feelings. How many of us (who were raised to be kind) actually forget when we are mean to someone? 


EJ is a typical bully; she didn't care then and she's making a half-hearted attempted to care now. But Susan is an adult and it's time to move forward. She can choose to live in the past (and carry all the anger and sadness) or she can wipe the slate clean and take her power back.  


May both women grow from their experiences on the show. If they learn anything, it was time well worth spent. -Nancy, Gainesville, FL 

August 24, 2005, 10:02 pm CDT

Disappoiinted in Doc

This show should have been titled "Lets act like school kids again and bully the bullies."  

I was so looking forward to seeing the show (I RARELY miss one) about mothers and daughters reuniting, it could have been a wonderful show. Instead Dr Phil joins this "poor me" woman in completely attacking EJ. Maybe, MAYBE, EJ was a bully in Hi School, EVERYONE has their faults and makes mistakes. She more than likely has grown over the last 25 years. Exactly what Dr should have told Susan much earlier in the show. The first 35 minutes were spent slamming EJ and putting her on the spot.  I had a little of both girls at that age - cheerleader, prom queen, etc like EJ but also in Susan's situation. I thank God that He didn't allow me to blame anyone but myself and my boyfriend for that mistake and the ramifications it caused.  Dr,  you DID eventually hit the nail on the head when you told Susan she needed to above all and foremost forgive herself. EJ should not have had to pay the price for that piece of advice.  

I was, however, highly impressed with  Susan's daughter, she obviously had a good, loving family, which is the bottom line, she was the most mature one on the show tonight. And at least SHE warmed my heart and showed the optomistic part of what I THOUGHT the show was about. 


August 25, 2005, 4:45 am CDT

Did anyone else notice...?

After one of the commercial breaks when Dr Phil asked EJ "Since you're not in the hotseat..."  EJ's eyes kept sliding sideways to look directly at the camera.  


She was very much in the hotseat in her mind.  


The problem here is that there is NO right person.   

1. EJ came on the show to try to prove she wasn't (and still isn't) a bully.  

2. She was deeply concerned about how the audience saw her (I think I would be too, to tell you the truth)  

3. I think she really felt bad that Susan was still so raw about the incident.  

4. AND I believe she was lying about remembering her.  (After all, I still remember the two who became pregnant at my high school...)  


1. Susan came on the show to air her dirty laundry and get applauded for being a "survivor". (Anyone who goes on national television to talk about their problems...?)  

2. She's still very raw about the harrassment from high school.  (understandably.. I sure wouldn't mind running into a few people from high school I used to know...)   

3. She expects someone else to fix all her problems (she thought that confronting someone who knew her 30 years ago to fall on her face, scream "I did it!" and humiliate themselves in front of millions to make her feel better?  Even if EJ did abase herself for Susan's satisfaction, Susan wouldn't get anything out of it.  

4. AND if it was truly so unbearable, why didn't she try to get some kind of couselling 10, 15 or 20 years ago...?  



I'm not insensitive to either of these women.  The first went through a horrible experience that I wouldn't wish on any mother of any age.  The other was brought on national television to be accused and condemned by millions (talk about rejection!).  


Both of these women have my sympathy, but both of these women are also wrong.  There's no black and white in the real world.  Some of us identify with one or the other of these women, but put yourself into both of their shoes.  Neither is a happy picture.  



August 25, 2005, 6:01 am CDT


Quote From: berlytowns

PLEASE MOVE ON AND GET OVER IT.  Why would anyone dwell on something like this for 30 years.  I believe the way we are treated as youngsters impact the way we see ourselves as adults but to keep vigil over the hatred of one person for 30 years who clearly has nothing to do with my future is insane.  So what if the cheerleader doesn't remember, she has moved on from high school.  I remember things from high school (34 years ago) but I would be nuts to hold a grudge against anyone from then.   


Dr. Phil is not doing her any favors by feeling so sorry for her and talking to EJ like she was a monster.  That only validates holding on to it all those years. 

Obviously you were never bullied before or were you the bullying kind yourself?It sounds more like you were the bullying kind since you have no compassion for the victims on the other end.What right have you got to tell someone to get over it and move on?Absolutely none ! ITs easier to say then it is to do.You don't seem to have very much simpathy for this woman.It has been 30 yrs yes but is there a time limit as to how long someone should get over it and move on?I doubt it.Bullies can leave a bad mark on you and it doesn't heal that well for some.My 15 yr old was bullied in school and if someone were to tell her to move on ,get over it well they better be running the opposite way if i'm around.You have no right whatsoever to tell her to move on and i don't doubt you were a bully yourself.
August 25, 2005, 6:18 am CDT

I was disappointed in Dr. Phil too

Did anyone else think it was a little odd that Dr. Phil lectured Susan so long about how much work she had to do and how she needed to resolve her issues before she met her daughter and then he paraded her daughter out on stage?  What - 20 minutes on the Dr. Phil show and all the work is done?  Is it really that easy?   


Ironically I was just commending him to my husband and saying, "you know he could probably find her daughter, but what he says is true, she's not ready for that" and next thing you know - voila! the daughter appears.   


OK, I know Dr. Phil is a TV show and that kind of thing makes for good TV, but really, Dr. Phil.... 

August 25, 2005, 6:47 am CDT

Valuable show

This was a very powerful show for me personally, as a survivor of bullying in the elementary and middle-school years.  I was saddened to read some of the “get over it” comments which seem a harsh response to a person who is so clearly hurting.  Bullying victims are susceptible to what is called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is not unlike what veterans of a war go through.  The target of bullying (notice I don’t use the word “victim”) “soldiers on” through the trauma (usually isolated by their own silence and shame), but the experience hurts them at such a deep level that it is not unusual or unreasonable for it to continue to haunt for many, many years.  It is not as simple as “get over it”—wouldn’t we all love to get over everything quickly?  It’s a healing process, and it takes different lengths of time for different people.    



No one who has ever suffered a traumatic experience should add to their pain by blaming themselves for not “getting over it.” Ongoing emotional pain can actually create chemical changes in the body which induce depression, anxiety, and other reactions which might indicate a need for medication for a short period of time.  In addition, therapy or other forms of healing (such as massage or meditation) can help.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to be particularly useful in trauma situations so seek out a therapist who uses that technique: if you’re not sure, many hospitals and psychology departments at Universities have clinics or can refer you to cognitive-behavioral psychologists or counselors.






From a perspective many years since my experience, I can see that Dr. Phil is absolutely correct when he says, “hurting people hurt people.” The boys who tormented me for so many years were themselves the product of abuse and terrible home situations.  I believe there’s a reason for everything and that any experience can be used to strengthen oneself.   My experiences led me to focus on my education and succeed professionally, pursuing a career in the helping professions, and gave me more empathy and compassion for other peoples’ suffering.  I am less tolerant of inappropriate behavior from others and I have learned to set boundaries.  I also believe in my own ability to survive anything- I am quite strong for having had the experiences I’ve had in life.






There were some key, telling moments in this show which particularly caught me:  

  •  I thought both individuals were sad in their own ways: Susan is still caught in her pain- and probably experiencing it daily, and EJ apparently hasn’t grown much emotionally since high school. 
  • I found EJ’s comments insensitive, lacking in genuineness, full of denial, and cruel.  In my opinion, EJ’s denial of Susan’s experience was simply more bullying on her part.  I find it impossible to believe that she didn’t remember Susan or the situation.  Her own statements about the class reunions point that out. Not to mention her history: it’s absolutely believable that someone who had her own feelings of shame and anger at her mother (and those feelings are normal- they don’t mean she didn’t love her mother) would project her pain onto a person who most resembles that mother--Susan.  Susan became a target for EJ’s unresolved feelings and anxieties about her own situation.  Dr. Phil was clearly being professional and trying not to open up a can of worms (there’s an axiom in psychology: you don’t open doors you can’t close).  Hopefully, EJ will seek help herself and deal with her own issues when/if she chooses to look at herself honestly.
  • Dr. Phil made some very insightful and helpful comments: his statement about “30 years and one day” of suffering being worse than 30 years was so true. Susan has a lot of work to do emotionally, but the payoff will be well worth it.  I also found his statement about the internal conversations we all have in our heads very helpful.  He’s right-- people who’ve experienced trauma replay it in their heads long after it’s gone and then proceed to become their own worst enemy—often bullying themselves much harder than anyone else.  People who are targets of bullies do have a role in the situation—but as children they often aren’t equipped to deal with it.  But we do contribute to it either by not fighting back, speaking up, feeling helpless, etc.  This is not “blaming the victim” but rather acknowledging that in any situation it takes two to tango.  If you’ve been the target of bullying you  have to look at your role so that you don’t keep repeating it.




Thanks for reading this.  And thanks to Dr. Phil for continuing to cover this very important subject. 








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